Today I started a new blog. It can be found at https://ideasfromoutsidetheboxes.WordPress.com
As the name suggests, it can be about anything.
I hope you will take a look.
Today I started a new blog. It can be found at https://ideasfromoutsidetheboxes.WordPress.com
As the name suggests, it can be about anything.
I hope you will take a look.
Today I am spiritually exhausted. There is no fight for life in me anymore. It seems nobody wants a different way to look at life. I am not religious–there is no need nor room in my cosmos for a superior/supreme being of any kind, no one who controls the universe, no one who could control the universe. I am not a believer in science–though science is a decent tool to use for as long as it works. But it is not a perfect tool, because it is as blind as religion. We creatures who walk or do not walk this earth, we living beings are the best we can hope for right now. I believe there is a future, that life will continue to evolve, and one day whatever life exists in that future will look back at us and laugh their asses off, if they still have asses. We are nothing but bumbling boobs unable to fight our way out of the amniotic sac we were born in, or out of the scientific sac we placed ourselves in.
I have a vision of a better world, of a better way of life, of a better way of being! But it seems there are very few others who want that too.
A number of posts ago I ventured out of my spiritualist niche to try to discover something that could use the distant past to offer us a way to a new look at the future. I failed. Two posts ago I ventured even farther out of my niche to try to look at economic conditions in our present world and offer a new way to look at them. Again, nobody wants them. Nobody wants to hear them. There aren’t reality! Damn straight they aren’t reality! But, I thought, nobody wants that reality. Well, I was wrong. That’s all people want, the reality they already have, not a reality they maybe could have in the future.
Well, it is time for me to shut up my mouth and go away. Oh, I won’t leave the WordPress.com bubble, I’ll hang around like the spirit I am, but no more posts. No more writing what almost nobody else wants to hear.
So enjoy your realities, folks. Poof!
Today, after two days of almost constant travel, I am physically exhausted. The old body just doesn’t have the energy anymore that it once did.
Today, after being beat around the head and shoulders for having tried to imagine a new way to live, I am mentally exhausted. No, I am downright depressed. I didn’t expect to change the world, I just wanted to give people an idea that the world could be changed. Well, for all the talk of wanting something better, I hear nothing but this is the way it is and it is what we know so let’s keep it because we are scared to try anything else! You have convinced me to stop trying. I give up.
I came to the idea of the credit card being a huge cause of wealth inequity basically on my own. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the hording of great amounts of wealth to the detriment of those without wealth began to get out of control in about the 1950s. I stand by that. But taking a nosedive into the history of money gave me another angle to look at, and that apparently began in Britain in 1931:
The gold standard is not currently used by any government. Britain stopped using the gold standard in 1931 and the U.S. followed suit in 1933 and abandoned the remnants of the system in 1973. The gold standard was completely replaced by fiat money, a term to describe currency that is used because of a government’s order, or fiat, that the currency must be accepted as a means of payment.
Fiat means an arbitrary decree of a governing body. When the gold standard was abolished, and fiat money took over, control of the amount of money that could be printed was lost. The value of money has always been arbitrary, but using a given amount of gold meant it had an understandable value. Money represented an established amount of gold. This is no longer true.
So, with there being an unlimited supply of money, based simply on how long it took to print or coin money, wealth became a game, and only a select few were allowed to play it. And play it, playing with money, is what they did. Then add in the completely uncontrollable idea of credit, with its concomitant interest charges, and money did not even have to be printed to be, in any degree, real. As I said last post, money became just numbers on paper, and then just numbers in a computer program. There is now more money existing only inside computers than there is printed or coined money. When we buy on credit, our only limit is how much credit someone allows us to use. Add on interest paid to use that non-existent money, and we end up paying more money than the already profit-driven value of the product that we bought is worth.
There is more debt in this world than there is money to pay for it!
This brings me to the first step of Conscience Capitalism, and that is to begin to level the playing field. In our present economic cultures, the field of play is tilted at such an extremely sharp angle, metaphorically around 88 degrees–2 degrees off vertical, that most of us here at the lower end will never be able to climb up to the higher end. And this is done intentionally by those people who are already at the top. We are trodden down so the wealth owners always have work-slaves to create even more wealth for them–wealth they cannot ever use.
How to begin to level the playing field? Call me crazy, call me daft, call me anything you like, but Step One is to abolish all debt. Legislate it right out of existence. We cannot afford to repay it, and the wealthy have no need for us to repay it. Debt is doing no one any good, so get rid of it. And, if the politicians refuse to serve the people in this way, force them to do it. Run our credit up as high as we are allowed, and then we inundate the court system with bankruptcy claims. Grind the economy to a halt. There are 8 billion of us, and maybe a million or so of them. If we stop paying our debts, they cannot stop us! They will not even be able to arrest us, because there will be no wealth police to try. Wealthy people have no idea how to do their own dirty work. There will be no value in it.
