e Fates Unwind In nity

Contents.
Introduction. Part I Chapter 1 Chapter 2. The Cause of Existence Chapter 3. The Immutable Foundation of Existence Chapter 4. Truth Chapter 5. Mind and the Illusion of Duality Chapter 6. Elements of Human and Non-Human Consciousness Chapter 7. What is “me”? Chapter 8. The Modern Status of Supernatural Belief Chapter 9. In My End Is My Beginning Chapter 10. Destiny vs. Free Will Chapter 11. Our Oneness Chapter 12. Intelligence vs. Instinct Chapter 13. The Universality of Life Part II: Abstract Reflections and Theories Concerning Physics Chapter 1. Gravity in Intuitive Terms Chapter 2. Relativity and the Origin of Mass and Inertia Chapter 3. A Closer Look at Spacetime Chapter 4. Interpreting Quantum Effects Chapter 5. Time as Change Chapter 6. The Basis of Set Theory Chapter 7. The Inconceivable Beauty of the Universe Chapter 8. About the Book About the Author

Introduction.

is book is an exploration of the Universe's deepest questions, a personal re ection which is not conducted in the familiar and o en tedious style of academic philosophy. “Why does anything exist at all?” “What is consciousness; how can the workings of my brain produce this unthinkable range of experience, and how can conscious will in turn affect my body and cause it to type or speak, or do any of the other countless things it does in response to these experiences?” “Why does all energy unfailingly follow the laws of physics?”– If these towering mysteries stimulate your interest, this book will likely prove engaging and eyeopening for you. Even if you are for some reason uninterested in these questions, I think that if you continue reading, before long you will begin to see that examining the Universe in reference to questions of this sort can dramatically rede ne and enrich our understanding and experience of life.

is book is packed with mentally taxing topics and concepts. My aim is clarity, brevity, and accessibility, and I intend to write in a very straightforward style, but this will likely prove to be more strenuous than the average read. I have quite a lot I want to say, and the pace is brisk. Rather than a comprehensive exploration of a few specialized and speci c concepts, these words are intended to serve more as a broad glance at many profound ideas, in the hope that you will undertake the process of examining each in depth and in reference to your own worldview and style of reasoning. In Part 2, general relativity, set theory, and similarly advanced concepts are discussed without much preliminary explanation; if you don't know about these things, they would probably be very interesting for you to learn about from other sources before reading about them here. Generally, when we are presented with a fact describing the world that is more subtle and nuanced than our intuitive, day-to-day worldview, we shy away from the a empt to truly introduce that fact into the reality we see. Modeling new information in our minds takes a substantial, and o en sustained expenditure of energy, and we resist this exertion in the same way that we might choose the elevator over the stairs. When I tell someone, “Imagine, our bodies are comprised of about a hundred trillion cells, all immensely complex living beings in their own right!” they invariably change the subject immediately, giving

the impression “Yes, I'm sure I could imagine that, but please, not right now.” e mental modeling ends up being put off inde nitely. We should seek to overcome this existential inertia, and try to learn how to more fully appreciate the miracle that is the reality we inhabit. is is not to say that the mental aspect of horizon broadening is

easy, but it is worth the effort. Even if this wider view of reality, from a higher vantage point than the normal human perspective, is not in effect at all times, having an idea of your life in the context of the entire Universe, of all that has happened and all that is possible to unfold in the endless future, can be a pleasant state to revisit whenever life's difficulties and injustices need to be put into perspective.

Part I.
Chapter 1.

is book is wri en in praise of the vibrant beauty and elegance of reality. e Universe is just in nitely, hilariously deeper and more sig-

ni cant than we can possibly comprehend or hold in our tiny awarenesses; the most enlightened human minds in history have only had the power to experience the slightest, most microscopic glimmer of its magnitude. And yet it's right there, right here, all around us and in us at all times; in fact, giving rise to us. I stand in awe before the brilliance of all that is, in love of life and experience. Even so, I sense the blindness with which I see, the boundless depth behind the thin surface my animal mind can perceive. At times I long for true knowing beyond the bounds of my biological intelligence, but I am exhilarated by the realization that though I cannot hold the in nite in mind, the in nite exists in itself. Like all philosophical texts, the following should be read critically. e bene t of reading someone else's conclusions concerning the

