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There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. ---Lord Byron
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    To Create Is To Consciously Exist.

    To be able to perceive the “arrow of time” (or our ability to choose not to perceive it) is arguably our most impressive ability, yet perhaps our greatest flaw. Time, an illusion, destined from our minds, is the bearer of the relativity of those minds' thoughts and perceptions. The “Asymptote of Creation” of the emergent nature of matter over time is without bounds. The emergent behavior of every arrangement of matter evolves to something greater— the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And now, physical limitations, perhaps once believed to be a boundary of creation, have paved the way for the emergence of a very real, nonphysical world, in which ideas, understandings and feelings allow humans to transcend all previous notions of existence.

    Everything we think and perceive is akin to an infinite curve along the Asymptote of Creation, never to end, only to further emerge. Any multiple interactions of any given present moment (the present designated as the point of tangency to the curve) can proceed to create an emergent, sometimes even predictable, phenomenon: another curve. Because of technology and new insights into how the world around us works, humans are learning that the future is an expanse of infinite potentiality, determined by the endless number of interactions and choices, which are all more or less effectual, that preceded the new moment. We create the future. No doubt you have heard the phrase, "History repeats itself." It is because the curve is also fractal. Any given moment exists and persists because of the collective collaboration of events that happened prior to it; a moment is but a single instance that reflects the wholeness of existence and our perception of time.

    There being an asymptote usually implies that there is an infinite distance, a gap of endless proportion, between a “curved” perception and the “straight” wholeness of reality. But, the Universe isn't governed by math and physics, rather, math and physics is a way of describing the Universe. And surely there are ways to describe and experience the Universe that humans have not yet conceived. So is it possible to align our perception with the emergent wholeness, to take a leap over the infinite gap? Is our physicality preventing us from doing so? An alignment may be an emergent outcome, but how will it be achieved? Through technology? Understanding and compassion? Psychotropic substances? Death? All of the above?

    Happiness Transcends

    To roughly borrow some ideas from Arthur Schopenhauer, he thought, much like Buddhist philosophy, that humans were ridden with suffering and that we always desired an escape to/for something greater. He believed that this was attainable by losing oneself in the arts. Like riding a flowing river of passion and contemplation, humans consciously acted in resonance with the present. I liken this to the Asymptote of Creation. It’s “living in the present,” consciously aware of what is going on between the internal and external environment, flowing with the changes that consistently emerge. I just recently read a quote from Frederick Nietzsche that I thought described a very similar concept that I am trying to convey. “Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight.” But he also said, “ God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight,” so I think we have a slightly different understanding of God. Certainly it’s up to interpretation.

    This idea of breaching the gap between perception and reality has profound implications for the future of humanity, especially in regards to transhumanism. I will argue that people who “live in the present” are generally much happier than people that don’t. If you aren’t living in the present, then you are focusing more on the past or future; the past being completely irrelevant because it cannot be changed, possibly ridden with regret, and the future being of infinite possibility, full of worry and “what if’s”, a great distraction. If the attainment of happiness and reduction of suffering is the underlying principle that drives human behavior, then perhaps a “Golden Age” for the (post)human spirit would emerge from the elimination of suffering. Undeniably, the quickest way to eliminate one’s suffering would be suicide. And though it’s a sure way to free oneself from physical responsibilities, it’s not the most efficient. To live a long life advocating for the happiness of humanity, whether it be exposing corruption within financial institutions or playing the piano for another’s pleasure, would be more sustainable and selfless for humanity’s legacy than to “opt out” selfishly. We need to play a part in our interconnected humanity.

    So here lies the dilemma of our human condition(ing). How do we rise above our inclinations to not live in the moment? To answer that question, we must take a look at another: what is it that keeps us focused on anything but the present? This is such a broad question that it’d be difficult to sum up, but I will provide a macroscopic example. The one that comes to my mind is that of money and it’s affect on how people behave. Humans in the developed world have essentially become slaves to our monetary system. And people in developing countries are being restrained by it. There have been numerous events, riots, government’s defaulting and countries collapsing, etc, etc, around the world in the past few years that could all be traced back to some monetary problem. But just look at your own life or that of your friends and family... has money contributed more to better or worse situations?

    We Must Be Each Others Oracles

    Practically everyone has had a moment of clarity in the now, of which they may not have taken notice, but far too many people do not consciously live with that clarity (I’m guilty!) That is not to say we must “awaken” others... ignorance is bliss, and it’d be selfish to take happiness from those who received it inherently. Rather, greater potential rests in people who are least happy because they would have the most to gain and understand.

    In the movie The Matrix, the Oracle isn’t a prophet in the traditional sense, but someone who is completely intuitive. I’m fascinated with her ability to tell people exactly what they need to hear. Now imagine if you could confront a complete stranger, who is clearly down in the dumps, and make them happy. This selfless act would not only help someone else but you yourself would also benefit knowing that you gave someone some intangible alleviation. So it would be wise to be a light for those people, to walk with and encourage them in whatever way you see fit. And by consequence more people would have a better understanding of their own and others’ happiness and therefore be better able to create a scenario from which a new status quo, characterized by perpetual happiness, would emerge.

    But it’s never so simple. No man is an island, and by rejecting the interconnectedness of humanity, you reject yourself from attaining fulfillment, a “salvation” of sorts. The key is to help others help themselves. To align yourself with the Asymptote of Creation is just that. Become yourself and everything else will follow.
    Tue, Mar 8, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: consciousness, happiness, buddhism, taoism
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