A Dramatic Realization

I suddenly had the most intriguing revelation this morning upon waking. This is perhaps a bit off-topic, yet this blog is, of course, an online journal of discovery, so perhaps it’s not so much a derailment of thought… 🙂

Social Networking: Appropriate-Social-Network-Behaviour-300x299

I love Facebook! It has connected me with friends and relatives and fans of my work like I could only have imagined before there was the internet (and, yes, I do remember those days, though I was only a child, haha)!

I always strive to be real; I never want to present myself as something other than myself. And, out of respect for others, I have never ever made it a practice to “unfriend” those in the digital-social arena whose political or religious or cultural values differ from mine. Unfortunately, however, there are a couple people my Unconscious — my Higher Self — brought to my mind very strongly this morning; people  who I know and with whom I have interacted personally in real life — who I did end up de-friending after a long, long time of frustration.

Naturally, the frustration was over political differences, stark differences. The odd thing about my situation was that, with both of these people, I only engaged very rarely with them in heated discussions (online, in the comment sections); I wound up unfriending them only after being constantly reminded of their staunch positions through the memes and comments they shared with me via my feed. I had decided, I don’t need to be reminded of our stark differences by seeing this in my feed every day.

What struck me as interesting and unique this morning, was that there are plenty of other diverse things that are shared with me constantly via that Facebook feed every day. Why should I be so bothered by these few? I think perhaps it is because in real, face-to-face life, I would never have engaged in such heated commentary with them, and indeed I would probably never have even seen this side of their views so vividly, knowing them and their in-person, quiet natures. And, even if I had, knowing myself well enough, I realized I would simply have nodded my head in respect of their opinions and loved them anyway, rather than engaging their ire further with my dissenting viewpoints.

So, my Unconscious asked my Conscious this morning, what would I “share” verbally in face-to-face communication with my friends, if I were to speak with this collection of diverse individuals in person? I know myself well enough to know that I would not be so quick to blurt out to everyone any such heat-worthy news bites or strident memes that catch my fancy at any given point, without instigation. I tend to be the person, in real life, who normally listens more than speaks when it comes to hot-button issues of the day, unless I am asked for my opinion. Thus, when I am invited to share in the discussion, the discussion is instantly understood to be on more friendly terms, and not an opportunity for scathing commentary back and forth.

I realized, too, that on my personal Facebook wall, I only share with “Friends” and not the “Public.” Which begs the question, again, if I were personally, physically, surrounded by these friends today, what would I actually share with them? Would I bare my soul so destructively and without discernment? Or would I more likely nod my head in enthusiastic agreement with those things said with which I concur, and smile with patient understanding and polite silence when faced with opinions I don’t agree with? Yes, having done so confidently in the past, and knowing this is who I am, that is what I would do. Therefore, I have committed to a grand personal experiment on social media: Rather than sharing blatantly anything and everything that strikes my fancy (and, understand, I already tend to be judicious in what I choose to share; I share those things that seem highly important to me — but it’s important only to me, without concern for others at the time; that’s the point), I have decided: I will only “share” that which I would personally say to anyone in my circle face-to-face. 

  • I will freely “Like” those things that strike my fancy, however. It’s my enthusiastic “nod of the head” of agreement.
  • I will “Share” those things that I personally would only say in public, in physical actuality, face-to-face.
  • I will not engage in heated back-and-forth commentary in the manner to which I have become accustomed in this faceless internet age. And if I do participate in discussions, I will only do so as I would if I were standing there with this person face-to-face: with love, patience, silence, and understanding.

To the internet’s credit, I have become much bolder in expressing myself, and for that I am grateful. But I have realized that I — and perhaps, we all, dare I say? — have gotten too comfortable in engaging each other’s ire from the comfort of hiding behind our smiling profile photos, from behind the safety of our own monitors in our own homes. I, for one, will aim to be more “realistic” in my engagement with others online. At the very least, I will be truer to myself, and in doing so, there is great Peace.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

–Jesus, Luke 6:31

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

–Proverbs 15:1

keep-calm-and-be-true-to-yourself-7

Peeling Back the Layers of Karma

Evolving_Our_Brain___LearnNow

…If we zoom into the neuronal circuits and clusters that make up the brain’s systems, we’ll find them laid out like the concentric layers of an onion, functional layer upon functional layer. This arrangement is the result of the relentless evolutionary push to continuously improve on an animal’s ability to navigate its complex and ever-changing environment. This onion reveals no preconceived design—far from it—but the unavoidably messy piling up of new over old structures, forced to work together for the common good.

The core of the onion: autonomous systems. Along the oldest, deepest layers… They are in charge of the most basic survival routines like swallowing, vomiting, heart beating and respiration, which are so indispensable that they run, for the most part, on autopilot. Accordingly, they are very hard, though not impossible, to modulate voluntarily. Our human species shares these circuits with fish and reptiles.

Next layer of the onion to grow: instinct… Vertebrates benefited tremendously from these pre-programmed circuits that expanded their behavioral repertoire and increased their fitness. Instincts mediate behaviors so crucial to survival that they are encoded as such in the genes themselves, hard-wired in the brain during an animal’s development and not changed by later experience…

Let’s examine the next layer: emotion. An amazing breakthrough happened in mammals, with the laying out of a new set of neural substrates capable of generating emotions. These paths grew together in a circuitry that occupies several brain regions… This collection of brain regions is often referred to as the limbic system, because like an arm (a limb), it surrounds in its embrace the more primitive survival and instinctual regions of the brain, affording us primates a whole new set of behavioral tools for interacting with the world. Accordingly, life became more interesting and vastly more complicated. For example, the instinctual drives to have sex and to run away from danger would be inextricably linked to powerful feelings of affection and fear, respectively. The influence that this new circuitry exerts over our decisions and behaviors is enormous. The neural substrates of emotions are strongly influenced by developmental factors. Perhaps because of its more recent origins, the emotional circuitry is even more flexible and responsive to external influeces than earlier circuits…

The outermost peel (aka, the neocortex) was overlaid atop an already crowded swarm of networks. In primates, it exploded into two huge hemispheres that completely enveloped the older parts of the brain. This new shell serves as the testing grounds for our still developing reasoning abilities. Because they are so recent, neocortical functions are the most flexible and sensitive to the impact of social and environmental experience. Since the neocortical outputs are closer to conscious experience, it is hard to recognize that the neocortex is constantly competing against earlier webs of well-established brain circuitry, and that its contribution to our motivations and actions are likely less than what we’d expect.

We humans are the flavorful mash-up of all these brain layers: we are automaton, instinctual, emotional and rational creatures. We are like magic onions, proud of our paper-thin skin but only vaguely aware of the thick and deeper layers of our brains. All of these different layers play critical roles in shaping our interactions with the world around us, even as they continue to search for more efficient ways of talking to each other; but, alas, this will take millions of years…

Ruben Baler, Ph.D.

