Category: Consciousness, Mind

“Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it has evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it”

Star Wars Oranges?! What’s Wrong with Us, Dudes?

Hmm… which oranges should I choose, let me see… California? Too dry… Florida? Too “smoked” these past days [dry, black humor, I know…]. Oh, I found it! Star Wars oranges… these must be great, from… “a galaxy far, far away”…

I found the following paragraph (and the header image) in this wordpress site:

indiefilmhustle.com/marketing-star-wars-lucasfilm/

I have never seen a film achieve this kind of massive awareness before a release…ever. Not even the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 could top this. If you were around in 1989 you would understand that you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a Batman logo.

You have to give Disney’s marketing team credit for arranging such a diverse group of marketing partnerships with companies like: KraftDuracellToys R UsCampbell’s SoupWalmartDuck TapeGeneral MillsGoogleFiat ChryslerTargetVerizonLegoESPN(which they own), Maker Studios, NBA, Gummy VitaminsKay JewelersSubwaySpheroPlaystation 4Pottery Barn KidsCovergirlNerfAmerican TouristerEA Games, and the list goes on and on.

That’s not all. In addition Disney/LucasFilm will make an estimated $5 billion next year just from selling Star Wars merchandise licensed under Disney’s Consumer Products division.

Products including t-shirts, toy lightsabers, action figures, toasters, pajamas, bedsheets, shower curtains, socks, costumes, towels, lightsaber barbecue tongs, Jedi bathrobes, salt/pepper shakers, and the aforementioned Star Wars Oranges.

This makes me think of how much power we give unconsciously to those who know to touch one or more of our senses, but mostly, they grab us by the stories we tell ourselves: “I wasn’t so much into that movie, but other millions find it cool, so, yes, I’m willing to put my money (time, attention, emotion, etc) in it. I’m with it because I’m afraid to stand alone.”

The Archetypal Hero – Why I Should Wake up @ 3 am to Watch Star Wars’ Latest Episode

Just seen images of different cinemas (London and Paris) with young people waiting since as early as 3 am for the early show. Is it a mania? A fad created by the western society in these past forty years? After all, we all contributed with some coins to the amazing 33 bil $ that the franchise amassed from its films, comics, cartoons and merchandises issued under the brand.  On October 31, 2012, George Lucas’s selling of his Star Wars over to Disney for 4. 05 billion dollars, not a current event in the movie industry, not in any other industry – it made waves in the media. The most expensive sell of movie rights so far rightfully entails the question: “Why would Disney be so interested in buying this particular movie?”, and “Why the elevated price?” Obviously, because it is worth it: six parts already and people around the world are still hugely interested. What is it that makes this one stand out among all the other successful movies?

I imagine that, for Disney to have advanced  4. 05 billion, it must be safe to assume that it knows what it’s doing, and it is everyone’s knowledge that, among the immense production of Hollywood’s dream factory over the years, Star Wars stands out by its enormously successful previous six parts. But why should this particular structure be so attractive to the public? Why is it so irresistible to so many? It is because we are all caught up in this Hero Archetype. With the rise of the ego and of individualism, the hero season is in full swing. Is it good? Is it bad? Like sharp cutting tools, like electricity and nuclear energy, it all depends on what we do with it. On what kind of hero each one of us we choose to be.

If you don’t believe my story, here are the facts. Not many would care to know, but Lucas  acknowledges his source of inspiration to Campbell’s 1949 book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. He just came upon it right in the middle of his first draft of the Star Wars, so his genius idea was to import the ancient myths from that rich mass of myth and folklore and dress them  into the modern dress of the 20th C (and now 21st ) cinematography special effects.

But Star Wars is not about ” myth and folklore”, at least not in the trite meaning that we are used to give to these words. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces Campbell first introduced his theory of the Monomyth, a concentrate of all the hero journeys from the world’s literatures and religions, capturing in it the essential moments, challenges and initiation stages taken by heroes of all ages and cultures found  in world mythologies. Campbell elaborated extensively on the hero archetype and on the archetypal journey of trials and transformation, so much so that no story or heroic movie ever gets to be born in Hollywood unless it follows to the letter Christopher Vaugler’s Writer’s Journey – Mythical Structure for Writers, his textbook for screenwriters (for more info on that, you can go to https://chrisvogler.wordpress.com/) conceived, of course, as a writers’ guide into Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.

The story structure of Star Wars is, of course, the journey of the archetypal hero, one that we all go through in life on our path through transformation, and this is what gives it the special appeal it has over audiences around the world: the hero in us cannot fail to identify him/herself with the universal hero pattern. Whatever the background,  living situation and the nature of our aspirations, truth is that we all get to go through the same many aspects of the human experience – and this is the main and first reason of existence for fiction, this is what we all mainly look for when we go to the cinema or start reading a new book. In Jung terms, the hero is a symbol of the Self where the human part in us aspires to its communion with the Divinity, the divine part in us, after having had integrated all our parts of shadow. In Lucas terms our road of trials awakens us to our communion with The Force, the one that supports us in our eternal battle against the Darkness, mostly the one inside ourselves.

There is another aspect to the genesis of the Star Wars, that of continuity and of transmission communion and ultimately, of unity and oneness. In spite of what copyright and anti-piracy laws claiming exclusive ownership on any individual work, in fact no idea and no work of man is just the result of that one man’s (or woman’s) work or idea, but the influences come from many sources. In this instance we have a happy instance of a conducive thread to follow which shows us the most important influences – that is, only up to a point.

