Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

Archive for April, 2008

Free Will Revisited

Published by under Uncategorized on April 22, 2008

As with nearly every thing in existence the idea of free will has two sides. These sides tend to correspond with logic and abstraction/emotion. While in “The Illusion of Free Will” I highlight the logical fact of our input-output nature, this view can ‘feel’ helpless. This helplessness is the reason we all have a need to reject the idea of absolute destiny. We must ‘feel’ the ability to change our world and impact our destiny or we give up. The idea of free will must be redefined within workable boundaries. It is a concept that is useful in dealing with other concepts such as time, but in the end it must be realized that all these concepts are only tools for dealing with now.

SGMS considers that there are two sides to our mind with extremely different purposes. The two sides must hold the differing but complementing memes to function optimally. This can sound like contradiction but only to those who give a cursory examination.

We must emotionally feel okay and along for the ride of life. We must feel a peace about the world that comes from knowing that we are not actually in control but we must also feel a sense of control and ability to improve our situation in life. We want control without responsibility and fault. We have seemingly conflicting desires but when all of reality is considered it is no so conflicting; they are simply differing tools for differing situations. Taking these tools and directing them is a critical part of happiness and fulfillment in life.

We have three areas to deal with about experience and we often mix up their importance: The past, the present, and the future. There is only truly the eternal ‘now’ but the concepts of time are very useful and necessary. We must be able to focus on the experience of now but using the context of the past with a little consideration of the future.

Now is the most important by far because your past experiences and context are always one-sided and can be completely contrived. At any moment, if you have an open mind, you can again have the ‘Aha!’ moment that you did when you were a teenager and realized your parents had you believing some really ridiculous things. However, this time it might be that you realize your group of friends were wrong, or your spouse was wrong or the television was wrong. You realize you’ve been lied to and you need not feel foolish for believing the absurd. So we must concede that our context is flawed, biased and always to be looked at with incredulity though still useful in certain situations.

Though you seem to be able to predict the future generally, when it gets down to specifics you always find that your plans rarely go as planned. The more specifically you plan the more inaccurate the plan unfolds. We all know this yet we still roll the dice like a gambler hoping that this next time it will pay off. On a rare occasion it does and keeps us gambling but the success rate when examined is just as much a waste of resources and time as gambling is a waste of money.

Our perpetually skewed picture of the past adulterates our prediction of the future. In the face of these facts, the most useful strategy seems to be the ability to be adaptive. To have ability and talent rather than raw knowledge alone. We must be like a child, assessing the nature of the present and appreciating every moment for its new uniqueness and its variety of hidden qualities. We must remain aware of our excusable ignorance but always working with wonderment and excitement to eliminate it.

Just as ‘Now’ is more important than the other concepts of time. True understanding is more important than knowledge of facts. Knowledge is transient and context dependant. Knowledge is only useful for building a picture of interaction and dependency. It is only useful for building understanding. Only through understanding are we able to predict and adapt.

The universe is a collection of interrelating information. Only by becoming a center of interrelating information do you become a larger ‘rock’ in the stream. The way things interact shape the universe and the ‘behaviors’ of the universe that we see around us. The things that happen are only because of the underlying schema. Events are the product of interaction, but not just interaction but a specific type and order of interaction. In this way, understanding is a model of the universe. By having understanding that matches the universe, we become a small model of the universe itself. We become a machine that better mirrors the machine which created us. In this way we also become creators, just like the universe creates.

As information flows through the interaction schema that we call the universe, it is shaped and changed and caused to to interact in a specific fashion. As we understand more, information flows through us and interacts in the same way as the universe. We are better able to predict the universe because we are more like it. As we understand more we become an agent of the universe. We become a tool for shaping and ordering. Our ‘will’ becomes more like the ‘will’ of the universe. What is will but desire and what shapes desire but understanding.

As we understand we gain an ability to change the things around us, we become a larger and more important part of the machinery of the universe. As the information and events of the world flow through us we change it and move it, but we do so because the flow of information accumulated in a way which created us and continues to shape us.

Because we are a part of the universe we take part in changing it and forging it because of our presence. The form and function of our presence was because of the culmination of all the interactions before us. In this way we have the free will to act within our nature but just as a tree cannot act outside of its nature, neither can we at any moment behave outside our own momentary nature. But because we are part of the universe and able to guide the flow of the universe as it touches us, we can cause a feedback loop to begin within ourselves. We can guide the evolution of our current self.

With a little understanding we can get more understanding and expand ourselves. Through expanding our tools we expand our impact and therefore our perceived ‘control’. By causing our mind or spirit-meme to match the universe we gain more of the power of the universe because of our similarity to the universe.

Control is still essentially an illusion but as we gain understanding we become more the author of ourselves and by becoming the author of ourselves we change the way things flow through us. Though we might not have been the initial spark we still become the tool that accomplishes the task.
We can still have pride in ourselves but that pride must also accompany understanding. Though one officer might actually run down and capture a serial killer that he sees on a patrol he did not do the detective work, the forensics, the profiling and he did not design the microscopes or the radios or the cars or the myriad other tools that allowed him to make the arrest. He likely didn’t make the coffee that kept him awake nor did he even make the decision that he would be on patrol that night. He didn’t make any of the decisions that identified the perpetrator but he was the eventual tool of the system that made the arrest.