mysterious world we inhabit is that even if you disagree with them fully, the act of contrasting your views with theirs gives you a deep insight into who you are, and what you truly believe about life and your place in it. A er all, your worldview serves as the foundation for your experiences; every choice you make, every thought you think and every word you speak occurs in the context of your fundamental beliefs, which o en go unquestioned or taken for granted a er their gradual development during your early years. We should never chain ourselves to any conception picked up along the clu ered paths our lives and our ancestors lives have taken, but examine every dusty certainty in the light of all newly uncovered evidence. Any logical tension between aged axioms and new ideas represents an opportunity for insight into the true nature of reality. In the quest for truth, we can treat the Universe as an immense riddle, and know that though con rmation that we have reached the truth may be forever out of reach, the truth is always there, underlying and explaining all that exists. Science is the most extraordinarily successful means we have of unraveling these Universal mysteries; the realization that rational, empirical inquiry is uncannily successful in learning about the true nature of the Universe is truly humanity's greatest discovery. However, because the entire point of scienti c inquiry is never to draw conclusions that

cannot be experimentally demonstrated and tested, science cannot examine many of the most compelling questions. For example, the question "Where did existence, this Universe, come from?" is not in the realm of science because the Big Bang is apparently the very rst instance in our Universe that we can ever possibly investigate directly- the cause of the Big Bang is forever out of our reach to examine empirically, so the incomplete scienti c standpoint is that the Big Bang was the beginning of time (though the most insightful scientists acknowledge that it had to have a cause). In a strictly positivistic scienti c worldview, which many scientists today are proud to hold, the only reality is that which humans can presently investigate experimentally. I reject the thought that our knowing of the world can only progress through empirical science. e fact that a system of investigation is

not constrained to the directly observable does not necessarily mean the investigation can reveal no insight into the Universe we occupy. Imagine the blow that would be dealt to modern physics if Einstein were a strict experimentalist; it is clear that his brilliant forays into Universal truth were conducted in the light of pure intuitive logic. Intuition o en deals with systems of logic that are too complex to immediately parse in mathematical propositions; intuitive insight is built up from networks of more fundamental knowledge, bits of empirical evidence and logic, only

gaining utility through the dynamic, creative combination of these facts undergone by theorists. rough the use of logic and intuition, a deeper insight into the essential character of reality can be gained, realizations that a purely empirical approach might never uncover. Of course, this is a philosophy inspired by the modern ndings of science, and I would never downplay the magni cent bene t science has to mankind and to our general understanding of the Universe. e drawback is that even with all of these

breathtaking ndings, science is forbidden to discuss the overarching signi cance of the reality uncovered. ese explorations fall within the

happy realm of the philosopher, the realm we visit today.

CHAPTER 2

The Cause of Existence

How deliciously miraculous it is that the limitless potential in our Universe exists, that there is this brilliant spectrum of Existence rather than nothingness. Why should this be so; why does Existence itself exist? To discuss this question, it is useful to de ne what is meant by Existence: the capitalized form will be used here in the all-encompassing sense referring to absolutely everything that has the condition of not being nothing; anything that does exist, has existed, or can possibly exist is part of Existence. e uncapitalized “exist” is used in the normal way,

covering the speci c sense referring to a thing's objective reality. For instance, I might describe the existence of this text as a minuscule facet of Existence, the sum of all things. e Universe, its history, future, and all

of its contents (time, space, energy, gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, consciousness, emotions, everything that has a name and everything that is as yet unnamed) are subsets of Existence. ere is no “outside of ” Existence, for if there were, that outside would have to be existent as well, and would therefore be part of Existence.

ere can be no precedent to Existence, for if there were, that precedent would have to be existent as well, and therefore would be part of Existence. e cause of the Big Bang (perhaps a previous Universe collapsing into a “singularity” and subsequently re-expanding, or perhaps any number of unknown possible causes) existed at one time; whatever existed before our Universe necessarily contained the potential for our Universe to occur. Even if you believe there was absolute nothingness preceding the Big Bang, there is no way for you to deny that the potential for our Universe to exist existed then. For instance, contemporary cosmologists can be heard saying “We have mathematics which show that the Universe could have sprung from nothingness.” Could those mathematics also spring from the same nothingness? In other words, if there was nothingness, those mathematics didn't exist: how could the Universe spring into being on account of them? Clearly, the potential preceding the Big Bang was not -nothingness-, but existent and boundless, representing every facet of our Universe's in nite breadth and complexity, including the potential for your life to spring out of universal law and energy. If this potential (for the Universe to arise) didn't exist before the Universe came about, the Universe could not have possibly come to be. As the saying goes, something cannot come from nothing.