First Lucas, and then Campbell in turn, acknowledges two ideators as his source of inspiration: Joice and Jung. The Monomyth is not Campbell’s own term, but is has been coined by James Joyce in his Finnegan’s Fin, inspired in turn by the German Adolf Bastian’s pioneering idea of “psychic unity of the mind”.  In the true spirit of a Renaissance man, this man has used his extensive knowledge and his direct experience gained through exploring the populations and mythologies of the world along his extensive voyages around the world ( he was a ship doctor) to come up with an unheard of, complex and unifying theory. But Campbell also traveled to Bollingen, Switzerland to meet Jung in person. He uses Jung’s insights into archetypes in his book Pathways to Bliss by introducing Jung’s theory of the constituents of the soul: anima/animus, the shadow, the ego-consciousness to his American readership.

Then Jung, in turn, acknowledges Adolf Bastian’s concept of the “psychic unity of the mind” as being an early source of inspiration for his theory of the unconscious and archetypes.

And think that, without the strenuous work of all these people, we wouldn’t have felt the need and impulse to skip work today, wake up before sunset, or skipping sleep all together, to go watch Star Gates – Episode VII, The Last Jedi. But this effort is just another challenge on our individual Road of Trials?? Of which kind of Hero we choose to be?

“#Me Too”, AI and Singularity – a Woman’s Musings

Every woman who has ever been presented with a career/sex quid pro quo in the entertainment industry should come forward and simply say, “Me, too.” Alissa Milano

“#Me Too”, the 2006 dormant  hashtag explodes in October 15th, 2017, to 4.6 million tweets and uses, Facebook posts and shares – in just one day . In just one month it spreas to 86 countries. Is this the first time ever that we hear about widespread sexual misconduct? 

Fr – balanceTon Pork  Can-MoiAussi Ar -أنا_كمان  Chin– #我也是   Sp- YoTambién   Viet-TôiCũngVậy      It -QuellaVoltaChe

 

It’s been barely one month since The New York Times’ article containing allegations of sexual misconduct by film producer Harvey Weinstein, and women – men, too – reacted like never before to a social issue. A tsunami of denunciations of all sorts of blamable acts performed by men against women (with some exceptions) brought to our awareness all levels of unhealthy and demeaning attitudes. The open truth hit us all with the force of a tidal wave, and high-placed, important heads have been pulled out from their previous place of power like bad teeth.

    But why this reaction, and why now? We used to be quite familiar with the way things were, we were OK with bosses pinching women’s derriere inside the meeting room. Nobody was as naive as to imagine that in the case of Clinton and his internship Monica Lewinsky it was she who begged him on her knees, as nobody was naive to believe that those accusations made against Trump before the elections were unfounded. There has been also the  2011 DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) scandal. For having sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York, the man payed it heavily, he’d lost his position of manager director of the IMF and an almost certain nomination at the French presidency, lost in favor of Francois Hollande in the coming year.

However, none of these pushed, like now, millions of women to stop hiding and come forward with their suffered experiences. What caused it this time? It could be that women are feeling more liberated now in 2017 than they have ever been in their lifetime – in any case, less exposed to shaming and to criticism than they used to.

As a woman, I acknowledge that I have been confronted to all sorts of “manly” attentions, from the mild level and up to the hard one, when I had to ask my husband to intervene. Was I provoking it – their attention, I mean? No, not in the least – I have never thought of myself as someone fatally attractive and irresistible to men. At best, when I didn’t feel insulted by the pressure after saying my stern “no”, I felt mildly satisfied: “Oh, I am turning heads, too.” We are all men and women after all, and there are ways of manifest admiration while still remaining in that respectful zone. I find it natural that a man looks at a woman with certain admiration or gallantry. Women do it too, these days, or am I wrong??

By saying this I’m not justifying men’s abuse of position, power and influence to illicit needs or pleasures – by all means, women should feel free to invite or reject the man or the behavior that they consider unsolicited.

At the same time I would also caution women against using this sudden window, or platform, against incriminating for the sake of incriminating – we wouldn’t want to be transforming our legitimate ailments into wizard hunts, and neither should we abuse this opportunity to settle old accounts with someone who’d hurt us, or caused us some damage in ways unrelated to sexual misconduct – let’s keep things in their separate boxes. If just one or two things like these would happen, it is enough to throw the whole legitimacy of the cause down the gutter – beware of the ill-intended intruders and of political manipulators.

Women have their own part of responsibility for the way things are; in as much as it is true that women ARE being forced to suffer unsolicited attentions, there are also women who  are using their charms in plays of power, in all awareness, to easily climb a hierarchy, to get specific favors, to satisfy specific interests. And this is why I’m not sure that this “me too” meme is all about men abusers and women victims; what about the women in power, also found on the lists of abusers?

An other issue would be that society has always been overly permissive to certain attitudes, deemed totally appropriate and fit for an overt patriarchal context. After all, we have inherited millennia-old patterns of culturally accepted behavior with inflamed gods chasing and impregnating unwilling goddesses . And who dares to go back and watch those old, once endeared movies in any culture, American, French or Italian cinema, with favorite male actors engaged in actions and attitudes that sparked our grandmothers’ admiration, but which would make a girl these days go straight to the police section? How much right do we have now to judge and hit back at actions that were socially appropriate only thirty, or even ten years ago (except, of course, rape and violence that were not, for sure)? Therefore, I find it the more amazing that this something that we even didn’t dare dream to achieve, this sudden awareness to misconduct, we are achieving it, right now.