Our brains are like Onions. :mrgreen:

Like the rings of a tree map out the details of its life and journey on the earth, our brains — even more complexly — consist of layer upon layer of, not merely the journey of our own life, but the journey of our entire species! How awesome is that?!

Is it any surprise, then, that we may experience the real effects of karma, originating from not only our own past but the past “lives” and experiences of our own species? I am an amazing “messy pile” of connections, built from my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s (and so on) experiences… My mind is predisposed to reacting to my environment based upon how my ancestors reacted to their environment — ancestors from as early as the “tiny, scrappy” primate tree-dwellers of 55 million years ago, to as recent as those inhabiting the 19th century…the 20th century… and so on…

If we were to imagine, for just an instant, that what we call the “soul” or “self” was nothing more than the end-result of all these messy connections of layer-upon-layer of experiences built into our brains — if we were to take Buddha’s original viewpoint of anatta, for just an instant — we could gain insight into this notion of karma as the existence of motivations arising within us from past lives. Built right inside of us from the moment we are conceived and developing in the womb!

Consider how many opportunities for miscommunication there are among our civilization — even within the borders of our own country, our own state, our own families, we all have difficulty communicating clearly to others at times. We all have a tendency to see events, words, phrases, through our own ingrained perceptions, which were handed down to us from generations ago and layered into our onion-skins of the brain. This may be considered a sort of karma — for do we not react based upon our perceptions?

The task of meditation, then, is to peel back the layers of the Great Onion of our minds. To simply see and acknowledge that we are more than these layers would have us believe — that is, we are more and we are less. To peel back the layers and examine what is beyond them is to give our brains a real and physical plasticity and fight back a certain rigor mortis of the neurological connections. Plasticity of the mind grants us clarity and peace, granting us freedom from the “karma” of our built-in connections… likewise, ensuring that we will continue to pass on the “good karma” of flexible connections and re-wiring to future generations, strengthening the survival of our species…

I considered, too, the mythology of the Divine Beloved (and my own beautiful Inner Dragon, Malachi). Getting to know our own mind through the use of imagery and ascribed personality can be extraordinarily helpful in increasing this plasticity and freedom. For, when I pray, if you will, to the Divine Beloved Malachi to take the effects of a certain karmic action or sensibility, from its point of origin until now, and I utterly release it to the Universe and do not look back upon it as a part of my life — in a very real sense, I am instructing my unconscious mind to examine and rewire itself concerning a certain action that was once built into the layers of my brain yet which is now found to be unhelpful.

In this sense, are we not helping along our own evolution?

What a tremendous wonder our brains are! What a miracle of complexity, and what encouragement for our species! If only that we all would take heed the words of the wise men who have gone before us (of Buddha, Jesus, and others) and examine ourselves. Yes, and feel free to acknowledge your own personal deities and angels; take advantage of the imagery they invoke to powerfully re-build the connections of our being and reshape our future!

Mind-Body Holism, Consciousness, and Reality

…Because this core dual structuring of the self was retained, many of the conundrums of Descartes’ philosophy have been retained as well, albeit recast in terms of the brain: Does the brain have direct contact with, and therefore reliable knowledge of, reality, or is our knowledge a ‘user illusion’? … [Noë] claims that neuroscience isn’t getting anywhere in explaining consciousness because it views consciousness of reality as a representation of the world created and manipulated by the brain. Noë attacks brain-body dualism in part by attacking this representationalism.

I believe this is one of the key points in the discussion of dualism versus mind-body holism. Dualism and representationalism share the idea of the true self being at one remove from physical reality, with the sensing body as both intermediary and barrier. Noë doesn’t examine this relationship in great detail, but he’s clearly aware of it. …brain activity is just part of an extended process that starts with the environment, involves the whole body and includes the brain. In this, the environment isn’t merely a source of stimulation, nor is it a model or representation built by and viewed by the brain. In Noë’s words, “the world is its own model.” To put it another way, the real object of perception is the physical environment, not some artifact of the brain/mind.

….I believe that Noë’s fundamental error is that he wants to hang on to the concept of mind. But what is mind except the thing that is conscious and initiates action? If you eliminate the notion of the little self inside the big self in favor of the person as a whole, the concept of mind doesn’t do any extra work, because we could just say that the person is aware and initiates action. All that would be left for the concept of mind to do would be to support useful metaphors (i.e. fictions), such as ‘I’ll keep it in mind’. Yet if you take the concept of mind more seriously than that, as Noë wants to, then it will begin to work its mischief anew. This is because it is a fuzzy concept. … Noë wants to break down mind-body/brain-body dualism, which is commendable. But in so doing, he verges on breaking down subject-object dualism: he wants to project mind out into the environment so our bodily-external tools become a part of us….

Still, I wouldn’t want to dismiss Noë’s extension of the mind completely. Perhaps without using the pernicious concept of mind, we could speak of different senses or extensions of the self. The core sense of self would be the living organism; in its environment, but distinct from it. The next sense of self would incorporate non-living parts of the self, such as the hair and nails. Here the cat’s whiskers serve as a biological analogy to the blind man’s cane. The third level of self would include our clothing and jewelery, which form part of our ‘person’. Fourth might be the tools we use naturally, such as a fork or a pencil and paper. One could take this further and include the things one identifies with, such as family and country – although such identifications are often problematic. Although there would be a solid notion of the person (conscious and bodily) as the primary sense of the self, we could be flexible about the boundaries for different uses of the word. I think this way of speaking would be more intuitive than super-sizing the mind. A framework along these lines would be flexible enough to handle tough cases: the amputee’s prosthetic limb is intimately part of his self insofar as it is strapped securely to him and responds to electrical stimulation from within him, unlike any other tool currently in use. At the same time, if the artificial limb were to be crushed, the amputee would not himself be hurt. The definition of self along these lines would be a fascinating thing to explore. I would not want to dismiss the idea that some sense of the self can be larger than the bare organism, especially given the way technology will surely extend the self in decades to come. But I believe it is essential to preserve the idea of the natural person, especially in the face of a Cartesian materialism which would divide and destroy it.

—© Kurt Keefner 2010, from “Out Of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain by Alva Noë; Kurt Keefner tells you why you can’t be only your brain.” at Philosophy Now Magazine

 

Vision science has for a few centuries now taken its start from the idea that what we see far exceeds what we receive in the form of sensory stimulation… The brain’s job, it is supposed, is to make up for this discrepancy…to compensate…

The question of vision science boils down to explaining how we can enjoy uniformly detailed, high resolution, brilliantly colored images of the world when, really, we see so very little…

Alva Noë, “Out of Our Heads” page 136.

