Monthly Archives: August 2011

Getting Your Team into the Zone

The Zone or Flow State is something we all have observed in other people such as supreme athletes or musicians in moments of peak performance — people doing something extremely difficult and doing it perfectly — it seems like magic or even a miracle — we are riveted, transfixed, watching it happen.

Science has begun to acknowledge that this state is real and measurable. Master Marvin Chun who heads Yale’s Neuroscience Department notes that what appears to be chatter crossing the corpus callosum between left and right brain dies down with the onset of the Zone. This is just one notable example of scientific measurements of the Zone in recent years.

In The Theory of The Conscious Universe (TTOTCU), the Zone is the state in which information leaks in from outside the local self; as if the membrane separating you from the rest of the universe has suddenly become semi-permeable. We postulate that the heroic personages recorded by history who have moved us in the direction of more noble ideals were in the Zone when these ideas hit them, as were the great scientists who intuited amazing truths about reality. The Kabala uses a diagram of consciousness called The Tree of Life in which there is a dotted circle representing the Zone where one receives information in an extrasensory manner — “inspiration” as if breathing in information. This sphere is called Da’at or Da’ath. In fact the word Kabala means “to receive” and “the received”.

In an earlier post we postulated a theory of what we call Holosentience, which speculates that the Zone occurs when all parts of the brain and mind* are working together as a single unit, like a finely tuned orchestra. This contrasts in our theory of Holosentience with the everyday state of consciousness I call Emergency Oversimplification Procedure or EOP, in which a part of the brain and mind, a sub-sentience, operates as if it is the whole sentience. This sub-sentience has been called the ego. I see it as the software layer of the brain, which is built up of proteins into neuron clusters mostly in the early years of life. Experiences drive this buildup and in this way unassimilated memories become unassimilated motivations. Under the regime of Acceleritis — information overload generated by the type of culture we have become — EOP is now our dominant coping style.

EOP keeps us out of the Zone. The way from EOP into the Zone starts with the Observer state, an interim state in which we detach from identification with the voices of ego in our head, our thoughts, while remaining aware of these voices or thoughts for what they are — ingrained robotic reflexes. The Observer state combined with practicing an activity we love leads to the Zone. Emotional distraction by the ego’s excessive desire to win, or the ego’s fear of failure, is the final barrier to the Zone — that is, when our practice and training has reached the point where the Zone is physically within reach of our skills.

In To Have and Have Not, Hemingway’s protagonist Harry Morgan ultimately concludes that “one man alone… ain’t got no chance.” This has never been truer than it is today with the accelerating information overload totally out of control as we head toward a precipice of seemingly impossible economic challenge, miniaturization and increasing availability of weapons of mass destruction, carcinogenic environmental conditions, and spiritual bankruptcy. The world more than ever needs for people to be able to work together as high performing teams. And so the headline of this post, Getting Your Team into the Zone — even more important than getting yourself into the Zone because one person alone in the Zone might not be able to make enough of a difference. We need critical mass.

So how do we do it? How do we evoke Zone performance in a whole team, of which no single person is ever in total control, even if he/she is technically “the boss”? You dear reader are probably the boss of your team while you and your team are a part of your boss’s team — a common situation in corporate life. How do you get your own team into the Zone, and then how does your team get the larger team of which it is a part into the Zone?

Obviously you don’t expect this to be a one-trick answer. We are all too sophisticated to believe it could be that simple, or we’d all be there already. It isn’t simple, it’s incredibly complicated. But one can extract simple principles that work, and enough of these simple principles put into practice will produce a high performing team.

Let’s start in this post with one of the most mission critical principles. It’s about negativity.

Negativity is counterproductive to team Zone performance because it spills time and energy. The Zone is a state of ultimate efficiency and so anything wasteful is guaranteed to block the Zone. Explain it to your team this way: negativity gets in the way of solving whatever it is that has caused the negativity. Take negativity as an alarm that tells us we need to define the problem clearly, generate creative solution ideas, make decisions on an action path, and take that action. Negativity is just stalling that whole process and wasting time — which is no way to create team high performance.