I believe all this is mostly a social awakening. We need to clarify what can and what cannot be appropriate, to draw the red line between what is acceptable and what isn’t. We need to get rid of this concept of short-cuts to pleasure, in men’s case, or of short-cuts to ascension, in women’s case, we need to start building a culture of fair-play. We should all climb the stairs of prominence and find social empowerment not through “stealing” others’ dignity, not through selling or buying pleasures at the office and inside institutions with destinations other than the designated facilities for that.

But I can see even a bit further. Misogyny and men’s misconduct against women may seem pale issues in confronts to other burning ones like pedophilia, forced prostitution, slavery and warfare, malnutrition and endemic poverty, irresponsible use of science in the detriment of Nature and natural. I see these issues as shameful enough not to be compatible with the ambitions of a society ready for the upcoming, “robotic” era, now that the take over of the artificial intelligence is imminent – oh, yes, this is the kind of intelligent beings that we are: we keep on focusing on one burning issue while disregarding all other burning issues, incapable of beholding the larger scale of things. Fact is that while we are still sorting out our dirty laundry, AI is forcing its way into our society at an exponential speed, on the pretext that we have become so blind, so dumb and vile, compared to its Superiority, that only Its Highness, a higher than human intelligence could put an end to all our ailments. And some guys who know their stuff, guys like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking or Bill Gates keep warning us against it, together with being “inevitable.” Wouldn’t this be way scarier than any man/woman/child/nature/religious/human-right abuse?

And this is why any victory against our shadow nature, any rise in consciousness at the level of our society is a giant victory. But are we awakening at the necessary speed, before things get totally out of control?

Reblog: The Role Of The Ego, by Risha Joshi

Many things are being said about the mischief that our overly inflated Ego is doing to our world – and many are true. But we are usually being mislead: ego is an essential part of who we are, and we couldn’t exist (the way that we intend to, of course) without it. Imagine a world without education, healthcare, abundant food, science, technology, art, economy, luxury and so on – our whole civilization is being built by the ego.

It’s only harmful when it goes overboard. Big Ego stirs waves, from ripples to tsunamis, worldwide – the chaos we are currently living in. This is the kind of ego that we would want to gain awareness about, and which we should try to keep under control. But, like Donald Rumsfeld is acknowledging in the above quote, many would “do little to moderate their ego.”

Dr. Risha Joshi, mentor and coach, has a very interesting and competent point of view on this, and you can read it on his blogsite here: http://rishajoshi.com/2015/12/16/the-role-of-the-ego/ 

“I Can’t Afford To Hate Myself”, Says The Self-Defending Ego – Incest and Child Abuse From A Different Perspective

 

Only in the past two month I happened to find out about three of such situations, from people I know.  It is hard to hear about it. But everyone knows that it is way harder to those directly involved. It is increasingly common to hear testimonies of parent-child ill-treatment and abuse, of past and ugly mistakes that leave unhealed wounds for years ahead, at times for a lifetime. The victim feels that it is to blame. We usually try and comfort the victim with the usual… “Well, it was long ago,” “It wasn’t your fault,” “It will pass,” etc. But the meaning and causes behind the “parent perpetrator / child victim” behavior have a life-long, time-bomb effect, and the damage is very profound, and the victims, defenseless little children no more, have yet a hard time in coming to terms with it.

Yet, in these chaotic times, the current process of evolution in consciousness we are undergoing wants the old society to be transformed, and, in order for this to happen, the ugly elements in the collective unconscious need to come out into the light of consciousness. So that they happen no more.

 

 

ego
Ego is very touchy and allergic to pain; it wants to defend itself at any cost. When I say “I AM” this “I” is partly unconscious, because, without my conscious awareness, it denies the aspects of myself that I find unacceptable. The strategies that the ego uses are quite a handful, but I also find that creating a mask, “who I would like to be seen as” is also an effective defense*. Jung calls this mask “persona”, after the masks actors used in ancient  theater.

We may keep on asking, what makes someone (at times, the closest to you, the one that gave you life, that is supposed to protect you above all and everything) attack you physically and psychologically, you, a defenseless child? Would it be that the child is so undeserving that he, or she, deserves punishment and maltreatment? According to common sense, and to new science, a child is coming to this life totally innocent, helpless and unprepared, so it is up to us, parents, to provide to all its needs.
If, at any time along the child’s development there are reasons to believe that he/she didn’t progress well enough, or less well than expected, then it must be the parents’ fault, and not the child’s. A child may defend himself/herself ferociously against a stranger, for instance, but cannot defend against parental authority – even adults cannot defend themselves against authority (Milgram experiment)