 

As we contemplate the “Miracle of Sight” and the wonder with which our physical mechanisms make sense of the world around us, I was struck with Alva Noë’s words, appearing above — that sight is “affected,” or derives from the following examples of brain-altered discrepancies:

  • The inverted retinal image and the cyclopean character of vision
  • The uneven resolution of the eye
  • The unstable retinal image (i.e., saccades)
  • The blind spot
  • Obstructions, such as veins criss-crossing the eyeball; “bits of organic material float[ing] freely in the eye itself”; “Strangest of all, the retina itself is positioned backward; that is, the sensitive receptor itself is positioned behind the web of nerve fibers that ultimately join to form the optic nerve.” (Ibid. pg 134)
  • “A small object nearby can project the same pattern of retinal stimulation as a large object at a distance. All we are given, when we see, is the two-dimensional image… if we do in fact see spatial relations…we don’t do so directly. That information just isn’t there in what is given to us.”
  • Color (refer to my previous bare-bones understanding of Color Weirdness…) 🙂
  • Time — The nature of the established fact that what we are actually seeing is the past existence of the object in our vision, due to the nature of light carrying the information to our eyes and then the time it takes for the eye to make sense of the stimuli reaching it. At the extreme, think of the nature of the stars we observe in the night sky. We are seeing the stars as they were, not as they are now. The same is true on a much smaller scale in regard to everything we encounter around us.

It is due to these natural, biological elements “conspiring” against our seemingly flawless vision, that it is thought of our minds to be responsible for “filling in the gaps,” as it were; making up for the deficiencies and “fixing” our flawed input of information, making for perfected output of understanding. And that’s where we all wonder, how do our brains do it? Is what we see, then, a Grand Illusion, constructed by our brains filling in the gaps of what’s missing sensorily? Are we all just being deceived by our eyes? Is Believing, Seeing?

I had a most interesting inspiration while contemplating these thoughts… I fully accept that there is Reality within which we are fully integrated. We are All. We are Star-Stuff, birthed via eons of generations from the crudest life forms in the earth… We are a part of our environment, and it is us, as well. We all affect each other. And, I am absolutely fascinated with the nature of Perception, that we interpret and influence what we see and experience via our senses, based on, well, what our senses tell us, AND how we interpret those signals as they pass through the Ego-Filter! Then… based on those interpreted signals, we make choices and react… It is All, we are All, entirely cyclical and thoroughly integrated!

So, then, what of the concept that our brains must fill in missing information, as is considered with the Miracle of Sight? Consider this:

When did our brains ever decide there was anything missing that needed filling in, in the first place?

In other words, I posit that what we see as steady, for example, perhaps may not be steady at all, but because we all share the same experience, and it is all we know growing up, we interpret our “unstable retinal image” as steadiness and stability! Likewise, what if the world really is seen as “upside-down”? But we know not any differently, because to us, down would be up, and up would be down. We’ve grown up seeing and perceiving as we do, and this is our shared experience. Again… “It’s difficult to say how someone else sees color, because it’s so subjective. How do I know that what I see as red is what you see as red?” (from this article). Perhaps the stimuli creating the sensation of blue in my vision is creating a sensation of mauve in yours! As an extreme example, if the mauve-seer had grown up being told what he sees is called blue then how easy it is for us to agree, yes, we are both seeing this object as blue… when, oddly enough, perhaps it is not… But for each of our perceived Realities, both colors are called blue, and therefore, they are indeed Blue. But… what is Blue to you, may not be Blue to me… Yet, we could not possibly know this…

Spatial relations and three dimensions?… We call our experience three-dimensional… but at the heart of it all, this is a human contrivance, a way of labeling what we experience around us and comparing it to other experiences of lesser dimensional relations. We see, we experience, we feel, we touch and examine, and we say… three dimensions. I’ve read that it is the nature of our three-coned eye system that gives us the sensation of seeing in three dimensions…. Perhaps our reality in which we find ourselves is truly in multiple dimensions, but our biological systems can only perceive it as three, and with only certain color implications… But, again, this is all we know, this is our shared experience, this is our reality. This notion, too, however, doesn’t make our Reality any less Real!

It all comes down to the fact that we can only experience what we can experience. And we label it and study it, rightly so, trying to understand our environment and the greater universe around us. We are still very much intertwined with our environmental Reality, and we affect each other profoundly.

More on Vibrational Influences…

I did some more digging into the complexity of the biology and neuro-physiology behind the process of how we see and perceive color (and thus how we interpret not only the world around us, but how we might interpret and “allegorify” notions like the chakra color system). There is a phenomenal and enlightening chapter from David Hubel’s Eye, Brain, and Vision available for reading online and download, at the link. Following are some excerpts from Chapter 8, Color Vision, which I found to be pertinent for me in these contemplations of mine (For ease of understanding, I’ll post the Conclusion first, so you can see better where this complex information is headed; all emphases are my own; and be sure to see the final important statement at the end of this article….Everything we do depends on the brain!):

CONCLUSION
The subject of color vision illustrates so well the possibilities of understanding otherwise quite mysterious phenomena—the results of color mixing or the constancy of colors despite changes in the light source—by using a combination of psychophysical and neurophysiological methods. For all their complexity, the problems presented by color are probably simpler than those presented by form. Despite all the orientation-specific and end-stopped cells, we are still a long way from understanding our ability to recognize shapes, to distinguish shapes from their background, or to interpret three dimensions from the flat pictures presented to each of our eyes. To compare the modalities of color and form at all may itself be misleading: remember that differences in color at borders without any differences in luminous intensity, can lead to perception of shapes. Thus color, like black and white, is just one means by which shapes manifest themselves.
…..
The result of mixing paints is mainly a matter of physics; mixing light beams is mainly biology.
In thinking about color, it is useful to keep separate in our minds these different components: physics and biology. The physics that we need to know is limited to a few facts about light waves. The biology consists of psychophysics, a discipline concerned with examining our capabilities as instruments for detecting information from the outside world, and physiology, which examines the detecting instrument, our visual system, by looking inside it to learn how it works.

….Light is defined as what we can see. Our eyes can detect electromagnetic energy at wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometers. Most light reaching our eyes consists of a relatively even mixture of energy at different wavelengths and is loosely called white light. To assess the wavelength content of a beam of light we measure how much light energy it contains in each of a series of small intervals, for example, between 400 and 410 nanometers, between 410 and 420 nanometers, and so on, and then draw a graph of energy against wavelength. For light coming from the sun, the… shape of the curve is broad and smooth, with no very sudden ups or downs, just a gentle peak around 600 nanometers. Such a broad curve is typical for an incandescent source. The position of the peak depends on the source’s temperature: the graph for the sun has its peak around 600 nanometers; for a star hotter than our sun, it would have its peak displaced toward the shorter wavelengths—toward the blue end of the spectrum, or the left in the graph—indicating that a higher proportion of the light is of shorter wavelength…. If by some means we filter white light so as to remove everything but a narrow band of wavelengths, the resulting light is termed monochromatic.

The energy in a beam of light such as sunlight contains a broad distribution of wavelengths, from 400 or less to about 700 nanometers. The gentle peak is a function of the temperature of the source: the hotter the source the more the peak is displaced towards the blue, or short-wave-length, end. Monochromatic light is light whose energy is mostly at or near one wavelength. It can be produced with various kinds of filters, with a spectroscope containing a prism or a grating, or with a laser.