"Wait a minute," some might be thinking, "where is the rst cause, the reason for it all?" And rightly so, a rst cause would apparently satisfy the question we are trying to answer. Where can we nd the rst cause, if not backwards through an in nity of time? So far we see that anything that exists is not nothingness; we have Existence on the one hand, and nothingness on the other. What exactly do we mean when we speak of nothingness? True nothingness is what many people expect there would have to be before Existence came about, and what will remain a er Existence has run its course. is would mean no energy, no space, no time, no force, no pois would be ab-

tential, and no concept (e.g. mathematics) is present.

solute nothingness, beyond emptiness (you cannot have emptiness without having space). However, as we can nd, there is no such thing as true nothingness. We've already encountered this realization by looking back along the string of causation- every cause in Existence is clearly the effect of a previous cause. Empty space is not nothingness; it is characterized by containing the possibility of holding and transmi ing mass-energy and it springs from the same overarching set of physical laws that produced us. Space contains at every point the logic of the cosmos, the same gravitational and electromagnetic potential. Even our concept of nothingness doesn’t constitute or describe nothingness, because the idea is existent

in the physical brain processes that activate it in our minds. We can no more hold nothingness in mind than we can hold in nity in mind: anything our minds can explicitly conceive of is nite, and every thought we can think exists (and is therefore not representative of true nothingness). To simplify, if true nothingness were something that could exist, that something wouldn’t be nothingness. From this paradox arises an eternal interrelationship: Existence absolutely must exist, because its absence would bring -nothingness- into direct existence, which is an impossible situation. is is a rather abstract argument, but I believe this fact is absolutely fundamental to Existence. To put this mind-twisting paradox differently: if there were no Existence, all the conditions for the existence of nothingness would be met. True nothingness would exist– however, in this case its existence would negate it being nothingness. By de nition, the only way that -nothingness- could exist is by not existing; this fundamental contradiction assures that it cannot exist, and truly is nothingness. Existence cannot exist in its own right without contrasting (forever nonexistent) nothingness, and the permanent impossibility of nothingness existing necessitates the existence of Existence. e resultant being

of Existence is expressed forever through this absolutely fundamental Truth. is eternal relationship between nothingness and Existence is

the root of all that is.

Among the people I've discussed this idea with, inevitably the protest arises: “Well, of course nothingness doesn't exist. It's right there in its de nition: nonexistence.” It is a deceptively simple truth, which many mistake for insigni cance without apprehending the scope of what it suggests. If the question concerns the nature and origin of Existence, the fact that true nothingness cannot exist is perhaps the most telling information of all. It is not the case that nonexistence preceded the Universe, or will follow the Universe, as most take for granted. It is not the case that nonexistence lies outside of the Universe. Nonexistence does not, cannot, and never will exist, which tells us many important things about Existence, namely, that it is inarguably in nite in every possible dimension of being. Not to labor the point, but some might believe this still hasn't answered the question of "What is the rst cause?” counterintuitive on rst glance) is, " e answer (though

ere never was a rst cause, but

described above is the eternal cause." Existence never came from anywhere, it is all that has ever been or ever will be. e fundamental, eter-

nal cause of Existence is the impossibility of its nonexistence, the impossibility of nothingness existing. is intuition is described (at least to my ears) in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu's timeless philosophy: e Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao.

e name that can be named is not the eternal name. e eternal Tao is nothingness. It cannot be named, because nothingness doesn't exist; the word nothingness describes our existent concept of the forever nonexistent. When speaking about it, we are speaking about our existent idea of nothingness, and not -nothingnessitself. e nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. e name is the mother of the ten thousand things. In other words, nothingness (the nameless) is the cause of Existence. “ e name” represents Existence, everything nameable, dis-

cussable, or conceivable, and the “ten thousand things” represents the boundless possibility made real by the energetic unfolding of Existence.

CHAPTER 3

The Immutable Foundation of Existence

To summarize the ground covered thus far: Nothingness cannot possibly exist; Existence must exist. Before proceeding, we must answer, “What does it mean for something (or in the case of Existence, everything) to exist?” We take for granted that we know what it takes for something to exist: it simply has to be present in existence, to have actual being. What does it take for something to have actual being? Well, the thing has to exist... is circularity reveals the fact that we don't quite

have a rigorous de nition for what it takes for something to exist, and our concept of existence relates only to our experience of the things that do exist and our non-experience of things that do not exist. I do not see a car parked in this room; all indications and prior knowledge suggest that no car exists in the room. I do see a lamp to my right. I can touch it and its light reveals the color and shape of my surroundings; this lamp certainly exists, and I know that it exists based on its relationship with

me and the other existent things surrounding it. If any of these things didn't exist, they would not have any part in this relationship. e existence of any thing is solely de ned by how that thing stands in reference to other existent things, not just in its relative spatiotemporal position, but also in every possible distinction which makes that thing exactly what it is and nothing else. Anything that exists necessarily stands in reference to and is de ned by all that it is not; it is impossible for something to exist without existing relative to the whole of Existence. e entirety of being is encapsulated in this in nite One, the