But these are only rational speculations, while there is nothing rational in this type of behavior. Whatever the reason, it leaves indelible traces in the abused child – for life. Not for the physical damage, but for the psychological one. All our psychological wounds come from any kind of action that is being perceived as out of the norm, condemnable at the societal level. It is a long, well established religious dogma: no incestuous relations between close relatives – it may be that people were observant enough to realize that along time such relations would generate offspring less fit for survival and procreation, something that genetics discovered relatively recently. If animals, wild or domesticated, are avoiding interbreeding, there must be some evolved instinct in nature in order to discourage it.
However, humans have found their way, as usual, to go around religious and natural prohibitions: ancient Egyptians’ royalty encouraged the practice, so that it became a sort of “privilege of the gods” (pharaohs were “gods on earth”). Christianity also knows of glamorous examples (among who knows how many secret ones) like the illustrious family that gave the world three popes. “Borgia were an incestuous family”, says Giovanni Sforza about the family of his wife, Lucretia – their Vatican orgies were quite famous and in plain daylight.

child protection
There is no evidence that in these examples, people were in no way affected by the weight of their acts, on the contrary, they caused their singular ways to be seen as privileged and exclusive – who knows how many envious followers they left in their historic trace??
In our days, conventions in our society dictate that incestuous relations be prohibited and blamable – probably partly on the religious bases, partly as a natural instinct that even animals follow. How does a child, victim of such abuse, know that this is an outrageous thing, outrageous enough as to cause deep psychological trauma for a life time? Maybe the child knows it deeply, innately, the same way animals “know”. Why does the abusive parent do it? Because there must be something gone terribly wrong with him or her, something to have rendered him/her psychologically and emotionally impaired – maybe, most probably, something similar had happened to himself (or herself, as mothers and grandmothers are known to do it too).

projection

When a person is acting this way against his/her own progeny, he, or she is doing it because he/she is deeply hurt, hateful towards self, even desperate and disgusted with oneself – and it doesn’t have to be consciously known. In fact, their biggest problem is that they are not conscious that they are so profoundly hurt, and why. They can only act blindly, repeat and mirror the reprovable behavior that caused them such painful emotions on a similarly vulnerable victim, the way they were themselves. Which makes them feel even worse: this is why they blame the victim, the child, for their own ugliness and helplessness – from here the bad words, the beating, the worsening of the abuse. This is a typical example for “projection”: a psychological term that explains how unacceptable, negative behavior is being projected, reflected on others. A liar would see that everybody is lying, a thief would claim that everybody is a thief, a stingy, avaricious man would poke fun at others for their stinginess.

I am amazed at how many brave men and women, even children, decide to speak up, let the world become aware that all these reprovable things like incest and pedophilia are happening. It is by bringing dark things to the light that dark, uncontrollable instincts lose their power and become harmless, as awareness and reason gain over emotion and instinct.

light into darkness

We are humans in the process of bringing light into millenia of unconsciousness and darkness – we are collectively paining in the process of transformation of the animal instinct into evolved awareness. Hard as may be, we are the transforming heroes, so that these things never happen again in the next generations.

  • Polly Y. Eisendrath, James James Albert Hall, “Jung’s Self Psychology – A Constructivist Perspective” p 6

“I Am” – What Makes The I-ness? Individual And Collective Mind – The Shadow

 

Show Me My Shadow

James J. O’Donnell, author and classic scholar, tells us that “People kill because it’s the right thing to do.” And he is terribly right. Only this last Christmas, a woman in Arizona shot in the eye another woman because that one didn’t believe in God – at Christmas!

He goes on: “elected statesmen—American no less than from countries we aren’t so fond of—are no less prone to pull the trigger on killing with exact justifications based in the soundest moral arguments. We glance away nervously and mutter about exceptions. What if the exceptions are the rule?” And then he leaves us with a warning: The good guys are the bad guys. Teaching your children to do the right thing can get people killed.”

More than half-a-century ago, Jung identified our own Shadow to be the source for the problem: we never pay attention to our own flaws, to the spiderwebs in our own closets – this is a wink to those who are into psychology.

To those into religion, the Bible says: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” But maybe we pick in our religions the stuff that suits us and dispose of the rest??  Cause “there is nothing wrong about it, God would never see it anyway, if we hide it well”… or so we’d like to believe. But God, whoever, whatever this is, is not much into any spying system – it is our own soul that cannot bear hypocrisy, lying, finger-pointing, wrong-doing… because human soul has this property, it always wants to be neat and clean. Rather than being saintly, the soul would want things to be honest and straight.

So, who and what am I, the good, or the bad one?? I am the two – and seeing this is my utmost, foremost “soul assignment” in this life: seeing the log in my own eye. It is just that – but it’s so hard.

I have been watching the fear, the hatred, the suspicions, the accusations and incrimination at the coming of the Syrian and Afghan refugees in Europe and in the States. Not all of them are good people. Not all of them are genuine refugees. But the biggest majority are.

But meanwhile, for who knows, maybe 0,0001 % of the infiltrated bad ones, Europe is radicalizing its policies, all like the US: we may be testimonies to the process of electing an American president not because he may be the best man for the job, but because he is the one most skilled at scaring the frightened child inside us.

shadow Jung

There has been another president before who declared a new “Crusade War” to the Middle East. And he didn’t hesitate, he went for it: what we are living now is just the aftermath. If a new president will follow in his footsteps, we are going to live a new edition, the “Crusade War Two”.

And, the aftermath to that…?? The aftermath to that wold be total Chaos, if this one we are living now was not enough.

Finally, rather than deliberating whether “They are good” or “They are bad”,  a change of pronoun may help enormously: “I am good” or “I am bad”.

The Bible didn’t say: “see the log in your eye” and mend it. Just seeing, becoming aware of it would be equal to fixing it and accepting that”I am good” and “I am bad”. Maybe if I see my own dark corners I won’t be that ready to throw stones at another fellow human being?