Most colored objects reflect light that is generally richer in some parts of the visible spectrum than in others. The distribution of wavelengths is much broader than that for monochromatic light, however.
What color we see, I should quickly add, is not simply a matter of wavelengths; it depends on wavelength content and on the properties of our visual system. It involves both physics and biology.

…The pigments in the three cone types have their peak absorptions at about 430, 530, and 560 nanometers, as shown in the graph below; the cones are consequently loosely called “blue”, “green”, and “red”, “loosely” because (1) the names refer to peak sensitivities (which in turn are related to ability toabsorb light) rather than to the way the pigments would appear if we were to look at them; (2) monochromatic lights whose wavelengths are 430, 530, and 560 nanometers are not blue, green, and red but violet, blue-green, and yellow-green; and (3) if we were to stimulate cones ofjust one type, we would see not blue, green, or red but probably violet, green, and yellowish-red instead.

….The three cones show broad sensitivity curves with much overlap, especially the red and the green cones. Light at 600 nanometers will evoke the greatest response from red cones, those peaking at 560 nanometers, but will likely evoke some response, even if weaker, from the other two cone types.
Thus the red-sensitive cone does not respond only to long-wavelength, or red, light; it just responds better. The same holds for the other two cones.

Color is the consequence of unequal stimulation of the three types of cones. Light with a broad spectral curve, as from the sun or a candle, will obviously stimulate all three kinds of cones, perhaps about equally, and the resulting sensation turns out to be lack of color, or “white”….

…To understand what is happening we need to know that the blue cellophane absorbs long-wavelength light, the yellows and reds, from the white and lets through the rest, which looks blue, and that the yellow filter absorbs mainly blue and lets through the rest, which looks yellow. The diagram on this page shows the spectral composition of the light each filter passes. Note that in both cases the light that gets through is far from monochromatic, the yellow light is not narrow-band spectral yellow but a mixture of spectral yellow and shorter wavelengths, greens, and longer wavelengths, oranges and reds. Similarly, the blue is spectral blue plus greens and violet. Why don’t we see more than just yellow or just blue? Yellow is the result of equal stimulation of the red and the green cones, with no stimulation of the blue cone; this stimulation can be accomplished with spectral yellow (monochromatic light at 580 nanometers) or with a broader smear of wavelengths, such as we typically get with pig- ments, as long as the breadth is not so great as to include short wavelengths and thereby stimulate the blue cone. Similarly, as far as our three cones are concerned, spectral blue light has about the same impact as blue plus green plus violet. Now, when we use the two filters, one in front of the other, what we get is what both filters let through, namely, just the greens. This is where the graphs shown on this page, for broad-band blue and yellow, overlap. The same thing happens with paints: yellow and blue paints together absorb everything in the light except greens, which are reflected. Note that if we used monochromatic yellow and blue filters in our experiment, putting one in front of the other would result in nothing getting through. The mixing works only because the colors produced by pigments have a broad spectral content.

… Presumably, some time in the distant past, a primordial visual pigment gave rise to rhodopsin, the blue pigment, and the common precursor of the red and green pigments. At a much more recent time the X-chromosome genes for the red and green pigments arose from this precursor by a process of duplication. Possibly this occurred after the time of separation of the African and South American continents, 30 to 40 million years ago, since old world primates all exhibit this duplication of cone pigment genes on the X-chromosome, whereas new world primates do not.

…We can think of Hering’s yellow-blue and red-green processes as separate channels in the nervous system, whose outputs can be represented as two meters, like old-fashioned voltmeters, with the indicator of one meter swinging to the left of zero to register yellow and to the right to register blue and the other meter doing the same for red versus green. The color of an object can then be described in terms of the two readings. Hering’s third antagonistic process (you can think of it as a third voltmeter) registered black versus white. He realized that black and gray are not produced simply by absence of light coming from an object or surface but arise when and only when the light from the object is less than the average of the light coming from the surrounding regions. White arises only when the surround is darker and when no hue is present. (I have already discussed this in Chapter 3, with examples such as the turned-off television set.) In Hering’s theory, the black-white process requires a spatial comparison, or subtraction of reflectances, whereas his yellow-blue and red-green processes represent something occurring in one particular place t in the visual field, without regard to the surrounds. (Hering was certainly aware that neighboring colors interact, but his color theory as enunciated in his latest work does not encompass those phenomena.) We have already seen that black versus white is indeed represented in the retina and brain by spatially opponent excitatory and inhibitory (on versus off) processes that are literally antagonistic.

….an object’s whiteness, blackness, or grayness depends on the light that the object reflects from some source, relative to the light reflected by the other objects in the scene…experiments showed convincingly that the sensation produced in one part of the visual field depends on the light coming from that place and on the light coming from everywhere else in the visual field….

Any color can thus be thought of as corresponding to a point in three-dimensional space whose coordinate axes are the three ratios, taken with red light, green light, and blue light…. to have color at all, we need to have variation in the wavelength content of light across the visual field. We require color borders for color, just as we require luminance borders for black and white. …differences across borders are necessary for color to be seen at all.

…If blob cells are involved in color constancy, they cannot be carrying out the computation exactly as Land first envisioned it, by making a separate comparison between a region and its surround for each of the cone wavebands. Instead ^ they would seem to be doing a Hering-like comparison: of red-greenness in one region with red-greenness in the surround, and the same for yellow-blueness and for intensity. But the two ways of handling color—r, g, and b on the one hand and b-w, r-g, and y-b on the other—are really equivalent. Color requires our specifying three variables; to any color there corresponds a triplet of numbers, and we can think of any color as occupying a point in three- dimensional space… …the blob cells making up the three classes are not like peas in pods but vary among themselves in the relative strengths of surrounds and centers, in their perfections in the balance between opponent colors, and in other characteristics, some still not understood. At the moment, we can only say that the physiology has a striking affinity with the psychophysics. You may ask why the brain should go to the trouble to plot color with these seemingly weird axes rather than with the more straightforward r, g, and b axes, the way the receptor layer of the retina does. Presumably, color vision was added in evolution to the colorless vision characteristic of lower mammals. For such animals, color space was one-dimensional, with all cone types (if the animal had more than one) pooled. When color vision evolved, two more axes were added to the one already present. It would make more sense to do that than to throw out the pooled system already present for black-white and then have to erect three new ones. When we adapt to the dark and are using only our rods, our vision becomes colorless and is again plotted along one axis, to which the rods evidently contribute. That would not be easy to do with r, g, and b axes… …Our tendency to think of color and form as separate aspects of perception thus has its counterpart in the physical segregation of blobs and nonblob regions in the primary visual cortex. Beyond the seriate cortex the segregation is perpetuated, in visual area 2 and even beyond that. We do not know where, or if, they combine.