Just to be clear, when I say abolish all debt, I am not just talking personal debt, but all public debt too. Our governments all owe money to someone (exactly who is unclear!). We call this the deficit. Remember, it is not us the poor workers who create this debt, it is the wealthy who spend their money on our behalf! What a load of bullshit! What they are doing is holding us interest-hostage. The largest amount of our tax dollars goes to pay the interest on the money our governments owe. But who gets these interest payments? Certainly not us. We are the public debtors, on top of our own already impossible-to-repay personal debts. And this is where our tax dollars go. Not the tax dollars of the wealthy, because they are given tax reductions on top of loopholes on top of books cooked to hide the income the wealthy are actually taking out of the economy, while telling us they are putting their money into our economy.
The greatest crime there is against us work-slaves is not just holding us down, but charging us interest compounded on interest compounded on interest to keep us down. The money charged for using money is more than any government can afford. And the myth that governments are trying to reduce the public debt to zero is just so much poppycock. The more a government owes, the wealthier the already too wealthy become. So, all debt, personal and public, must be eradicated without prejudice. Thus the playing field begins to level out.
That is just Step One. More will follow.
There has been a lot of talk lately about many issues facing our way of life, and a lot of people are asking, “What can we do? How do we change things?” Poverty, homelessness, unaffordable health care, climate change, depletion of natural resources. Pollution so bad our oceans are dying, our water is becoming undrinkable, and our air is becoming unbreathable. We are killing ourselves, and we are killing our planet. Looking at the big picture, we are killing life! What good is anything, especially money, if there is no one to spend that money–if there is no one alive to live here? So, having heard these pleas for help, I started to ask myself, what ideas could I come up with? Can I offer anything to this world so we don’t commit lifeicide? My answer is, maybe…
But before I get into my ideas, I feel the need to state I am not an economist, not in any way, shape, or form. In fact, what I am is a spiritual explorer, a label I have recently given myself, on top of others I gave myself at varying times throughout my life. I study life, not from without, but from within. I am the me scientist. I have only one field of study, me. I have only one test subject, me. And I am my best student. Anything that does not come from within me is just outside interference. I can only know it is real if I find it in me. And it is by knowing me I have come to know life, all life, and where I learned to care about all life. If I can help anyone, big or small, many, or few, or just one, then it is my responsibility to do so.
So, having set my parameters, or lack thereof, I would like to offer the world what I call conscience capitalism. Or, capitalism with a conscience. Why? Because, inside me, I care.
Why do we need conscience capitalism, whatever that is? I am speaking here mainly to the industrialized nations of this world, where capitalism in any form is the dominant way of life. As it happens, I use the word dominant in more than one way: capitalism dominates the nations that use it, but capitalism also dominates almost every nation on earth through having most of the power in the world. We do have socialist nations, and communist nations, and even communal nations, or some kind of mixtures or hybrids of the main four economic/geopolitical systems, but one thing is clear: Capitalists have created such fear in the hearts of the workers-for-wages they rely on to support their capitalism that the workers fear losing their ways of life should any other economic system be tried. It does not matter that this fear is unfounded, or built on false premises, or even false promises! It matters only the fear is there! And therefore we must work with it, and around it.
But how do we, the workers, work with what has come to be called the 1%? All of the wealth in all the capitalist nations in the world is owned by just 1% of the population of the world. Karl Marx tried to warn the workers of the world over 150 years ago this was going to happen. Unfortunately, he did warn the capitalists of the world of what might happen if the workers of the world decided to do something about the 1%. Their response, accomplished much faster than the workers could respond, was to create a deep, unjustifiable, and unreasonable fear of the system Marx and his buddy Friedrich Engels called communism, which Marx and Engels devised as an alternative to capitalism.
The result is, almost everyone in the industrialized world has an inbred fear of anything that is not capitalism, especially socialism and communism. Just listen to the Republicans in the USA today. Democrats are socialists out to destroy democracy. They might as well be communists. And look how many people believe them. How many people voted to let Trump, a Republican, continue destroying the democracy he claimed to want to save. AMERICA cannot afford to lose their democracy. And democracy seems for too many to mean capitalism. So, therefore, the best way to save capitslism is to work with the capitalists.
But, at present, capitalism is running amuck. Once upon a time it paid lipservice to the idea prices will be determined by what consumers will be willing to pay for a product, and by competition, consumers will demand better products by purchasing higher quality products. If ever that were true, it is not anymore. What happened to change those ideas, or should I call them ideals? I don’t think there is one simple answer to that question, and there is not just one answer, but I am going to give you one big answer, and that is credit cards.