 

 

What Is My Place in The Universe?

The featured image is a visualization of the routing paths through a portion of the Internet. As the Internet is now the means, the tool, the depository of data and the projection wall for our collective knowledge, we can easily see it as a collective brain. The connections and pathways can be easily imagined as the pathways of neurons and synapses in this global brain. But this is not the only parallel; the neuron connections can also parallel the structures shown by our cities viewed from aboard the space station, or the images of the deep space in the visible universe – it seems that, the larger the diversity of scales, the more similarity we find. Science names this repetition of patterns from the micro to the macro scale fractality, which is a fundamental property of our universe. A fractal is “an object whose parts, at infinitely many levels of magnification, appear geometrically similar to the whole.
city neurons space station
The cities-at-night photos on the left were taken from aboard the space station; they show remarkable similarity with the neuronal structures in the photos on the right (source: sciencenote.tumblr.com) The following image is also a comparison, this time between a brain cell and the universe:

brain cell - universe

a word of fractals
Fractality is only one example of universality of patterns and systems; as the common trait of many fractals is self-similarity, there is a whole world of scale-free complex networks that suggest common self-organization dynamics. The complex networks are self-repeating patterns on all length scales.  At human scale we can observe real-life systems like the world-wide web,  biological and social networks – we are part of all three. As we are also part of the universe. As the universe is part of us.
consciousness eye
Helix Nebula
blue iris
human eye
One of the most common patterns of self-similarity is the spiral. We see spirals everywhere; besides being a beautiful shape, a spiral is a truly efficient form. The marvelous curves are not only nature’s way to organize space efficiently, but they also convey energy and motion.

subatomic particles

chemistry Belousov
Chemistry: Belousov-Zhabotinski reaction
Sacred-Geometry-Golden-Ratio-Spiral-of-Life-Nature-Fibonacci-Sunflower
bismuth
Bismuth crystal
When we analyse the geometry of a spiral we realize that it is possibly the most simple mathematic pattern that occurs in nature at all levels, from the tracks made by atomic particles (this is how far “small” we can see) to chemical reactions (Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction) to bacteria-growth patterns, to crystals (bismuth), to clouds, to turbulence in water and air, to weather patterns on distant planets, to galaxies and nebula; we see curves in a wave, in the shells and snails, in animals’ tails and horns, in flowers, and plants. We can hear because of such a spiral – cochlea.

cochlea

 

Mathematics is our way to translate the universe into numbers.Numbers are only what we use to organize quantitative information. If we analyse the spiral, it is always the repetition of the same ratio, the so called “Golden Number”, 1.61803399, represented as the Greek letter Phi. Along time it has been called a number of names, all of them containing “golden” or “divine” as adjective: Golden Ratio, Golden Proportion, Golden Mean, Golden Section, suggestive of how people can be fascinated and awed by the “divine” intelligence of the universe: it is also known as the “Divine Proportion” and the “Divine Section”.
The Golden Ratio is generated by a specific, easy to calculate sequence of numbers: starting from zero, then one and two, each number is to be additioned to the one before it:
zero, one + one = two,  two +one =three,  three + two = five, and so on, to infinity.
 The potentially infinite series, called Fibonnaci after the nickname of the Italian matematician who first published a book on the series, is now well known in the mainstream of pop culture. A Fibonacci Spiral is a logarithmic spiral with a growth factor of phi, or a rectangle with sides in the ratio of 1 : φ – the Golden Rectangle, or the Golden Spiral, widely used in arts and architecture. Throughout history, but particularly in the Renaissance art with Leonardo da Vinci and his peers, many artists and architects proportioned their works according to the Golden Ratio – which explains why, innately, we find their works aesthetically pleasing  (what about this inclination we commonly share, that of liking and loving, of disliking or hating the same things – as much as we would like to deny it, there are more similarities among us to unite, than are differences to separate us).

golden ratio

As we are all webbed  within our human society, we are already one example of a complex system, and there is a whole hierarchy of systems inside us – fractality. Human society is itself being webbed in the larger system of life on the planet, as the planet is also part of its solar system, itself part of … .
It is undeniable, and today more obvious than ever, that we are intricate, irreplaceable parts embedded in ever larger complex systems; we cannot hold ourselves apart from the laws of a universe ruled by self-organizing processes. This is our place in the order of Being. This is our Identity. This is our Right. This is our Responsibility.
Man has instinctively complied to the laws dictated by nature, first by imitating nature, and now through understanding nature, realizing that he is nature itself, that nature’s intelligence is man’s intelligence. Everything that our mind perceives and is aware of is the universe looking at itself.  Since the numbers are everywhere, everything is part of a pattern. The same patterns that are outside us, in the infinite universe, are also inside us. We reflect on them, as they reflect on us: we, as individuals, are holograms within the holographic universe: images within images. Life itself is a Fractal. The initial question: “What is our place inside the universe?” is gradually finding its answer; in as much as it is hard to believe it, this is, however, the true answer.
you are the universe expressing itself

       

“I Am” – What Makes The I-ness? Individual And Collective Mind – I –

Can You Trust Mainstream Definition of The Self?

If you are one of those who still thinks that there is nothing wrong with our world, don’t read this. But if you, too, think that our world is going through chaos, maybe you would want to read on.