Finally, too, an important word from the last thoughts at the end of the book:

We may soon have to face a different kind of problem: that of reconciling some of our most cherished and deep-seated beliefs with new knowledge of the brain. In 1983, the Church of Rome formally indicated its acceptance of the physics and cosmology Gallileo had promulgated 350 years earlier. Today our courts, politicians, and publishers are struggling with the same problem in teaching school children the, facts about evolution and molecular biology. If mind and soul are to neurobiology what sky and heaven are to astronomy and The Creation is to biology, then a third revolution in thought may be in the offing. We should not, however, smugly regard these as struggles between scientific wisdom and religious ignorance. If humans tend to cherish certain beliefs, it is only reasonable to suppose that our brains have evolved so as to favor that tendency—for reasons concerned with survival. To dismantle old beliefs or myths and replace them with scientific modes of thought should not and probably cannot be done hastily or by decree. But it seems to me that we will, in the end, have to modify our beliefs to make room for facts that our brains have enabled us to establish by experiment and deduction: the world is round; it goes around the sun; living things evolve; life can be explained in terms of fantastically complex molecules; and thought may some day be explained in terms of fantastically complex sets of neural connections.
The potential gains in understanding the brain include more than the cure and prevention of neurologic and psychiatric diseases. They go well beyond that, to fields like education. In educating, we are trying to influence the brain:
how could we fail to teach better, if we understood the thing we are trying to influence? Possible gains extend even to art, music, athletics, and social relationships. Everything we do depends on our brains.

Vibrational Influences and Physiological Interpretation

The concept of the Chakra Energy Centers is a concept of great fascination and enlightenment indeed. I am just about ready to post a full chakra-chart I’ve compiled from various sources of information and share what I love about the study and meditation of the chakras. But, in preparation, I’ve stumbled across some very meaningful studies I was eager to share first!

The importance and value of the seven main chakra centers stems from the concept of wave frequency and vibrational influences on each of the chakras, which in turn influence our lives and existence in each their own fashion. Interestingly, both types of vibrational forms (sound and light) are said to influence our beings, each related to the chakras’ purpose.

Specifically:

It is said that our body contains hundred of chakras that are the key to the operation of our being. These “spinning wheels” draw-in coded information from our surroundings. Coded information can be anything from a color vibration to ultra-violet ray to a radio or micro wave to another person’s aura. In essence our chakras receive the health of our environment, including the people we are in contact with (that’s why other people’s moods have an affect on us!). As well our chakras also radiate an energy of vibration.

It is also believed that we have seven main chakra centers and that each main center is connected to our being on several different levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. On the physical level each chakra governs a main organ or gland, which is then connected to other body parts that resonate the same frequency.

Every organ, gland and body system is connected to a chakra and each chakra is connected to a color vibrational frequency….

In the study of the anatomy of the aura it is important to understand the significance of the chakra system and the language of colors expressed in the aura. —www.chakraenergy.com

On the other hand:

Emotions and mental states also have their own optimum resonance and with the recognition that every organ, and every cell, absorbs and emits sound, we can therefore understand how specific sounds and frequencies can be used as powerful healing tools. —www.hypnosisaudio.com

Solfeggio-ChartThus, we all tend to lump sound waves and light/color waves into the same “chakral basket,” and understandably so. It makes sense, on the surface. A wave is a wave, right? But what I love about science are the moments it reminds us of what we learned once, and suddenly reveals a truth more complex and beautiful than what we may have first anticipated… This is what I experienced through my delving deeper into the concept of the vibrational influences of the chakras.

Firstly, the most fundamental problem with this automatic synthesizing of the two wave forms is that light waves and sound are simply and fundamentally different:

There are two main differences between sound waves and light waves. The first difference is in velocity. Sound waves travel through air at the speed of approximately 1,100 feet per second; light waves travel through air and empty space at a speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second.

(You’ll see this striking difference in numbers when I release the soon-coming chart I mentioned above….)

The second difference is that sound is composed of longitudinal waves (alternate compressions and expansions of matter) and light is composed of transverse waves in an electromagnetic field.

Although both are forms of wave motion, sound requires a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium; whereas light travels through empty space. The denser the medium, the greater the speed of sound. The opposite is true of light. Light travels approximately one-third slower in water than in air. Sound travels through all substances, but light cannot pass through opaque materials. —above quotes from…

Indeed:

…sound cannot travel through a vacuum. If there are no molecules to vibrate, then there will be no sound. Sound can only travel through a material… On the other hand, a light wave is not made of vibrating particles. It is a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields which can exist in a vacuum. —quoted from…

…But, here is from where the temptation to yet consider the two forms ultimately one-and-the-same stems….

Frequency affects both sound and light. A certain range of sound frequencies produces sensations that you can hear. A slow vibration (low frequency) in sound gives the sensation of a low note. A more rapid sound vibration (higher frequency) produces a higher note. Likewise, a certain range of light frequencies produces sensations that you can see. Violet light is produced at the high-frequency end of the

light spectrum, while red light is produced at the low-frequency end of the light spectrum. —quote from…

Here’s the kicker (for me, at least)! Biologically, our eyes and ears have evolved enormously differing processes in the handling and conceptualizations of these two (ultimately different) wave forms. Therefore, we find that, at even our most basic and intuitive level, we interpret color/light differently than sound.

Enjoy this lengthy snippet from two mind-blowing articles on the subject of wave comparison from MathPages; these quotes have really struck me!

….Arguably our physio-muscular imaginations can conceive of something cycling 200 times a second, but the frequencies of light are far outside any macroscopic physiological processes we can viscerally imagine. It’s also worth noting that while the frequency range of audible sound covers a factor of 1000, (about 10 octaves), the range of visible light covers only a factor of 2 (just one octave).

The differences between our mechanisms of perception of sight and sound are also quite striking. For example, although there is a rough analogy between the pitch of a sound wave and the color of a light wave (since both are related to the frequency of the wave), our perceptual mechanisms for discerning pitch and color are very different. Most people are capable of distinguishing two different accoustical tones, and deciding which of them has the higher frequency, but almost no one can hear an isolated tone and identify its absolute frequency in terms of the corresponding musical note. (This ability is called perfect absolute pitch, and is extremely rare, even among trained musicians). In contrast, nearly everyone has perfect “absolute pitch” for optical frequencies, in the sense that we can be shown a red object and identify it as red, without the need to compare it with any reference color. In other words, we aren’t limited to making comparative evaluations of light frequencies, we experience each color as an absolutely identifiable sensation, with no direction sensation of higher or lower light frequencies. If people are asked whether red has a higher or a lower frequency than blue, they probably don’t know (indeed they might guess red, because red seems like a “hotter” color), and yet they can very accurately recognize red and blue as absolute sensations.

….if we are very familiar with the sight of a red apple next to a green leaf in full daylight, and if we then view this scene in the orange glow of a sunset, both the apple and the leaf reflect different absolute spectra, but to some extent our visual processing infers the shift in illumination and compensates for it, so that we still perceive the apple as red and the leaf as green, even though their spectra at sunset are quite different from their spectra at noon. It’s tempting to make an analogy with how we recognize a familiar melody played in a different key, but in the case of color perception we are not shifting the whole frequencies, we are filtering out a common spectral component from all the elements of a scene.