There was a time when workers/consumers had to save their money up to buy things they needed. This created a capitalist cycle that looked something like: an owner of wealth or ideas to create wealth would employ workers to create things, said workers being paid a certain amount of money in return for their labour. The workers would then use their money to purchase the things they produced, as well as food, shelter, and all the necessities of life. But, the price of those goods was not based solely on the value that would be determined as the cost of production, there were two other factors, interest on the money used to invest in creating the means of production, meaning that money was another form of worker and had to get paid for working, and profit, which was an arbitrary amount paid to the wealth owner for allowing people to earn money from him. So, the cycle ran with money going from its owner to the workers who paid more to consume than they were paid to produce. This profit in turn is paid to the owner for risking his money in the first place. The controlling factor was that there was only so much money available, and so there had to be some caution given to what to do with that amount of money. And the workers, having only so much money, did have some influence on price and quality.
No more! When the idea of letting people use credit cards to purchase goods they were paid to produce arrived, the wheels came off the machine. Credit started as just a short-term form of non-money. People were very leery about credit cards, buying things on credit, buying only as much as they believed they could afford to pay at the end of each period of time. But that was the generation who grew up having what they called respect for money. They did not believe in spending too much more than they earned in that particular length of time. One problem was, though, the wealth owners started to pay the workers wages of less value, while at the same time asking them to produce products of lower quality. The words planned obdolescence entered into the language–goods made to last only so long so that consumers would have to purchase more of the same goods over and over. This helped lead to wealth inequality, the buying power experienced by the rich as compared to the buying power of the workers. To put it bluntly, there was no comparison.
But the children of those earlier wage-workers looked at credit differently than their parents did: Why wait till tomorrow to purchase something you could purchase right now, and enjoy right now, rather than waiting to buy only that amount equivalent to what you could earn right now? With that concept came the idea: Buy now. Pay later! And suddenly, there was more money around than what was the value of the available money. The money did not exist, except in bookkeeping records that soon turned into computer records. But the idea of the money did. When the wealth owners saw that, their eyes bugged out of their heads! Here were oceans of non-existent money that could not only earn high percentages of interest, but also previously unheard of rates of profit. And they knew the workers would hardly notice, most of them were incapable of high finance. In fact, not only would consumers pay ridiculous prices for the goods they wanted right now, but also the consumers would willingly pay ridiculous interest charges on their credit cards for the right to have instant gratification. Profit rates and interest rates soared. As we all know, the rich became richer, the poor became poorer, and the wealth inequality divide grew, and grew, and grew.
But there is a cost for all these things. There is always a cost. The question is, who is going to pay it?
Right now, capitalism has no conscience. The wealth owners, for the most part, care very little for the workers, and even less for those incapable of working, no matter what the reason. They take, and take, and take, and give little of value in return. The worst part is, what they take they do nothing with. They play games with their fellow wealth owners to see who can own the most wealth. They are numbers on a scoreboard, numbers that do nothing worth anything. That is what has to change. That is what must change.
Money that just sits there, doing nothing but earning interest, can be considered dead money. It is not working for anyone but its owner. It is not helping the wage-workers, nor the poor, nor even the government. The more the wealthy take, the less taxes they are willing to pay, the less money they are willing to pay to charities that benefit the greatest number of people. The less they pay, the more the wage-workers need to pay. This only benefits the rich.
So, once again I say, capitalism needs to grow a conscience. And it needs to grow one soon.
Lately I have come across more than a few comments that have made me think about my own spiritual past, and I see where had someone let me know something, my life may have been better, sooner.
The first thing is that no one told me it was okay to not believe in superior or supreme beings–the Abrahamic God, for instance. God was presented as a real being, no doubt whatsoever he existed. The only question was to believe in him or not, which meant heaven or hell. I wanted to choose hell, it was better than my life, but my fear level was far too high. Had someone told me it was okay to not believe, that heaven and hell were just bullying tactics–in nicer words, of course–I could have saved myself from years of terror, and stress. Stress shows up in me as disease. Maybe I would have been healthier, physically and mentally, a whole lot sooner.
But that is not the main purpose of this post. Maybe prior to, but getting serious attention in the later 60s and ever since, was the question, Who am I? What that really meant was, what kind of person am I? Do I want to be that kind of person? How can I change if I want to? The ultimate search for self!
In a way this sounds like a simple thing to do. But if you have ever asked these questions seriously, the answers are not so simple to find. Why not?