My musings here have been originated by the mainstream worldview usually expressed in terms similar to this:

“…  if you really want to change how you view humanity, I guess you start viewing humanity as nothing but another species that developed on a planet with optimal circumstances for the evolution of that species.

This can be hard to do if you are religious or exceptionally spiritual [*my highlighting].  

You could just think “I am just one in 7 billion living homo sapiens. My existence is no more meaningful than that of anybody or anything else. I am not here for any reason worth thinking about. I just am. Like other (advanced) species I desire shelter and food and my ultimate evolutionary goal is to procreate and ensure the continuation of my genes.” That’s it.

It’s not fun, but it’s not wrong, per say [sic].

I guess it helps if you look up pictures of space so you see how minuscule humanity is and that our existence (whether we become a utopian race or literally blow up the planet) is not in any way important or exceptional relative to the universe.”

     

Is that so?? Is it not important, really? If tomorrow our grandchildren will ask us “Why did you let that happen to the planet, to the animals and plants, and to the world?”, would it look like sound judgment to them if we told them: “See, you, and the world are not important in any way”? Or, perhaps, they would ask us: “Are you in your right mind?”

With all the chaos happening around us, I have recently had a good number of reasons to see that human life (and life in general) has become quite a negligible concept in a sea of more important things, like government, security, the military, the economy, the stock market, bonds, shares,  the investment market, so on, and so forth.

Actually in what regards the crucial issue of identity, there is more polarity than ever before in the whole of our mass consciousness.

At one extreme, religious dogma has been telling us for two thousand years that we are sinners and unworthy, guilty of some “original” sin. At the other, science is telling us that we are just accidentally here, and the technocrats consider that we humans (are themselves included?) have become less apt than the increasingly smart artificial intelligence – AI, even at such uncomplicated tasks as driving, for instance. That’s why there are serious propositions to replace human driving with self-driving cars.

What I find mostly disturbing in this general frame of mind is not that humans are being unfavorably compared to AI – we do have less computation power or less memory – it is the belief that the ultimate solution to our current problems would be the machines. It is expected that they should teach us empathy and ethics: “the machines teach empathy, prospection, and correct agency attribution”, according to a  Computer Science professor at the University of Vermont (here).

 

singularity love
“We are already cyborgs”

But I don’t think that I should entrust my children, my children’s children and the planet to the empathy of machines. Why don’t we “teach” them by showing empathy ourselves? Is it that hard?

Would it be easier to risk it all just because we are being too lazy to make an effort? Or too irresponsible? Too careless? Too “inhuman”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deppression: Chaos In and Out – “Have You Lost Your Mind??” “No, I Have Only Now Recovered It”- The Role that Chaos Is Playing in Our Lives

 Depression, Why Are You Coming Into My Life?

                                             Why Me, Depression? Are you here to harm me??

follow the path of your heartDuring years 2000 and 2007 (more or less) I was grappling with shadows in the depths of depression; at the time I didn’t know what depression was, I didn’t see any psychoanalyst and I was convinced that That Was It, I mean, the end of me.

Maybe the worst part of it was that nothing made any sense; I had no idea what, and why all this was happening to me. From the perspective I have now on things, I realize that my depression was in fact the outcome of a powerful inner struggle for clarity and self-knowledge, fueled by my gasping for outside validation, acceptance and acknowledgment; in short, I wasn’t quite “fitting in”, neither in my own vision of myself, nor in the outsiders’ view.

But why would anything like this happen to anyone? Is it a downgrading of the personality? Is it a disease – and if so, what is there that it’s sick, the mind … the brain? The soul? Is it a heavenly punishment for nobody knows what personal, or “original sin”, ancestral mistake of our fathers’ fathers – good to know in case you are a believer??

If religion would attribute all our ills and evils to some sinful nature (see “original sin”), scientists still grapple in the dark. One evolutionary theory attributes the finality of depression to nature’s programs: to help select or restructure next generations’ DNA for better adaptive features – not unlike Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”(*see: Fumagalli, M. et alSignatures of environmental genetic adaptation pinpoint pathogens as the main selective pressure through human evolution: http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1002355).

But then, view that countless people have come out of it without the use of medication, what are the mechanisms in and out of depression ?

We are “social animals”. In my own case, depression wasn’t triggered either by my own feelings of inadequacy alone, or by the image which outsiders, I thought, may have held of me, but it was rather a combination of the two, in a closed loop of cause and effect. Whether everyone with depression is aware of this one mechanism or not, it is always true that our inner picture reflects what others project on us, and the outer picture – the one that others form of us, is itself a mirror of how we see ourselves.

And this yet would be an oversimplification, as it shows just a short segment of our cause-and-effect type of reality.  Whatever we feel that we are at any point in life is just a construct that we make based on all our previous lived experiences.

Daniel Kahneman (https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory/transcript?language=en) has successfully argued on how our self-image is not  made of objective memories, but it is, in fact, our subjective interpretation of those experiences.

It could be that, back in my childhood, my mother didn’t give me that last pancake,  but gave it to my little brother because she had nothing else left to feed him, while I was supposed to go have my breakfast at the school cafeteria – meaning not at all that my mother stopped loving me and gave all of her love to the newest baby (yea, I agree, too many times mothers do fall into that ancient mammalian instinct of  shunning the older baby so that she can provide for the new, helpless one).