The thing about negativity is that it does not emanate from the whole brain and mind. Negativity comes from the sub-sentience. It is a well-worn reflex. When confronted with a threat, the holosentience reacts with an optimal response to that threat, if the person is in the Zone. If the person is in EOP, the sub-sentience reflex is fear that may be compounded with a sense of helplessness, doom, defeatism, self-loathing, anger, frustration  and other overlays, triggered by a cascade of energy lighting up interlocking neuron clusters. The negativity of these feelings is typically communicated to those in the vicinity including animals even if only by body language and the pheromones in perspiration. These micro clues of negativity further reduce the likelihood of an effective real world response to whatever the challenge is, by encouraging foes and undermining the support of potential allies.

Teams can engage in frequent training sessions to talk about the value of becoming high performing members of high performing teams, and ways to get there. Bringing in outside speakers helps overcome the inertia and subconsciously gives “permission” for sudden change to be realistically possible. The word “training” may or may not be used; some people feel that once they are adults there is something insulting and/or embarrassing about the word. Maybe call them Zone sessions to keep the goal in mind and remove the connotations of “training”.

Team members are directed to deploy negativity detectors within their mind at all times. When a person detects the auto-negativity, he/she should be able to remain in the Observer state by not siding with the negativity, not making it one’s own, but rather seeing it as a bodily reaction, an old habit pattern, and something that can be risen above into a state closer to the Zone (the Observer state being the access path to the Zone).

Now, something must be done with that negative energy in order to transmute it into something else, otherwise it is more difficult to overcome the feeling in oneself. Remaining the Observer one can look at the negativity in a new way, gaining insight into oneself and others, and creating conditions conducive to new solution approaches. Why am I being negative? What haven’t I tried yet? What is the goal? What are the obstacles? What causes each obstacle? Analysis is the place to channel the negativity.

Anything can be described as a game. And people and animals love games. By making more things gamelike, the possibilities for making a high performing team out of a demoralized griping bunch of cynics become realistic. Consider it a game to make negativity off limits in one’s own mind. You can’t initially stop the negative impulses from arising but you can get better and faster at judoing those impulses into opportunities for analysis and creativity.

You might hear yourself groaning inwardly in a meeting in which so-and-so repeats his endless habit of blaming everyone else for something. Quickly gain control of your inner self and do not identify with your inward groan but attribute it to a robotic reflex of certain neuron clusters. Okay thanks, neuron cluster, you did your job, like an alarm clock, painting a certain event as a clue that something needs fixing — in this case it is something that you never took it on yourself to fix because let’s face it, your chances of changing so-and-so seem pretty slim, so like everyone else you’ve just lived with it. Maybe that has always been a cowardly reaction that you’ve shared with everyone else. So maybe today is the day to start to consider the right action instead of dodging it.

That doesn’t mean impulsively jumping in and trying the first thing that comes to mind, although sometimes that works. It might be better to use the energy to run some simulations in your mind of what you could say and how it might be received. As long as you know you have successfully rechanneled the negativity and you are on the case with some fresh ideas as to how to help so-and-so out of his blaming mode, you needn’t rush into action in that same meeting. Just keep processing the action ideas until the time feels right and you are yourself feeling centered in a moderate frame of mind and in the Observer state without negativity or ego attachment — then you can flow with the moment and put out a new thought that might help so-and-so break his old negativity habit of the blame game.

If the team knows that high performance is the goal, this helps everyone look at things in a new way: it is more gamelike, more intriguing, it isn’t the same old.

The first two principles to move your team toward the Zone therefore are to set the goal, and to reveal the trick of rechanneling negativity inside yourself. More principles of high performing team creation in posts to come.

Click here for a relevant sample from our book FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS.

Best to all,

Bill  

*In TTOTCU, the brain is the energy emanated by the Original mind, wound into matter, and our experience transcends dependence on the brain as we are a part of Original mind (and the whole of its experience of selfness). In modern day materialism, the mind is an energy field emanated by the brain. In ultra-behaviorism, the mind is an impotent epiphenomenon of the brain, making believe it is calling the shots but is really just along for the ride.

One of the Greatest Mind Stretchers

      1. Before Abraham - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

Every now and then I am tapped to give a workshop to a group of sufficient strategic importance that I cannot refuse. Although I am there to tell them about THEI (the Human Effectiveness Institute), they usually tell me they have sought me out to start them off in some far-reaching planning cycle by simply helping them to first stretch their minds. They see me as a provoker of out-of-the-box thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunities this perception provides to disseminate THEI techniques conducive to higher performance.