My main position is a cultural one. When we want to learn something, we are taught to look for answers outside of ourselves. Our whole education system is built on the fact that others know more than we do. We call these people experts, and we are taught to consult them when we want to know something. It was bad enough in my generation: you had a question, you asked someone, or you went to the library and looked it up in a book, or journal. The general sense was, if you could find it in print it was believable. Seeing is believing is one of the oldest adages foist upon us as children. Only, anyone could say anything in a book, and get away with it. As children we are not told that. In school, books held all the knowledge in the world. Nowadays, books have changed into the Internet. Yes, we still have books, can still buy books, but most of them exist on the Internet. We can find anything on the Internet–including lies, conspiracy theories, graphic pornography–even love–whatever you want you can find.
Except, you cannot find out anything real about you. There are no experts on the Internet about you. Oh, there are those who will pretend to be! They will tell us they understand all about the human body, about the human mind, even about the human spirit. You can probably find a million and more websites explaining life, the universe, and everything. But you can find not one website about you, unless you built it. So, if you want to learn about yourself, where do you go. I want to tell you, it is okay to seek answers about yourself from yourself. Think about it. If there is one expert in this world, in this universe, on you, it can only be you!
But you are doing the seeking, how can you give yourself answers you don’t know. If I may, because I found this out by looking for me, the answers about you are inside you. The main question is, when you think you see something about yourself, will you believe yourself? Is there any reason not to?
Okay, so I have given you a place to look, but how do you do that? How can you, the seeker, become you, the observer? I cannot tell you what will work for you. Everyone is an individual, nothing works for everyone. But I can tell you what worked for me. Maybe something similar will work for you.
I had to figure this out for myself, so there was no uniform process, no step-by-step organized method. Approaches came, approaches went. Some stayed. My first breakthrough was realising I could observe myself living my life. The best way I can desctibe that is creating a watcher me, like a person with a video camera recording my life. I was constantly asking myself, what am I doing, and why am I doing that. Probably you are all familiar with the cartoons of a person with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. That is the best analogy I can think of. Except, on the one shoulder was the guy recording my life, and on the other shoulder was a guy narrating my life, and wondering what was driving me to make the choices I was making. I was doing the living, don’t get me wrong, I was still the star, the lead character. Everything was about me, and how I conducted myself in my relationships with people and/or other living things, and/or just other things. The more I did this the more I was able to do it in real time, and then surprise, I started doing it a split second in advance of doing whatever the living me was doing. Why am I going to tell her I love her when I don’t? Or, why am I not telling her I love her when I do? Why am I about to lie to this person (to avoid being responsible for something I know I did). Or, why don’t I want someone to know the truth about me?
The questions didn’t start out to be so serious, but they quickly became that way. It just made sense. After all, I wanted to know who I was, who I wanted to be! If I could not ask myself the big questions, who could? Who else would? No, I had to not only ask big questions, but I also had to provide honest answers. And that was the hardest part.
My childhood was not easy, let me just say that. I learned to avoid situations that would result in harm to me, either physically or mentally. I learned to lie to avoid punishment. (Whether I deserved it or not does not matter.) And I learned how to be nice even when I wanted to strike out. To be seen when what I really wanted was to be heard. I learned how not to be myself, to suppress myself. That was the worst discovery I made. I was not being me!
I still had no idea who I was, but I was learning who I was not, and that turned out to be as important as who I was.
I hope you get the picture. I could rattle on about discovering myself, but I’ve already talked enough about me. I would rather talk about you. The first thing you might want to learn is how to observe yourself, how to split one into two, in a good healthy way. Later you can split yourself even more, but the two is probably a necessity. And I think, I do not know this will work for everyone but it worked for me, my way was asking the why questions as quickly as I could after doing something I did not always understand why I was doing it in the first place. At first I waited till I was by myself to do this. I compartmentalized things for later introspection, but in the time in-between I found I was losing or missing the nuances, the little things that caused me to make the choices I was making. Maybe you can do this more successfully than me, and good for you if you can. But be careful you are not lieing to yourself to make things seem different than they are. Be honest with yourself, but also be gentle. Don’t chastise yourself, always remember to love yourself.
And respect yourself.
Hopefully, if you don’t already have some kind of process of your own, and you want to learn more about yourself, you can develop a method for yourself, similar or disimilar to what I did. Truly, I don’t care how you do it. But I hope you will want to do this, discover yourself. And I hope you will learn to look inside, not outside, because that is where the real answers already exist. They just need to be discovered.
What is the best possible result? For me, it was getting to know me, and to love me. When it comes right down to the nitty gritty, I have to be my own best friend. I will always be with myself, beside myself, inside myself! I am going to be with me the whole of my life. I find it best to be a person I want to be around.