It is also true that lots of people fall into depression unexpectedly, unable to see any possible reason that may justify all that terrible fall into darkness. Midlife crisis, if one didn’t know depression before, is sure to come and shake all the solid ground on which an individual has carefully built his whole personality. It is so unavoidable that it is lately seen just as a normal, necessary period of transition from youth’s folly to the appeasement of mature age. If so, why not embrace it?

 

Midlife Crisis – Time for Transition

                              When things get stale, when you start growing mold on your soul, it is time for change – want it or not, chaos will come.

the hero's journeyThey say that depression is often triggered by the midlife crisis, that creeps into your life always unexpected, and, surely, uninvited. I believe in that; I am the active type, the one that looks for and accepts challenges, so I was struggling at the time to achieve more, do more and conquer yet other peaks and heights. It is then that we quit our job impulsively, quit a long-loved spouse, decide to leave everything behind to start a new life, go battle own demons, etc, etc… .

In our quest for happiness we all start from the false premises that this or that thing or achievement will make us happy – we never seem to realize how fast after the realization of our goal, it almost suddenly loses its initial appeal and significance. Or, if we do, we don’t seem to care, because we immediately start aiming for a new one, just to keep going, in a perpetual “chasing the carrot” type of journey.

It’s been established as a routine fact that, at some point in life, the questions begin pounding with ever more persistence: “What is the meaning of it all??”, “Who am I, and what am I doing here?” If all this wasn’t already hard enough for those with faith, it is way harder to get your answers when you are traveling on your own, when there’s no God in sight to agent it, to guide or to support you.

When this happened to me, I didn’t know of any symptom questions or routine signs – I fell in it totally, blindly – I was trying to make myself a place and find recognition inside a culture that was not mine, among people that would perceive me, at least unconsciously, that I didn’t belong – but don’t we all do that to our own “strangers”??

I now recognize how I just fitted perfectly in the pattern: after having been teaching at the same school for nine years, I suddenly decided to quit, on the spur of the moment (sudden bouts of anger are my driving engine), realizing that the school owner and principal would never keep promises and would never allow me to move forward.

Leave the safety of a relatively easy, unchallenging job, for God knows what new challenges must have sounded stupid, I know. It was an especially risky move on my part, due to the unfavorable time and place, inside a culture that was not mine, and not particularly open to foreigners, particularly to those coming from the eastern, ex-communist bloc. Some people around me rightfully asked: “Have you lost your mind??”

That was the step of a Fool, I acknowledge.

 

The Fool – That I Was, And Still Hope to Remain 

Be a Fool – it’s not dangerous: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

I had no idea of arcanas, fools and journeys at the time – far less of archetypes playing defining roles into our lives. My mindset at the time was as aligned to the mainstream as possible: within the “right” materialist-scientific worldview no “esoteric” or “obscure mysteries” could enter my impermeable mind.

But if I choose today to speak with quasi authority on the field of Tarot is my encounter (through his work, at least) with a cutting-edge physicist and specialist in System Sciences. In his book, Genesis of The Cosmos – The Ancient Science of Continuous Creation, PhD Paul La Violette finds amazing parallels between ancient Egypt history, ancient myths and system sciences.

Through his book he is guiding the reader into the realization that some cutting edge scientific principles reflect ancient knowledge kept hidden for eras as utmost spiritual truth – the most guarded occult mysteries. For the first time, due my previous familiarity with the history of religions and compared mythology, I sensed how ancient myths and symbols began glittering with their own light. Could it be that, what mainstream science used to see as “mystical, supernatural, magical powers, practices, or phenomena”, can enter the domain of scientific theory, due to 21st century advances in scientific discovery ?

I was already knowledgeable in the domain of ancient, compared religions and mythology, but the idea never crossed my mind that all those things could be something more than gibberish, not worthy to be told even to little children – I got them just as required studies. But I was in to learn much more: that general, universal truths have been coded and preserved, in the intention of those advanced enough as to grasp, seize and understand an unfathomed, advanced view on the true reality.

Truths are being hidden, suggested or disguised in the allegories and the metaphors of ancient texts, myths, stories, rituals, and none of these had any chance of being scarcely understood before the 20th century advances in quantum physics and mechanics, before the advent of chaos – catastrophe theory and system sciences.

In the Tarot system the Fool is the protagonist of a story that is right about to begin, and as such, it is the zero-point card of the Major Arcana (from here the arcane: known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric”), a number of 21 cards, or images representing human archetypes or instances along a schematic, spiritual journey,  “the path to spiritual awareness”. The cards mark, or depict, “the various stages we encounter as we search for greater meaning and understanding” along our own journey.

Unknowingly, the path I just initiated was marked by the Fool, and my journey ahead, designated in Tarot language as the “Fool’s Journey”, was to be a journey of discovery and initiation.  The Fool

The journey is guided by the main human archetypes (Gr: archein, “original or old”; and typos, “pattern, model or type”) that will pop up at diverse stages through dreams or other means. They may stand for real people and real-life events that will prompt you to the next stage or the next leg of the journey, or they may only appear as symbols signaled by the unconscious – or both.

Looking back at that point in time I can realize with no difficulty that my journey effectively started exactly as described by the “Fool” card: I actually was at a turning point in my life, eager for the next stage of the journey, and, while my foot was already in the air, ready to step forward, I was totally unaware that I was on the edge of a cliff, and that the next step was going to be in the void.