In recent posts we have been stretching our minds by considering the possibility that the original spark of consciousness in the Universe is what each of us experiences as our own sense of self. In the preceding post we offered a sample from our book to leverage this stretching into the removal of biases in our thought patterns and in the language we use based on the hidden assumption that matter is the supreme substance of the universe.

These biases come from our senses, which detect matter through the medium of energy interactions between our matter molecules and those of other matter molecules. In recent posts we have also worked to counteract these biases by focusing on the fact that it is only our consciousness, our sense of self, our experiencing of information that we detect directly, and can therefore say we “know”. Our sensory information comes to us through abstract hookups and translations of one thing into another, i.e. coded information that can be presented any number of ways. We do not “know” through our eyes as well as we know that we exist as a self even in a sensory deprivation tank.

These biases are magnified by Acceleritis, the accelerating information overload that has outstripped our processing capacity except when we successfully use psychotechnology — the output of THEI and others practiced in the art, notably the advanced yogis, classic philosophers, religion founders, the writers of the literature of sages, and the synthesizers of this material via their esoteric schools such as Arica, Insight Meditation, Freemasons, et al. All of these people have tried to condense and pass along psychotechnology techniques conducive to shifting an individual’s consciousness into flow state, aka the Zone; this too is THEI’s raison d’etre.

In this post we will pass along one of the most mind stretching and mind bending exercises, one that must have existed before written language, because some of the very first things ever written down related to this exercise.

Except that those who first thunk it, and those who wind up thinking about it today, do not see it as an exercise, but rather as a stream of thought that suddenly turns a weird corner. Here’s how it happens. I promise you your mind will be stretched. How you use the extra limbering is up to you — we hope you will leverage it for something important to you.

It starts with thinking about the universe — whatever the individual knows or feels intuitively about the universe — stars, galaxies, the Big Bang. The next thought is usually “What was there before the Big Bang?”

This thought in itself is a mind stretcher. The imagination fires up a few cylinders and takes a crack at coming up with an answer. Before reading further we suggest you mentally go off by yourself and see what answer(s) your mind comes up with for the question “What was there before the Big Bang?”

 

Hope you enjoyed that. Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Relativity have today evolved to having a point of view about the answer to this question. Today the perspective is that fluctuations in quantum possibility caused the Big Bang. That presupposes that quantum possibility existed all along but in a state of equilibrium until these supposed fluctuations took place without a cause i.e. randomly, which raises the question “What created the quantum possibility?” Not to mention “What the heck is quantum possibility?”

In fact quantum possibility is simply the old metaphysical concept of “possibility” with the word “quantum” in front of it to make it sound scientifically respectable.

The ancient saying “Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes” reflects the human intuition that there is no free lunch. It also means that something cannot come out of nothing, because that would just mean the something was there in the nothing all along, but hiding.

So it is also possible that the universe could have in the beginning been simple nothingness, without even quantum foam, today’s term for the aether i.e. the spatiotemporal matrix as it exists before you count anything that is in it. In fact, isn’t it much more logical that nothing should have ever existed? After all, where would something have come from?

The human intuition is biased toward including time in every picture — time which QM says does not actually exist out of the context of an observer’s consciousness — and is therefore not a constant something in itself but is different for different observers. Yet we insist on intuiting with time in the picture. This makes us think “There must have been some beginning, but what was there before that, and what started time?”

The other way of thinking, without the bias toward including time, is that everything is already in every state it will ever be in, at once, i.e. all of time is condensed into a single frame in the consciousness of the universe. Thus there was no beginning, no something coming out of nothing, because what has always existed is this single master consciousness, existing in its own view within a single instant of its own time.

This could be Its motivation in creating its little selves like us who can scoot around in a series of instants and have a rollercoaster ride unlike any other route through the game that any other created little self has ever traveled before. Thus there can be an infinity of experienced information within the one instant.

Going back to the time-based way of thinking, if there ever had been Nothing, could anything have come out of it? An emergent characteristic of the Nothing?

If Possibility is a real thing then Possibility could have co-existed with the Nothing, because Possibility is not a something, it is just a possibility of a something. But are these mere words without real referents, i.e. for things that actually exist?

“Nothing should ever have existed” is a permanent perception of one part of my mind, the part that thinks in terms of there being a beginning — which most of me doubts. It is comforting that we do not know everything, yet some day we might learn the real answers to these incredibly important questions in understanding who and what we are.