If you have questions, please feel free to ask them. I will, as always, answer all questions as honestly as I know how. I have nothing to hide. If I can help you accomplish getting you to know yourself, I will. If you want my email address, you can have it, to keep things private.
Good luck, and good self-searching.
It is time to come clean. When I started A Look Back, At the Beginning of Life, and through the Sum posts, I thought I had a definite goal in mind. I’ve talked about it before, but not as in depth as I want to discuss it now.
Ever since my NDEs I have felt the spirit of life inside me, an actual though unknowable something I can only call life, or spirit. I have no other words for it. Sure, I went through life knowing I was alive, but my understanding of alive changed. It became real, as it were a being all to itself. If I had to commit to anything, I might say life has a personality. But that would be so wrong. I might try the word consciousness, but that isn’t right either. Maybe, just maybe, I could say life has beingness, but what would that even mean. Life, for me, is so much more than us just being alive, it is everything about being alive.
What life is not is God, or a god, or any kind of super-superior-supreme being. It is a kernel of being, like what you might imagine the spirit of an individual cell to be. Tiny, obscure, barely able to sustain itself, except that it has no need of sustenance. It is. End of thought. And while it may be, probably is, capable of intelligence, that intelligence is not what we think of as intelligent. If anything, it is, or has the potential, of intelligence, but of a kind so far beyond the intelligence of earthly beings as to be unimaginable to said intelligent beings as we.
Yeah, I know I am not making much sense, my mind is just not capable of imagining such a being, and yet I know I can sense its presence within me, and within you, and within every living being on this earth, and anywhere else life is occurring in our cosmos. Yeah, it is like religious people talk about their God being everywhere, but as I already said, life is not God! It has no ulterior motives, needs no worship or adoration, no need to be supreme in any way. It has no ego! I guess that is what I am trying to say. LIFE HAS NO EGO! Life has no ego…
But life is still something we all have, and share. That is why I wanted to go back to the very beginning, the primordial soup which seems to be the origin of life as we know it, some 4.5 billion years ago. I have always felt that living beings did not always have the spirit of life in them. Life was around before living beings, but was separate from them for a time. Somehow, I thought life came to be aware of living beings, and sensed that living beings could lead it to self-awareness. But that would mean it already had to be self-aware, wouldn’t it? Going back to the dawn of life-on-earth, I hoped, would help me see some point at which living beings gained life, the spirit of life, the force that is life. But it has not!
It seems to me, after writing these posts, and probably 20 or more different drafts of this post, that my task is beyond me. I have feelings, but I do not have words. I can imagine, but I cannot see. I can sense, but life is unsensible. I know it, but I cannot share it.
This saddens me in a way. My brain is horrible at languages! English is the worst possible language in which to try to discuss things beyond reality. But it is the only language I have, and that frustrates me to no end. I have failed. I have failed me. I have failed you. And I have failed life itself.
But failure is merely a roadblock. I will try again.
The title of this post, 1+1 (+ n) = One? is a formula that came into my mind while agonizing over how to describe what I want to say. Maybe to a mathematician out there it may have actual meaning. To me it is just an expression of my frustration. The first 1 is life. The plus sign is the connector. The second 1 is the first living being, a one-celled organism of the simplest kind. The opening bracket is a distinguisher, the passage of time. The second plus sign stands for physical evolution, the advance of one-celled organisms to organisms with more than one cell, working together to produce a more efficient being. The n symbolises the fact living beings can have any number of cells of many different kinds, doing many different tasks, and numbering every number between 1 and the largest number possible for the number of cells in a living organism. The closing bracket is now, the point in time, ever-changing, when life is being actively observed by living beings, if they have the senses to observe with. The equal sign denotes that a change has taken place. Individual things have joined together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. Then there is the one, or the ONE, that is what life, working together, has become, living being mixed with life yet being joined in a way that all life is just one life. There is no doubt all life, wherever it exists, in whatever form it exists, is directly connected to all other forms of life.
Lastly comes the ?, the question mark, the wonderment. Is this possible? Is life possible? If life is, then is there a purpose to it? Or is it just a thing that is born and then dies for no other reason than that the biology works that way.
Life, living, probably started out as one cell that somehow managed to reproduce itself. From there it evolved into all the beautiful and ugly but nonetheless hugely plentiful life that exists on this earth in so many different forms, varieties, species, and even us humans. To me, life cannot not have purpose. We have a drive inside us to improve, to advance. It is not given to us by anything, unless that thing is ourselves. That drive existed in the first mitosis that took place in the primordial soup, and it is still with us today. It appears it will always be with us, as long as there is life somewhere in our cosmos.
And though I have failed in my task to reveal where life became a living being, I hope I have succeeded at least in some way to inspire even one someone somewhere to at some time take up the search to find where life came from, so we can learn where life is going, at least in our imaginations….