…..Of course, it’s not strictly accurate to say that colors correspond to frequencies, because most perceived colors actually represent a continuous spectral density profile with non-zero energy over the entire range of visible frequencies, …for typical profiles [of] light that is perceived as the colors blue, green, and red.

These three colors constitute an effective basis for many other colors of visible light, meaning that many (though not all) other color sensations can be induced by some linear combination of these three. By superimposing all of them in equal amounts we get a spectral profile with energy distributed more or less uniformly over the whole visible spectrum, so it is perceived as white light. Other combinations give different color perceptions….

…the spectral density profiles we perceive as pure colors are not, in general, monochromatic. A monochromatic wave has all of its energy concentrated at just a single frequency and wavelength. (In practice it’s impossible to produce a perfectly monochromatic beam of light, but we can come very close.) The dominant wavelengths associated with common sources of blue, green, and red light are 430, 530, and 670 nanometers respectively. Monochromatic light of these frequencies induces the sensations of blue, green and red, even though they don’t have the full spectral densities of typical light with those colors. Moreover, experiments have shown that if we combine three monochromatic beams with those frequencies, the result is perceived as white, even though the energy is not uniformly distributed….. For example, the sensation of pure yellow can be matched by superimposing pure red and pure green, even though this superposition is not “actually” monochromatic yellow.

….the three types of cones are effectively “tuned” to respond to certain absolute frequencies. Thus the signals sent to the brain do not consist of raw amplitudes in time, nor even of frequencies, but simply of the degrees to which each of the three types of cones have been stimulated. As a result, although we have no sense of frequency of optical waves, we can recognize absolutely a range of frequencies (and mixtures) based on the excitation states of the S, M, and L cones. It follows that our sense of color is essentially three-dimensional, i.e., every color we perceive corresponds to some combination of three scalars, representing the degree to which each of the three types of cones is being excited.

…..Given the smallness of these wavelengths and the slight variations between one color and the next, it’s remarkable that the tuning works so well, and is so uniformly accurate over our central field of vision. (Color perception is much less accute in our periferal vision, where rods predominate over cones.) It has been reported that humans can distinguish wavelength differences as small as 0.2 nano-meters. How is it that “red” receptors in one region of our retinas are so perfectly correlated with “red” receptors in other regions of our retinas, and from one eye to the other? And how is it that this tuning remains stable and accurate for decades, and in all different temperatures? It seems clear that psychological compensation processes (like the process to compensate for different illuminants) must be involved.

If our ears contained just a few individual sensing elements, each tuned to one particular absolute frequency, we might all be able to recognize the absolute “color” of audible tones just as well as we can recognize absolute red. However, the ear needs to respond over a much larger range of frequencies, and the dimensionality of the “space” of audible sensation is much greater, i.e., we can distinguish a much greater variety of spectral characteristics of sound than we can of light. Roughly speaking, the coiled cochlea of the human ear has a varying elasticity along its length, so it can be regarded as a series of oscillators of different resonant frequencies, and these perform a fairly detailed spectral analysis of incoming sound waves, transmitting to the brain something a 3000 point spectral profile. The detailed mechanics of how the cochlea responds to stimuli are very complicated, and the study of this function is hampered by the fact that the mechanical properties change significantly if a cochlea is removed for study. Nevertheless, it seems clear that whereas the spectral analysis of optical stimuli has only three dimensions, the spectral analysis of aural stimuli has at least 3000 dimensions. It is not surprising that we (most of us) don’t memorize the absolute sensations associated with tones over ten octaves. Instead, perhaps for more efficient processing, we rely on relative memories of frequencies. The rarity of perfect absolute pitch may also be due partly to a greater variability in the resonance characteristics of our aural sense organs than of our optical sense organs, whose reception frequencies are determined by fundamental atomic absorption properties of certain specific molecules. In contrast, the frequencies of the cochlea are determined by the fluid pressure in the inner ear, and many other factors that could be sensitive to temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and so on.

The color sensation resulting from a combination of blue and red in equal measures is called magenta or purple. Not surprisingly, there is no such thing as monochromatic purple, because this color sensation results from the superposition of two frequencies at opposite ends of the visible spectrum. No single frequency will excite both the S cones and the L cones (except at very low levels), because the absorption spectra of those cones do not overlap very much. This accounts for our ability to conceive of a cycle of colors (a “color wheel”) even though the underlying phenomenon is a linear sequence of frequencies. If we naively believed colors mapped directly to frequencies, the existence of a cycle of colors would be paradoxical. The resolution of the paradox is that the “fictitious” color we call purple effectively “wraps around” from the high-frequency to the low-frequency end of the optical spectrum, enabling us to conceive of the color spectrum as a closed loop.

…..Just as we can conceive of a cycle of colors, there are also cycles with regard to accoustical pitch, but the basis for these cycles is completely different than for the cycle of colors. We do not have a fictitious pitch sensation (like an audible purple) to wrap around from the high to low end of the audible spectrum. If there were such a thing, we might conceive of a sonic wheel of tones….

Instead of this, sense of the “cycle” of audible tones is based on the harmonic relations modulo the octave. We associate each tone with its “equivalent” in other octaves. Since the range of audible frequencies covers ten octaves, each tone has ten audible “equivalents”. Placing the frequencies on a logarithmic basis, each octave is subdivided into the twelve tones of our traditional musical scale (so the frequency of each semi- tone differs from that of its neighbors by the factor 21/12), and then we place all the tones into equivalence classes modulo twelve (i.e., modulo one octave). It’s possible, by combining tones into a sequence of chords, to create the impression of an endlessly rising (or falling) loop. For example, there is a piano exercise consisting of a melodic line that leads naturally to a repetition of itself, but shifted four semi-tones higher in pitch….

It’s interesting that our optical senses cover almost exactly one octave, from 380 trillion Hz for the lowest red to 760 trillion Hz for the highest violet. If the color sensing elements in our eyes were analagous to strings with tensions and lengths tuned to certain frequencies, we might speculate that the red sensors would also have some propensity to absorb energy in the extreme blue/violet range, just as a string has a second energy mode at twice the base frequency. Of course, cones are not strings, but even in terms of the excitation levels of atoms we find simple arithemtic sequences of preferred energy levels, e.g., the Balmer and Lyman series for the absorption and emission frequencies of hydrogen atoms. However, these kinds of series do not generally favor frequencies rations of 2 to 1, so apparently the musical octave analogy is not valid for our sense of color. Nevertheless, it so happens that the “red” cones in our eyes actually do have a secondary response characteristic in the extreme blue end of the spectrum, which accounts for why violet is perceived to have a reddish tint…. This wrap-around characteristic of the red cones contributes to our sense of a cycle (rather than a linear sequence) of colors. —from…

The energy distribution as a function of frequency (i.e., the power spectral density) of a beam of light can be regarded as an infinite-dimensional vector, specified by the values of the density at each of infinitely many frequencies. In other words, we can associate the spectrum of any beam of light with a unique point in an infinite-dimensional space. However, from the standpoint of human vision, the space of visible light sensations is only three-dimensional, meaning that the visual perception of any beam of light can be characterized by just three numbers. One possible basis for characterizing a beam of light consists of the intensities of a matching combination of three primary colors (e.g., red, green, blue). Another possible basis consists of hue, saturation, and intensity. Regardless of which basis we choose, the space of visual sensation has just three dimensions, rather than infinitely many.