Nothing should ever have existed — that’s like saying “They gave a universe and nobody came.” It just seems improbable that anything could exist since how could the universe start out in any condition other than Nothingness? Nothingness seems to have to be the rest state — the starting condition — doesn’t it?

Thinking this way the ancient Kabalists saw the universe being formed in three steps:

  1. Ain — Nothingness
  2. Ain Soph — the Nothingness becomes self-aware forming a singularity in space (first Kether)
  3. Ain Soph Aur — endless light begins to stream from the singularity in space

I wrote a book for my grandson Nicholas David called The Nothing’s Imagination based on this premise: the active cause for the bootstrap operation by which Nothing gave birth to Everything was the imagination of the conscious Nothingness.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little mind stretching contemplation of the virtual beginning of everything. If your mind feels different, please do something creative and fulfilling right now, or as soon as you can.

From now on we will start each post by stating the intended benefit of the psychotechnology in that post, as we did here.

Best to all,

Bill

 

Who Are You Really?

Why does it matter what your true identity is? Because if, for example, you are an accident in an accidental universe, better to act 100% in your own self-interest at all times than if, say, you are actually the universe itself, in which case 100% of your actions should be for the good of the universe, because you and everybody else will wind up winning biggest that way.

As in all these posts, although it may seem as if we are talking about matters of interest only to philosophers, scientists and intellectuals, in fact we are talking about action decisions each of us must make from second to second throughout our lives — and how to make the most effective decisions for your own later satisfaction.

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make in our culture, as a result of Acceleritis — the information overload condition created by the written language/media revolution of the past 6000 years (an eyeblink since homo sapiens first appeared) — is the implicit assumption that the larger philosophical questions as to who we are and why we are here, the meaning of life, are irrelevant on a personal level. Instead we grind away as unthinking slaves to the assumed requirements imposed by the culture. This is true even if we style ourselves as being highly individualistic. We remain slaves to conditioning until we realize that it’s always been about the basic questions, and by putting them aside we have dwarfed our very being.

Many of you have sent me comments outside of the public commentary channel below, and/or phoned to talk about these posts, and a few of you have collared me in person to respond to one thought or another. One of my genius friends who happens to be an atheist gave me an idea. It seems that atheists (I used to be one myself) like the rest of us understandably associate certain words with certain images and so on, so that when I use initial caps, or use the word “God”, or in other ways tie The Theory of the Conscious Universe (TTOTCU) to the teachings of religions, I make it impossible for TTOTCU to get a fair hearing from my atheist friends.

Therefore in the interest of allowing all readers to evaluate TTOTCU on its own merits without distracting connotations, we will begin to skip the religious references except where essential to some actionable point. Instead let’s consider TTOTCU as if the idea of there being one universal consciousness has nothing to do with religion or with the concept of God. I consider it fascinating that while TTOTCU is a scientific theory that makes no assumptions about mystical processes but reduces everything to the way information behaves — somehow winds up also squaring with what the founders of the world’s leading religions said, which constitutes self-evident perennial wisdom. However, I will set aside my fascination for this remarkable dual explanatory power, so that TTOTCU can be presented as pure science without raising emotional side issues.

And now, to the question of Who Are You Really?

In the prior post we wound up concluding that the two things we can absolutely say for certain, really do exist, are consciousness — that which experiences, the Self — and information, the stuff of experience — that which is experienced.

These are the only phenomena we observe directly. All else is mediated by our senses which tell us that time and space, hardness and solidity exist, and yet our Quantum Mechanics (QM) instruments tell us these things do not exist apart from the Observer (Self, Consciousness). So we cannot trust that our senses are conveying to us an accurate picture of reality. There could be an unmanifest part of reality, which by leaving out heads us in totally the wrong direction toward understanding our situation.

As I’ve begun to explain in recent posts, the Theory of the Conscious Universe (TTOTCU) postulates that a single Self is the only thing that truly exists.

Let’s look at this idea objectively. Let’s divorce the idea from the idea of God. We are talking about the same kind of self or selfness that we ourselves experience.

Imagine that you started life as a disembodied self. You would perhaps become aware of yourself gradually. Once you became aware, you could imagine things and visualize things — and this process might start in your dreams at times when you went from a clear consciousness to a foggy one.

Using the dreams and the waking imagination and your powers of visualization you could — if you had endless time — imagine all sorts of things. You could classify your own mental experiences. You could perhaps see that everything you experienced could be considered as information.