Somewhere in the present
Lies a vision of the future
Understood from the past
In the eternity
The end, for now…
I just woke up with a question in my head: Are we really satisfied being the people we seem to be born to be? I cannot answer this question for anyone but me: No! I am not!
This is not the question I wanted to ask when I started this series of posts, in fact I was not intending to write more than one post. But as I explained to a blogger friend of mine, when I start to write something, anything, I really do not know what I am going to write. I have an idea, or maybe I should say an idea comes to me, and I let it grow from there. My typing finger starts hitting keys, and I watch as words form on the screen. Some people might call that automatic writing, but I do not. I just call it being a conduit for my spirit to talk to me. While I do publish, Word Press style, these writings where others can read them, I do that not to teach anyone anything. To me, as I have said in a previous post, trying to teach someone something is a crime against their humanity, as well as an insult to their being. No one knows what it is someone else needs to learn. Oh, you can teach someone how to talk, how to write, how to do mathematics, those are the tools of human communication, we need those to function in a society, to function as a society. But beyond that, trying to teach others who they are, or what they are, is something no one can know for anyone else. I do not know what you need to be you!
However, that does not stop me from telling you how I came to be me. And I came to be me, not by listening to others, but by learning to be the person it makes me happy to be. By looking inside myself, at myself, I came to understand I did not always like the person I found myself to be. At that time I realized I had a decision to make: I could go on being that person anyway, or I could change myself to be someone I could not only love, but someone I like. I have to live with myself for the entire extent of my life, therefore only I can be my best friend, so why would I want to be friends with someone I don’t always like? It makes more sense to me to be someone I want to spend my whole life with.
Hopefully I am not telling you anything new, things that you have not already learned for yourself, but that did not come automatically to me. As a child, I had no idea I could be anyone but me. I was still discovering who I was, and I just took it for granted the person I was was me, and I could not change. As it was, as I was, I did not question myself. I absorbed being from all the people around me. I did not consider myself as someone I had to be around, I was already me. No, the people I was around most were my family, and I learned who I was by seeing myself through other people’s eyes. If you know anything about my history, which I make no pretense to hide, you know I grew up as a physically and mentally abused child. Nowadays I can see that I was also spiritually abused, but at that time I had no idea I even had a spirit. Me was just me. And me was told everyday of my life that I was useless, worthless, and a total failure by my dear loving sperm donor that told me he was my father. What the hell kind of a father does that to his own child? My father did it to eight of my siblings also. He would have done it to all ten of his offspring, but my little brother was born with Down Syndrome, which he blamed my mother for, and the poor kid was already worse off than my father could possibly make him. But this is not about Donny, or even about my father, it is about me. Everything is about me, right, like your life is all about you. Don’t bother answering that, it is not a real question; it is merely a figure of speech. Reality is I grew up seeing myself as my father told me I was, useless, worthless, and a total failure. Something had to change, or I would have had to kill myself. I had no value, why bother living?
But something inside said I had to have value, why else was I even born?
So I went in search of that something, and, again, if you know me, I believe I found myself, inside of myself! (And the only reason I use the word believe is because some of my readers do not believe there is a self to be found. As far as I am concerned I not only have a self, but that self is now me!) Further, this self I know is not a function of my ego, but a demonstration of my spirit (which has nothing to do with demons, lol).
But what is spirit?
The search for spirit is one of the reasons for this whole series of posts, starting from A Look Back, At The Start of Life. I want to discover whether, as some people believe, spirit, or soul as they call it, is a function of the human race, or a function of all life. If the first life on earth, the cells which are the building blocks of all life on earth, have spirit, then all life on earth has spirit. However, if all life does not have spirit, if the earliest life on earth does not have spirit, where did it come from, and at what point did it enter into the lives of living beings?
If you are a skeptic, you will see my obvious assumption, that there is a quality about us that can be called spirit. Not everyone believes there is. But, as I said, I have found my spirit inside of me, and therefore knowing how to recognize it, I have seen spirit in many other people around me. Spirit manifests in people as caring, or what some people might call empathy–the ability to see someone from their point-of-view as well as from our own point-of-view, the ability to feel their pain and suffering without filtering it through the filtering systems we have developed to see ourselves, accepting that others are not us, but still very much in relationship with us. The corollary question for me is, do we feel empathy only for our fellow humans, or do we feel empathy for all living beings? And can non-human beings feel empathy for us, and others?
This looks like a good resting point. A time for those who want to consider these questions for themselves, if they, you, want to consider them. Probably not everyone will.