The reason our optical sensations have only three dimensions is that our eyes contain just three kinds of cones, each with a characteristic absorption spectrum….

Physically every color sensation discernable to the human eye can be produced by some combination of positive amounts of the pure spectral colors, i.e., the monochromatic lights corresponding to the curved locus RuGvB….

One interesting aspect of our sense of color is that although red is normally associated with the low end of the range of visible frequencies, the color violet (at the high end of the frequency range) has a reddish-blue appearance. This is because the predominantly low-frequency cones in our eyes also have some absorption at the very high frequencies.

This wrap-around effect may be due to the “octave effect”, because the longest visible wavelengths are about 760 nm (extreme red) and the shortest are about 380 nm (extreme blue), which is a ratio of exactly 2 to 1. Thus the first harmonic of the extreme red absorption cones is in the extreme blue frequency range, so it isn’t surprising that the red cones resonate slightly in response to violet light. —from…

So, our chakra color system is built upon a system of wave-convergence and that which represents “a continuous spectral density profile with non-zero energy over the entire range of visible frequencies”; versus sound waves, which are immensely more specific and precise. Again, this is reflected in the hugely different numbering systems in the measurements of each vibrational form.

Where does all this leave us?

Ultimately, it’s some really meaty food to mull over and reflect upon in relation to the value of the chakras. 🙂

Perhaps, as with many facets of our experience and being, the chakra system provides a mythological picture of the integrated harmony and fellowship of the mind and body and consciousness: its emotions and behavior and outlook, and how we can relate to them and their functions on a particle-level, so to speak.

Or, perhaps this will lead us to re-evaluate how we utilize the traditional understandings of the energy centers, by way of integrating and valuing the differences in, not only the sound and color vibrations themselves, but in how we are naturally built to receive and interpret them.

Food for thought!

Align the Universe Within

Some Carl Sagan wisdom (excerpts from “Cosmos“, in no particular order):

We are made of stellar ash. Our origin and evolution have been tied to distant cosmic events. The exploration of the cosmos is a voyage of self-discovery.

We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose.

And you are made of a hundred trillion cells. We are, each of us, a multitude.

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.

Some part of our being knows this is where we came from… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

The juxtaposition of mind and body vs. spirit is a topic that has been explored in many a myth and philosophical exercise across the ages. We all somehow sense that there is more to us than this mere physical body which we inhabit. Yet it is still an elusive mystery…

What can we say about the nature of who we are?

  • The Fundamental Forces
    The Fundamental Forces

    We are a “mini universe”, we are a multitude; in a sense, our ultimate Personal Consciousness is built upon the delicate balance of myriad other “lesser” consciousnesses, if you will. My cells, genes, every bodily function readily perceived and not, even operations on the quantum level upon which the operations of the entire Universe are based, are all directed, expressed, and controlled by various processes: such as the quantum-mechanical forces, DNA and RNA, energy cycles, and much, much more. Because of our amazing evolutionary legacy, this “mini-verse” of ours is able to operate at its current utmost via its own cyclical system of communication processes, without Me getting involved, aside from providing it the necessary fuel and energy sources it needs to continue normal operations.

  • Incidentally, this is why I so enjoy and resonate with the notion of the fractal multiverse; we ourselves — and all of nature around us — are a smaller version of the intricate interweaving of processes and structures that make up the larger cosmos we inhabit! All is unfolding and overlapping in fractal symmetry; Nature begets after its kind in ever-evolving improvement and adaptation to changing surroundings. The truth of these things is all around us to behold. All we have to do is observe and understand…
  • The evolution of the human brain is wondrous and revelatory!

    …moving from the simple to the complex over an extended period of time. The billions of cells that work together to make the brain and body function harmoniously have numerous critical functions. …the brain has adhered to Charles Darwin’s “natural selection” methodology by ridding itself of less important functions while enhancing the more essential ones over time.

    It is a fact that as man evolved, certain mutations took place within the nervous system that forced it to evolve in time with the body. …mutations in the nervous system were also forced to prove their might against environmental challenges.

    …as man’s ability to survive began to necessitate increasingly complex actions and reactions to his environment, the nervous system was also compelled to adapt accordingly. –(from The Evolution of the Human Brain)
    –>(Next segment from Consciousness In The Cosmos: Perspective of Mind: Carl Sagan):
    Sagan notes that in “the human intrauterine development we run through stages very much like fish, reptiles and nonprimate mammals before we become recognizably human.” And thus it is not surprising that we possess a corresponding “Triune Brain.” [Carl Sagan, THE DRAGONS OF EDEN: SPECULATIONS ON THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, Ballantine Books, 1977, p. 59.]

    The schematic of a human’s Triune Brain is as follows: * The Reptilian Complex * The Limbic System * The Neocortex

    Declaring that there is considerable evidence for the localization of brain function–as well as discussing in detail the electrochemical nature of brain function–Sagan lays the groundwork with his depth discussion of the Triune Brain.

    The Reptilian Complex is the site from which our propensity arises for “aggressive behavior, territoriality, and the establishment of social hierarchies.” The Reptilian Complex still performs dinosaur functions, according to Sagan. [Ibid, pp. 62-63.]

    The Limbic System is mammalian. It is the base for our emotions. Our passions, our altruistic behavior, spawn from the Limbic System– which also is devoted to oral, gustatory, and sexual functions.

    The Neocortex is our third, newly human brain in terms of evolution. “Among other functions, the frontal lobes seem to be connected with deliberation and the regulation of action; the parietal lobes, with spatial perception and the exchange of information between the brain and the rest of the body; the temporal lobes with a variety of complex perceptual taks; and the occipital lobes, with vision, the dominant sense in humans…” Sagan suggests, too, that the Neocortex is the locus for abstract thinking and nonverbal intuition. The Neocortex is what makes possible our judgments, what makes for the moral knowledge of good and evil. It is also the site from which our creativity emerges. And the Neocortex is home to our sense of self. [Ibid, p. 98.] (Bold-facing my own emphasis.)

  • Might we then say, that our myths and concepts of achieving Enlightenment have an actual basis in science and biology? I like to think so!

Consider this:

…Sagan draws upon the Platonic metaphor about the human soul as an uneasy charioteer drawn by two horses in different directions. He considers this metaphor as remarkably similar to our “neural chassis.” The two horses correspond to our Reptilian Complex and Limbic System, and the charioteer to our Neocortex–which is barely in control.
…It is, however, the Neocortex where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” It comprises more than two-thirds of our brain mass. The realm of intuition and critical analysis,–it is the Neocortex where we have our ideas and inspirations, where we read and write, where we compose music or do mathematics. Sagan puts it thus: “It is the distinction of our species, the seat of our humanity. Civilization is the product of the cerebral cortex.” [COSMOS, p. 229.]
–(Ibid.)