Perhaps if your intelligence level was far greater than that of human beings, you could even learn how to program yourself like a computer, since the contents of your experience would all consist of information.

Perhaps then you could program yourself to create cellular selves within yourself that could only for a time experience through the perspective of those subselves, whereas you yourself could experience what they were experiencing while also experiencing your own self.

What do I mean “you could program yourself”? What would this experience be like? Perhaps it would involve concentration. In his book The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience, my friend Daniel Goleman (better known for his best-selling book series on emotional intelligence) describes the “concentration games” played by certain people in India since ancient times. Apparently a number of individuals in human history have been able to concentrate so strongly as to be able to turn off their sensory organs and ultimately even their sense of consciousness (“nirodh”, the next step on the path of insight after “nirvana”). If even a few human beings can train their ability to concentrate to this lofty degree, then surely we can imagine that a being of far greater processing power than a human — something with the processing power to create and sustain the complexity of the universe we behold — could also do similar stunts through concentration on a desired “program” of its own consciousness.

Perhaps you the original consciousness, the original self that has created us all as a part of yourself, could first program yourself to create light/energy, and then from light/energy to create matter and spacetime.

This would make you (a) a life form and (b) the only thing that really exists and (c) the underlying substrate of everything created by you to exist within you.

Certainly it would make you a very special life form compared to the life forms we know. Yet we know many lifeforms on macro and micro scales of size that have bizarre characteristics alongside which you would just be another very interesting specimen.

Given your scale it is no wonder that many individuals find it natural to worship this One Self. However that is not the only way it is possible to relate to you. One can also think of you as our Older Brother Self. It would be unusual not to naturally like you since we are you. So the natural reaction to the One Self would be somewhere between friendly and worshipful, take your pick.

That Self has creatively established a Cosmic Game It (We) play(s). Existence provides a never-ending pastime that is engrossing and rich in feeling. Obviously, on our planet part of the game is the secret of our true identity. We cannot normally during life remember anything that we experienced prior to this life, and so we tacitly always assume our identity is the body that the sense of Self currently inhabits.

In computer terms the information beyond the memories of the one instance of self, the local body that the Earth person takes to be the self, simply has been withheld from that node by not providing authorization.

The Perennial Philosophy (which however is not a scientific theory, and falls back instead on mystical conceptualization) tells us that the one self (called “God” or “the deity” in the Perennial Philosophy) gave the later pseudo-selves free will in order to make the game more interesting. This would not have worked without withholding authorization to the memory of the one self at least for the time period of the game. Remembering that one is the One, there is wisdom precluding all courses of action except the optimal for all concerned, and so effectively there is no free will. This could be an overstatement since aesthetically there are always multiple allowable choices but this would trivialize free will to some extent. Holding back the memory of the true identity unquestionably adds poignancy to the game — including such aspects as fear of death.

Again, what TTOTCU posits is that this very sense of Self is the only thing that exists. That Self has made dubs of itself that for a subjective time period are, as in our case, not told the secret. We live in a permanent case of mistaken identity. We think it is us that is having these experiences when actually it is the One having these experiences through us. But our sense of Self is not different from the One. Our current sense of self is the experience the One is having in our instance of the Singular Self.

In your mind, project a mental movie: see the world and its history as if from nearby in space.

You did all that.

You are still doing it.

It is scientifically possible that this is not just speculation but rather what is really happening. In fact as science progresses it is converging on this depiction of reality. John Archibald Wheeler is but one of many highly respected scientists who have made statements consistent with TTOTCU already. Science by definition must not proceed too rapidly, carried away by mere enthusiasm over an interesting new idea. So it could be after our lifetime that science finally comes out with a refined and perfectly acceptable version of TTOTCU.

Just knowing it is a real possibility gives permission to begin to relax into the more enjoyable version of life that settles in once we accept that TTOTCU may well be the true depiction of reality. In the psychotechnology of the Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI), TTOTCU is not assumed. Nothing is assumed. THEI advises that the best approach to reality is to admit that we do not know the true nature of reality, and that therefore our actions must always be decided with full consciousness of that lack of certainty. This has the effect of unlocking what are culturally locked-in biases. Click here for an example of such THEI psychotechnology.

The fact that we then become more successful in some ways seems to provide a built-in validation of TTOTCU. For when one believes one is on the side of the whole universe, one’s behavior changes accordingly. All conscious motivations are positive rather than vengeful or petty, and this is a more successful strategy for accomplishing anything involving the cooperation of other people.