Though we can have pride in our value and the impact we have we must realize what contributed to who we are in the context of the entire universe. The source of our value and impact is not our own but it is nice to admire the impact of the thing the universe created. Once we realize our smallness and become okay with it, we no longer see free will in the same way. Once we realize we are and integral part of the universe we can see that we are a thing we created through the power of destiny and that we are part and parcel in that process.

When we gain understanding we see our ‘will’ as created by the universe and how we are currently the universe’s tools by which destiny is played out. In this way we can see our power as part of the universe but realize our smallness and eventual lack of fault in the workings of such a greater thing.
Life is a creation of the universe and life created us. We have a choice to become larger or smaller in the universe. That choice or ‘arrest’ may have been set up by the universe but we still make it. By making the decision to become something better, we increase our domain and power within the universe even though the decision was the eventual result of the universe’s working. When a person chooses to remain ignorant and destructive they simply become a tool for the force of unbalance.

If we strive for better then we were meant to strive for better. Without striving there is no success. If we sit in the corner and accept a lack of control then we were meant to and never do accomplish great things. We accept and therefore create our destiny as a broken tool.

Exercise the power of change granted to you by the universe. Accept the gift of understanding by seeking it. Be at peace with your place in the universe and enjoy the ride but be all that you can be and you may find there is no limit to what you can and were meant to be. You may be the tool of change the universe uses.

Our wants and our will are simply a product of the complex machinery of the universe which we are an integral part of. We are just as much a part of shaping the universe as gravity is. Our will and thoughts are just as much a mechanism (tool of change) of nature as gravity is. Logically, we have no free will, but abstractly (through the grasping of complexity via abstraction), there is something that might be thought of as free will.

We can do what we want but what we want was done to us.

Cycles of Life and the Contrast Principle

Published by under Uncategorized on April 10, 2008

The secret to happiness is thankfulness. Thankfulness is the ability to see the good of every situation. To see the good in every situation one must be able to change focus from broad to narrow and back again at will and to have patience.

All things that live do so in cycles and harmonics of cycles. From meal to meal, and from days to seasons to years and from extinction events to ice ages, life is all about cycles. This is very well known but there are few that can quantify what is common about those cycles. Strength and unity versus growth and diversity; times of little and times of plenty; fact and probability; logic and reason; life and death.

Those who have had little can see that the rich are often unhappy because there is nowhere to go from the top. The very best becomes mediocre and mundane. Those that are rich can see that the poor are often unhappy because they do not understand how simplicity and peace can be the most valuable things in the world. The young see the old and how they do not appreciate their freedoms and the old see the young and realize how they cannot see their freedoms either.

Every thing in the world can be seen as a problem or adversity or can be seen as an opportunity, blessing or challenge. Our experience in life is entirely up to us. It is our focus and thankfulness. There is one thing that that always stays the same about life: it always changes. The changes can be met with open arms or fear and loathing. Every change brings us a shift in perspective and can give a better ability to appreciate life or it can become an excersize is yearning for something other than what we have.

Yearning and unmitigated desire are the source of unhappiness in every person’s life. A focus on what “could be”, was, or “might have been” is the essence of thanklessness for what “is”. A focus on how things might or will be better some day is the very best way to miss out on every little joy of now. Even sadness about the loss of a loved one can turn into a passion to honor them, their life and what they stood for or it can become an obsession with one’s own personal loss.

There are many versions of a story that relate a single bit of wisdom that has endured the ages but I prefer the one where a king is building a new monument in a city to inspire his people and asks all the wise men of the kingdom to help him bring humility to the people in times of plenty but hope to them in times of need. One phrase was written upon the monument: “This too shall pass”

That single bit of wisdom is a lesson of focus. Enjoy every moment for what it holds and know that change is coming. When things seem all lost, know that there is something to be appreciated now and there will be more to appreciate in the future. When you are at the highest of hights, cherish it and share it with others because it will pass away. If you grasp onto it too tightly it will hurt you more when it is gone. Greed is pain.

When you seek to break the cycle of life you also seek to break the renewal it brings. When you attempt to unbalance life, the balance finally comes and it is that much harsher. When you seek only plenty and ease you become fat in spirit. You become weak and unhealthy of mind. Seek out challenge and face it head on. Embrace hardship as an exciting challenge. Live in the moment of even the pain and focus on the lessons it brings just as you would any other workout. Know that there will be a time of relaxation, freedom and enjoyment so long as you are in the moment to enjoy them instead of pining for something else.

Memories are the bones of the spirit. Good memories should not be something to long after but a lesson about the inevitable goodness of the future. Harsh memories shouldn’t bring fear and trepidation but a proof of survival and triumph. You made it through and you will continue to.

There is a strange dichotomy of focus that is hard to grasp but the sum of which is optimism or pessimism. We must keep a view that considers the whole of our lives and the smallness of the moment, while we must also focus on the experience of every small moment and the precious gift of experience whether it be triumph or disaster.

If you experience nothing but pleasure throughout your life, nothing is pleasurable; it is all mundane. If you only see what you are missing you cannot see what you have. A rollercoaster is no fun without both the ups and the downs. It’s time you enjoyed the ride with a moment by moment love of both the challenge and anticipation and the experience itself. Every fearful and difficult experience can either show you how you are able to eventually overcome or you can be thankless and decide it’s proof that the future will “be bad too” and thereby befoul the good experiences when they come because of your search for the evils of every moment.

When you feel like there is nothing in life that you can control you may be right with one exception… you can control how you perceive it. You are the source of your joy or sadness.

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