Till next time…
LOOKING FORWARD FROM BACK THEN
Last blog I took you back to the beginning of life on earth. I will not speculate on whether it was the beginning of life in the universe. As improbable as that sounds, anything is possible… Well, almost anything…
Back at the beginning, when the first cell was splitting for the very first time, what was happening? Are we going to assume that the first living cell made a conscious decision to live beyond its upcoming death by cloning itself. As ridiculous as that sounds, again, anything is possible. The thing is, the first cell did clone itself, and immortality began. One split led to another split led to another split. These splits are still happening today, billions of years later. What is it that drives a cell to go on surviving, motivating it to reproduce itself over and over and over. Look at our own bodies. Yes, we start by the joining of a sperm with an ova, but then what happens. The cell thus formed reverts back to its time-immemorable task of splitting itself to create another cell, and those two cells splitting to make two more cells, then those four cells splitting to make to make eight cells. Somewhere along the line, an order comes from our DNA, I guess you could say, and instead of one cell reproducing itself exactly, it changes itself and splits into a new kind of cell, say, for argument’s sake, a fuel-consuming cell. Consuming fuels immediately requires yet another type of cell, a waste-eliminating cell. Now, suddenly, we need a fourth type of cell, an energy-transporting cell. You can see where I am going with this, I hope. I am describing the growth of a multi-billion, or maybe even multi-trillion, celled being, possibly even a human being–starting from one cell. But as of yet, neither you or I cannot know what type of being is growing out of that first combined sperm+ova cell. A kitten, a baby whale, or a baby human, the what does not matter in this discussion. For matters most, for me, is the how, and the why. And even the how is just a curiosity for scientific study. The why cannot be explained by science, other than to say our DNA requires the cells thus growing to become a certain species of being, related, of course, to its parentage. But really, that is the story of how. Nothing in our understanding of life can give us the why of life.
But let’s try, and it is here my own mind is engaged in two opposite, and not necessarily connected processes. One, the drive to survive. This feature of life, I don’t know that it was a motivating factor or not in the original cell-splitting event, but likely the more the cell reproduced itself the more it wanted to go on reproducing itself until it became a drive to survive. And this drive led to the first mutation of a cell–an attempt to find an even better way to survive. First, I would argue, a different cell, a cell that could last longer than its predecessors. Later, symbiotic cells, or possibly parasitic cells. (Here, a discussion of virions might be helpful, so if you don’t know about virions I hope you will take a quick look.) Whatever the reason, cells started working together, which made for longer-living cells–specifically longer-surviving cells.
Is that a how or a why? The primordial soup is beginning to get fuzzy. That was process one. Process two is from a different point-of-view, the idea that there is an unseeable factor affecting this survival process. That factor is life, the idea or condition that there is more to cells than we can learn about through science, the existence of life spirit. Here I suspect, if I were standing beside or behind you as you read this, is where I would start to hear you laugh. I know some of you will be, but I expect that. Life for you is the process of living, not an actual spiritual condition, or addition. But remember, we are working on the assumption that anything is possible. For me, not only is life a possibility, it too is a probability. The drive to purpose, the drive to be different, the drive to be better than one was previously. I do not see any drive, except survival, coming from a cell all by itself, and even survival might be a stretch.
But enter life, a condition totally unrelated to physical or material processes, and things start to make sense. Well, at least they do to me. Atoms and their building blocks are not capable of wanting to survive, they are what they are and nothing more. No matter how many electrons, protons, or nucleons make up a thing, it is still a thing. It is not capable of any movement except that caused by physical forces such as gravity or centrifugal force. Yet, these proto-motivations, if I may call them that, are real, just not in a physical sense, but in a life sense, or–my words–a spiritual sense.
What that means to me, even if to no one else, is cosmic, to say the least. And the purpose of this post was to introduce the concept of spirituality to those who don’t know much it, or who may have never even considered it.
And for now I will leave this concept here, and to allow you, if you are so inclined, to wonder what the hell I am even talking about. Hopefully, that discussion will come soon.
I am not a scientist, not even close. But I learned a bit about science in school, and a bit more in university. But I am not even as much as an expert. Especially I am not a biologist. I have never taken any course in biology. But I am an expert in my own spirituality, this I have studied for over 50 years now, since my mind was first opened to the possibility religion, in particular Abrahamic religions, had gotten it all wrong. Two things in particular were very problematic to me. One was the idea that there was an all-loving superbeing who could willy-nilly judge living beings of not being adequate to join him in his heavenly home, and thus condemning them to a life of eternal suffering. What love is that? Two, that this same superbeing created everything in existence, yet in the book he supposedly wrote, knew nothing beyond the land of the Levant, being what we now call the middle eastern part of our world. Does that make any sense? Not in my mind it did not! So I went in search of what seemed true to me. What has this to do with science, in particular biology? A bit more patience please.