It is an observable and scientifically established truth that our physical bodies are directly integrated within itself — all parts function together in harmony (or are meant to, at least!) — and therefore our bodies and physical brain matter are also an integral part of our minds and personal consciousness. Part of the practice of meditation is to position ourselves in such a mindful manner as to begin to simply observe — apart from judgement or reaction — the various parts of Us.

…This is my Ego, telling me how I should interpret and react…

…This is a manifestation of Karma, an unmindful gut reaction based on memory and, consequently, judgement…

…Etc…

So, perhaps this age-old struggle of our mind, soul, body, and sprit, is, in fact, the age-old struggle of the older Reptilian and Mammalian remnants of our evolved brain with our higher functions of the Neocortex.

Naturally, all parts are thus far integrated and are all important to life as we know it, right now; we cannot function without all portions of our brains intact! Perhaps one day in the distant evolutionary future, however, our brains will have but reduced these former forms of brain structure to naught. It is the former animalistic propensities for violence, domination, leadership, and blind judgement that I see in current Culture Wars and instability across the nations and earth in our present days. If all would turn inward and Align the Universe Within themselves — find reconciliation between the lower and higher forms of thought, and embrace their Higher, True Selves of the Neocortex — then, I believe, this race of humanity may be able to survive and heal, and continue to evolve toward greater and greater planes of consciousness.

Carl Sagan holds hope for human intelligence, for our extension of Mind. We are still people from divergent and cultural backgrounds, yet our intelligence is beckoning us toward greater webs of global relationships. In due course, he hopes that we will simply be the “whole human community, the entire planet Earth.” And further, Sagan dreams of our comprehension that we are a “local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.” We have become “starstuff pondering the stars.” [Ibid, 286.] (Bold-facing is my own emphasis.)

Indeed, Carl Sagan has said that the evolution of our higher brain structure is an effort of freedom — a gift from the nature of evolution to liberate us from the necessity of merely storing information in our lower systems, liberating us from this limited universe of operation in our environment and enabling us to create and evaluate… in a sense, “helping” evolution along. But if we do not align ourselves within, will we allow the lower forms of brain function to control the tools and gifts our neocortex has bestowed upon us — more than likely bringing destruction upon ourselves? I sincerely hope we will awaken to our amazing legacy and heritage as inhabitants of the planet Earth, and work together in peace toward our unfathomable destiny!

What is up with The All?

The Father is singular while being many. For he is first and he is unique, though without being solitary. How else could he be a father?…That singular one who is the only Father is in fact like a tree that has a trunk, branches, and fruit…The only Father and God in the true sense, therefore, is the one who has been born by no one, but who, on the contrary, has given birth to the All and has brought it into being. (from The Tripartate Tractate, Part One; The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg.62.)

According to one angle of my multifaceted and ever-growing understanding of the Gnostic myths of creation and the nature of our universe, the Father is the All; all is the Father.

…the aeons existed eternally in the Father’s Thought, and he was like a thought and a place for them…he is a spring that is not diminished by the water flowing from it. (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg.65.)

The Aeons, being “like a drop from a spring, like a blossom from a vine” (Ibid. pg 66) are, in this sense, parts of the Father. Another gnostic text reads that the Father procreated with Forethought (Pronoia) to give birth to the aeons. Likewise, does it not state in the book of Proverbs chapter 8:22-31, Wisdom says:

Adonai made me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works. 23 I was appointed before the world, before the start, before the earth’s beginnings… 27 When he established the heavens, I was there. When he drew the horizon’s circle on the deep, 28 when he set the skies above in place… 30 I was with him as someone he could trust. For me, every day was pure delight, as I played in his presence all the time, 31 playing everywhere on his earth, and delighting to be with humankind.

The Aeons are, in this sense then, as if they are fragments of the entirety of the Father. Alone, they are only a portion of the whole being; but, together, they are Entire. And, in all this, the Father is not diminished in himself, and always has more of himself to give.

The Aeons, therefore, are also able to procreate and, in a sense, “fragment” themselves — the Tripartate Tractate (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, pg. 67) describes it thusly: “…just as the marvels of silence are eternal births–births of mind–so also the faculties of the word are spiritual emissions…in the same manner that the Father exists, so do those who have issued from him also bring forth all that they wish…by mutual help, for they have been helping one another in the same way as those unborn.”

Now, without going into too much further detail (for the Nag Hammadi texts seem to explore the events of creation in increasing complexity as they unfold), essentially, it is by the “youngest aeon’s” attempt to procreate while in deficiency in regard to her knowledge of the existence and fullness of the Father that gave birth to an aeon or being without soul — as an “aborted fetus” (as texts such as On the Origin of the World, Ibid pg. 199, describe this being). This deficient aeon, then, presumed that none existed before him — that he alone simply popped into being! — and proceeded to procreate (as was ingrained in his very nature) and create a material system or universe after the nature of his own deficiency. And thereby darkness, jealousy, fear, and the like were woven into the very fabric of what we see.

This all can seem very mystical and magical!

But, what can one take from these concepts? If the nature of Myth as Allegory is to paint the greater picture of what we are and where we belong (and so forth), then what do these notions passed down to us from our ancient forefathers tell us about ourselves?

For me:

  • The Universe (whether physically or metaphorically speaking, it doesn’t really matter), is of a nature that procreates according to its very fabric of being.
  • The Aeons are all reflections of the Father, and we (being offspring of the Aeons’ thought) are also reflections of the Father.
  • We are all a part of The All.
  • We are all a part of each other.
  • We are all different, see the world differently from each other, yet we are all facets and parts and fragments of the All.
  • Therefore, we are all important to each other, and interconnected one to another.
  • Spiritually, psychologically, we can derive strength from this view. The All is in us, and we are in it. When we meditate and ground ourselves, we connect with this All-Consciousness. We are not alone, and we are not lost or blind when we are connected.

Let us walk with mutual respect, open-mindedness, and trust in this All-Consciousness to guide and brighten our paths!

Encountering Human Nature

As you move through your day today, you will undoubtedly encounter fellow human beings. And how will you feel, respond, react… when fellow humans interact with you, especially if the encounter is negative?

Remember:
Responsible = Able to Respond.
React = Re – Acting (acting out, mimicking) what you see and/or hear from the other person.

You alone are responsible for your feelings and how you choose to act upon them. But don’t fret– this is, in fact, good news! Because, through practice, observance, patience, and meditation, you can decide and shape your inner conditions, to make way for peace in your life!

So, today, will you simply mimic and blindly throw back what the other person is confronting you with? Or will you pause, get grounded, and take Responsibility?

Make it a beautiful day! You have all the resources and power you need within you to make it so.

Our Optical Delusion

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest: a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

–Albert Einstein

very wise words…