Mistaken identity and one other factor have driven most of us to “lives of quiet desperation”, as Henry David Thoreau put it. The other factor is the explosion in accelerating inventiveness triggered by written language — what I have dubbed “Acceleritis”. If this were not a mystery planet — other planets in other galaxies perhaps being experiments in remembering One’s true Identity at all times — Acceleritis might not have had such damaging effects. But the combination of the two handicaps has produced, at least for what be a brief reaction period as glimpsed from Above, a world of suffering, morbid fascination for violence, war, petty bickering, mental disorder, emotional chaos and the self-dwarfing of the One into decidedly unheroic roles.

Acceleritis we will recall is the inability of the brain to keep up with the incoming traffic as the number of question-producing impressions hitting the brain per second ceaselessly soars upward. The advent of written language some 6000 years ago is posited to be the triggering factor in causing Acceleritis.

Acceleritis manifests through tools, weapons, and media. Manic inventiveness in all three fields is carried out in a culture dominated by a minority that was historically first to use these tools, weapons and media, and through this they acquired power and heavy metals/money/credit, they were sustained first (and always) by (threat of) violence, and all of this thuggery was papered over later by a façade of legitimacy. Still, today’s nations were each founded based on the self-interest of those taking over, with the only possible exception being the United States of America.

Even America today has been pulled back into sameness of mentality with the earlier nations. This would not have happened on a planet without (a) mistaken identity and (b) Acceleritis. Those are the two factors pulling us down as a race. They threaten the very substance of the planet.

What a drama! The One has set up a most amazing adventure epic, larger than life, larger even than Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood. Now the torch has been passed to us, and we are privileged to be here at this momentous time. What happens, what we do, the roles we rise to, in the next few years will be a turning point in one direction or the other.

We ended the prior post with a promise to explain in this post why I sometimes capitalize “Self”. Here is the explanation. It comes down to the singularity of the One Self. What if TTOTCU is true, and the ancients intuited TTOTCU themselves but lacked modern scientific language and method and so thought about the One Self through the only lenses they had, including the impulse to attribute nature to a cosmic personality, what religion calls “God”. Why capitalize it, why consider it to be above us? Why not do so, since the whole of oneself is clearly above any part of oneself. Why worship the One Self? This is more a matter of aesthetics. The One Self logically being our own larger self in TTOTCU, one would naturally like and love it and wish to be harmonious with it. If worship also comes naturally then why block the feeling? If worship does not come naturally why not be open to some other form of relationship with the posited One Self? How about gratitude? How about loyal friendship?

Game Theory enters in at this point. Let’s admit that TTOTCU is just an unproven theory. Okay, so what does Game Theory tell us we should do? It says that since TTOTCU is a possibility, action based on admitting the possibility is real is better for the individual than acting as if the possibility is ridiculous. Because if TTOTCU turns out to be true (each of us will either find out after death that it is true, or we will no longer be aware of anything), then it would be better to have that base covered just in case.

Based on the way I am betting, my actions are always (except when I slip into robot behavior) in light of TTOTCU, and hence my use of initial capitals sometimes to relate to the One Self. I will tone down that convention now in order to make it easier for agnostic/atheist readers to consider the possibility of TTOTCU being accurate.

What is the meaning of life? Life is a game and an art form. It is the supreme game and the supreme art form. It is cosmic and celestial. We are in fact the children of the stars. We ourselves are stars, greater than stars, we are each of the star of the show. Only the challenge slope presented by Acceleritis makes it so hard for us to realize our true identity, or even to credit that identity as a possibility. No movie character ever faced a more dramatic challenge slope. There will be no victory as great as our own when we finally overcome.

Where did the Singular Self come from in the first place? Why does a Singular Self — or anything else for that matter — exist? Isn’t it far more logical that nothing exists?

Please see and react to our further exploration in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

 

What is Consciousness Made Out Of?

This may seem like an academic question yet it leads directly to the meaning of life. Who among us has not pondered the meaning of life at one time or another?

We know consciousness is real, we know it exists. As Rene Descartes said, “Je pense, donc je suis” — I think, therefore I exist — meaning that you dear reader know something exists because you are experiencing something right now. Rene might have said “something is being experienced, that is what can be stated with certainty”.

In fact nothing can actually be stated with such great certainty except that consciousness — that which experiences — exists.

So what is this stuff that exists? You and I both experience It.