Whether this post will be of any real value to anyone is not up to me. I am just the blogger. But I would like to say it was more or less inspired by my fellow WordPress.com blogger, The Common Athiest, a man named Jim. I first met Jim by reading a post of his about life being nothing more than the result of a functioning brain, a completely physical process. That I disagreed with him goes without saying, I am what I call a Spiritual Atheist, and that requires a spiritual component to life. But the ideas behind his words had some weird connection to my own ideas, so I set out to explore them. After all, the seat of my consciousness, and probably yours, seems to sit in our heads, so probably in our brains. That part made sense. But Jim wanted mental life to be nothing more than chemical reactions happening inside our brains, though he never delved into how particular chemicals got into our brains, or how they combined is just the right amounts to make us think we can think. But ignore that as unimportant. The main thing I could not accept was there is no spiritual component to chemical reactions, and if there is one thing I know, without doubt, there is a spiritual component to me. And as I am a living being, functioning in this world, I have to believe there are others in the world who also have a spiritual component to them. Please note, I said living beings, not just human beings. As far as I can tell, all life is connected. Human beings, which are but a tiny part of all life on Earth, are just part of the whole of life. Nothing special about us, though we love to see ourselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder.
Oops, there is that word, evolution. The bane of Abrahamic religions. Their bible teaches that their God created the universe, full blown and heavily populated with all kinds of life, about 6000 or so years ago. Complete with fossils showing the evolutionary paths life took to culminate in our human species. That was quite an amazing feat, but since the ways of God are unknowable, but he knows everything there is to know, he obviously seeded the world with said fossils to lead us astray, a deliberate trap like so many other deliberate traps he set to catch those of his chosen people to test whether they truly believed in him or not. And, no offence intended, if you truly believe an all-loving god could use such trickery to keep his creations from joining him in heaven, then something has gone wrong with those chemical reactions that are going on in your brain.
But, what do all those fossils really tell us? They tell us that life has proceeded in some haphazard fashion from original one-celled beings of ancient pre-history to the multi-trillion-celled beings who inhabit our world today alongside beings of all number and form of cells going back all the way to the original one-celled beings who started the process off some 3.5 to 4.5 billion revolutions of the earth around the sun we humans call years ago. And this is the time period I would like to look back at, using scientific descriptions, but as seen through the vision of my spirituality, for it indeed does go back that far in time.
Not being a scientist, I needs trust what they tell me fossil records show, because I know fossils exist, and that we think we can understand at least some of them. And humans have found enough of them to be able to tell a story about life. It is, of course, not a complete story, but it is a story worth telling. Our scientists have tried their best to fill in the blanks, and have, I think, done a credible job of it. But these fossils, these pre-historical records, are kind of like Jim, The Common Atheist. All they can see are physical records. By the very nature of spirituality not being a physical or material thing, it cannot be recorded physically. Yet I think the records are there, if only you know how to read them. I dabble at trying to read them.
These records exist, not physically, but spiritually, in the memories of the cells that are decended from the cells that lived in those early times. Impossible, you say? Think about it. How do cells reproduce? They do not use sexual methods to reproduce, they use cell-splitting. They reproduce by dividing their tiny bodies in half over and over and over again, and have been doing so for longer than we can conceive of in our petty little minds. But what does that really mean to those one-celled beings who exist today, or will exist tomorrow? It means that their memories, however we humans want to think about them, still have that within them that was there at the beginning. Mitosis, I think the scientists call it, is the splitting of one into two. This does not involve change, as would a human baby have genetic material from it’s parents but with changes that set it apart from those parents, but an exact replica of the material found in the very first cell that ever replicated itself. The exact same material. Think about it. No changes, completely unaffected by evolutionary processes, unaffected by time. Immortality, if one is willing to go so far, if one is willing to look with open eyes, and an open mind.
So, the one-celled beings that exist in the world today are exact replicas of the very first one that managed somehow to replicate itself all those billons of years ago. I cannot prove this of course, maybe there were many one-celled beings who managed to do this at close to the same time, but to put this into a different perspective, there are scientists who believe all humans are descended from one mother who started the whole human evolutionary chain. I will not agree or disagree with this theory, because the possibility is logical.
But looking at one-celled beings, this theory is not only possible, but probable. Somewhere, at some time, there was a FIRST LIFE, and life, I do mean all life, on Earth at least, is descended from that first life. And that fact means all life is connected, in some way, and that is what I call spirituality.
There is more to be said, I think, but for now I think this is the goal of this post, to put the idea out there, we truly are all related.
Thank you, if you managed to read this far. Please feel free to comment.