What I find most intriguing is that, this process being autonomous, while it is happening to us, we are never aware of what is going on – or, at least, not consciously aware – maybe we are too engulfed into our suffering and existential pain (and who could blame us?), which renders us incapable of objectivity. We lack the necessary distance and detachment, unable to grasp the bigger picture.

From the perspective that the passage of time allows me, I can also say, although I am against the clichés and the overly used chunks of wisdom:”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

I am not writing this to describe the journey, but to introduce the “transformation archetype”, the one that Jung rightfully considered the major archetype that dominates our lives.

 

The Individuation Journey – The Journey of A Lifetime

    Absorbed into the transformation archetype we are  jumping into the dangerous void of our own insecurities, the realm where our demons dwell. But demons always hide the treasure of our own greatest potential.

the individuation processWe are all, at least once, if not repeatedly, on the point of starting a new journey: leaving home for continuing own education, marriage, a change in the workplace or a new job altogether, a major change of the living place to a new city or country, a newly declared, life-threatening medical condition, a divorce, or the loss of a dear one.  Whatever the reason, at some point in life we are about to change our previous worldview and previous identity – our approach to life altogether.

One thing, increasingly common to these times, is that Crisis and Chaos comes with the destructiveness of  a tornado that, once has you lifted, whirling and swirling in the void, won’t let you down until it has shattered all your previous assumptions and identifications.

But when it lets you down, you are a new you, a self-contained, stand-alone individual, capable of existing by oneself and through oneself, free from the need to please others, to follow others, to conform and comply; you finally get to be “the real you”, and be fine with it.

Under this new light, the imperative “know thyself” is not a witty, catchy phrase to enchant the ears of generations of theater-goers; it has as deep a meaning as can be.  At the other end of the self-interrogation “Who am I?”, “Know thyself!” has been the highest imperative along ages, known to all those who wanted to grasp the meaning of their life. Starting at least as far back as with the ancient Eastern philosophies, it was known to Socrates and Plato, to Shakespeare, and to modern psychology today.

Swiss psychiatrist and depth psychoanalyst C.G. Jung coined the term “individuation journey” for this journey of finding oneself, the journey of transcending the Ego towards finding one’s own center, the Self.

Jung: individuation process: a journey of personal achievement guided by myth, archetypes and symbols that aim at achieving balance between the person’s conscious and personal unconscious; the journey is figured as a spiral movement towards a center, the center of one’s personality. The journey aims at delivering the person towards its final destiny that can be plenitude and a religious integration” (Andrew Colman’s Dictionary of Psychology, Oxford)

I have found a few excerpts about Jung’s individuation on the net that I’d like to share – these are from mindstructures.com (October 07, 2012):

“According to Jungian psychology, individuation is the process of transforming one’s psyche by bringing the personal and collective unconscious into conscious.

  • Individuation has a holistic healing effect on the person, both mentally and physically.
  • Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.
  • Besides achieving physical and mental health, people who have advanced towards individuation, they tend to become harmonious, mature, responsible, they promote freedom and justice and have a good understanding about the workings of human nature and the universe.”

So, from the perspective that the passage of time is offering us, chaos and crisis in our lives may serve us well – could it be that it also takes us closer to finding the meaning, to the fulfillment and the scope of our lives??

dragon treasureThis will be the subject for my next post.

Unconscious Mind and Singularity

the
the “Iceberg Model of the Mind” – this is a graphic representation meant to represent the disproportion between the conscious mind and the unconscious.

transhumanism

 

 

 

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[1]) 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.
**** singularity is 
See the Links: http://singularityhub.com/
and some videos on the matter: http://www.singularitysymposium.com/transhumanism.html 
and “When robots are everywhere, what are humans good for?”
http://singularityhub.com/2015/06/28/kurzweil-responds-to-when-robots-are-everywhere-what-will-humans-be-good-for-video
***** organinc computers, “brainets”
“Imagine a future where computers no longer run on silicon chips. The replacement? Brains.”
http://singularityhub.com/2015/07/17/animal-brains-networked-into-organic-computer-brainet/
****** “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 global@singularityu.org or head to http://www.singularityuglobal.org”

How Far Are We Willing to Go for Fear of Death?

Which Part of You Is Irreplaceable?

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.

 

 

There Is Power in Going Back to Source

 

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.

 

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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!
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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!

 

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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!

 

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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!

 

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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!

 

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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!
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There is thrill and danger in the bushes!

 

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!

Why This Blog

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; 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.”

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 of information “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.

Cogito, Ergo Sum – Thank You, Depression!

I Exist, Therefore I Am – Conscious!

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!”

Four Things That Make It Hard to Keep The Inherent Balance of The Universe

Who says it’s hard to quit smoking, that it’s hard to lose weight, or that it’s hard to stop hating those who did you harm?

Who says those things know nothing of what hard really is. I’ve done all of them, and I find that they were by far easier than the new challenges I am facing now.

From where I stand, I would say that nothing is as hard as to:

  1. stop showing your love to those who do not know how to let themselves be loved.
  2. quit giving yourself, your time and energy, to those who don’t have a clue of what you are doing
  3. stop giving freely of your energy to those who will just spill it, doing things less important than the things you could do if you had all this energy and time only for yourself
  4. stop depriving the people you love of the possibility of learning their own lessons

No thing in the world is as hard as realizing that, with your free generosity, you only create unbalance in the give and take exchange of energy in the universe.