It is the weirdest stuff around. Everything else is easier for our minds (consciousness itself) to grasp. That too is weird — consciousness finds itself weirder than everything else that it experiences, at least among the scientists who have dodged this question while ironically basing everything else in their cosmology upon the observer — which is the same “Self”/”Consciousness” that science has avoided investigating more deeply.

Matter, energy, time and space seem perfectly normal and reasonable to us. Those are names that we put on aspects of what we experience. Names seem normal and reasonable too. Just not consciousness — it is so ineffable, so hard to grasp, to even think about.

Scientists either avoid the subject entirely or else try to reduce consciousness to events in the brain. The late great physicist Evan Harris Walker in his book The Physics of Consciousness brilliantly posited that consciousness emerges from quantum effects at the synapses of the brain. This however has nothing to do with the experience of consciousness. It is the experience itself that we are interested in, not in how we might explain away these experiences by relating them to physical events. The latter explanations beg the question of which came first — i.e. consciousness could have created the brain rather than vice versa — and although we are culturally biased to consider that sequence absurd, there is no scientific evidence either way. It would be the definition of unscientific to take any position under those circumstances.

Those locked into cultural first assumptions are by definition unable to see past those assumptions or to even see that those assumptions exist.

Try this if you will: focus your mind on the experience of consciousness for a moment. What is it?

To ask what consciousness is made of is itself evidence of our predisposition to assume that substance — matter or energy — is the substrate of the universe, so that everything in the universe must be made out of either matter or energy. This is just a bias.

But let’s play along with that bias for awhile. Is consciousness an energy? Okay, if so, then what is energy? Simply saying that energy is a force or a force field is just replacing one name with another — it does not tell us anything, it adds no new information — we are just playing with words.

Today scientists relate to energy in terms of waves radiating from a source. That itself is an ancient metaphor to waves on the ocean. Scientists assumed for a long time (some still do today) that waves must be waves in something. In Newton’s time the term aether (“ether”) was the stuff the waves were waving. By Einstein’s time and our own the concept of an aether has become passé. Today we are more comfortable thinking that things reduce ultimately to wavicles — things that have both a wave and a particle aspect depending on the choice of instruments and experimental conditions the observer chooses to set up.

Do you begin to see The Great Circular Argument going on here? Really the modeling of “what is” falls back on the way we as humans perceive the world and the ultimate categories we place as contexts around everything else — the way we perceive time and space — the apparent hardness of matter — which we now know is actually the mutual repulsion going on in electromagnetic and nuclear energies at subatomic levels. There is no hardness, it is a subjective readout our brains feed to our consciousness. We are trapped in Plato’s cave, making up possible stories about what is really out there. But what is in here?

The Theory of the Conscious Universe (TTOTCU) postulates that everything in the universe reduces to neither matter nor energy, but to INFORMATION. But then what is information?

The clue comes from deconstructing the word into its parts: IN…FORMATION — information is a pattern — a formation. Any pattern is information — even randomness. Since information exists in the form rather than requiring a substance — form and substance being an ancient division of aspects of things going back at least as far as the Vedas — information can exist even in something that is substance-less.

In fact we see this every day in our computers — which contain and send and receive and process information — but that information does not have a concrete substance — it exists when stored as energy/nothingness, as both charge and non-charge, representing zeroes and ones. The nothingness (the zeroes) are as much information as the 1’s (electric charges).

What then is consciousness? It is the Self — the capacity to experience — that which experiences — and the experiences are information received by the consciousness or Self. The information appears to us to be coming from something that has independent existence outside the Self. It appears that hard and/or wet and/or gaseous objects out there are encoded as electromagnetic signals that strike our visual sense organs which then encode them as electrical pulses in our brain — or that strike our apparent body where they are converted to electrical pulses we call touch — or as compactions and expansions of air that cause pressure against our auditory sense organs where again they are converted to electrical pulses in our brain — or as interactions with our taste and smell organs, also winding up as electrical pulses in our brain.

But all of this could actually be taking place in our Self. There might be nothing out there because there might not be an “out there”. Our experience would be the same.

One way or the other, we can definitively state now two things: the Self exists — the Experiencer — and information exists, for this is what gives variation to what we experience. Both the Self and information exist in consciousness — this much can be stated as fact. The rest is supposition.

But why am I capitalizing Self? The answer in our next posting — our response to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

All the best,

Bill