sum total of this in nite network of relations. On account of this, though I cannot directly observe some aspects of my lamp's relationship with the rest of Existence, the fact that both the lamp and the rest of Existence exist tells me that this broad relationship also exists. For instance, I know that the sun is orbiting the Milky Way, and that since the lamp is orbiting the sun, the lamp is also orbiting the Milky Way. e lamp, like every existent thing, is spatiotemporally situated relative to every other existent thing in the entire scope of Existence, no ma er how distant in space or time. is may not be an obvious or im-

mediately intuitive fact, but is true nonetheless. (Before you disagree, try to come up with something which simultaneously exists and doesn't spatiotemporally relate to the rest of Existence. By the way, a fact like 2+2=4 does not satisfy this challenge; facts like this are Truths, true at all times

and all places, and therefore relate to the whole of Existence, underlying physically existent things like stars and lamps. I will elaborate on the concept of Truth shortly.) To know of something in Existence requires interacting with some of the information making up that thing's relationship with Existence. ink of a guitar; you know what I mean when I say that because

the word 'guitar' activates the informational network of associations your brain has built up around that word. In looking at a guitar, your eyes are registering information carried by photons, which each individually contain information of the molecular conditions whence they were emi ed, and which collectively sum to describe the form and color of the guitar from the angle and lighting in which you are viewing it. Hearing a chord strummed on its strings involves your ears registering uctuations in the elastic medium of atmospheric pressure; you access a tiny corner of a near-spherical wave given off by the string's vibrations within this medium, containing the information pertaining to the guitar's interaction with the air it is in contact with. When you pick up the guitar, the weight you feel is the result of the guitar's informational relationship with spacetime, the relativistic warping it responds to and participates in (described in depth in Part II, Chapters 1 and 2). All of this information embodies elements of the guitar's existence; the being of the guitar is entirely contained in all the in-

formation which describes the guitar's existence, both in itself and in relation to all other existent things. In fact, the existence of any piece of Existence is wholly made up of that thing's informational presence in Existence; every single thing has existence solely through the totality of information which describes that thing. is network of co-de ning existence among all things represents an absolutely unimaginable volume of information; what could possibly account for the existence of this information? Information cannot have any meaning if its logic or validity is unknown, yet the information in the Universe clearly exists. All of the information pertaining to the world around you must exist in order for you to interact with it; how can that information exist embodied in the thing? How could two inanimate objects, or a galaxy of inanimate objects, contain in their being a reference to other existent things, and to the laws of physics? Essentially, these questions equate to asking “what does it take for information to exist?” It is an immensely puzzling thought. e in-

formation making up the star Betelgeuse, describing all its atomic motions and the light it has historically given off, its position in space, etc., all certainly exists, though it seems no one is paying a ention to it; how can that information possibly exist if it is unknown, if there is no objective record of or reality to it?

It seems there is no possible way it could exist in such an instance; information must be known in order to exist. is suggests that

the missing piece to the puzzle of de ning the existence of information is Awareness, that mysterious quality which is clearly present in existence (we experience it all day, every day), but whose origins and nature seem perfectly unexplainable to us. In order for anything to exist relative to anything else, there must also exist Cosmic Awareness of that relationship to contain the information embodied therein. If there exists no Awareness of something's existence whatsoever, that thing cannot exist. Cosmic Awareness is perfectly inseparable from Existence: it is the essence of Existence, a necessary prerequisite to the existence of Existence. To exist is to embody information in the Knowing of Cosmic Awareness; the Knowing of Cosmic Awareness is Existence, the sum total of all existent possibility. Every piece of Existence is accounted for by Cosmic Awareness, contained in its uncountably in nite web of relations between every other existent thing. It all extends from and relates to this oneness, bound by the informational bonds comprising Existence. is might seem like an unnecessary complication, to answer the question of how information can exist by postulating the existence of a grand Consciousness which knows that information, but with a closer look we can see that it simpli es the ma er; it is a simple fact, casually overlooked for too long, that information cannot possibly exist if it is

unknown. Imagine an old, forgo en book in an a ic; if the information making up the complex electromagnetic interaction between the book's molecules were totally unaccounted for, how could the book possibly retain its shape? e energy making up that book contains in nitely

more dynamic information than the book's words could ever encode, and necessarily exists the entire time it sits neglected; if this information were completely nonexistent, there could be no physical energy representing the book, and therefore the book could not possibly physically exist. Our current de nition of information does not account for this fact, and for this reason our current de nition is incomplete. e existence of information cannot be explained by the currently prevalent metaphysics of materialism, the idea that everything which exists is strictly physical. Materialism is required to sidestep the question “what does it mean for something to physically exist?”, because that question immediately leads to the answer given above, that physical existence is informational existence (and informational existence is necessarily mental existence). When an investigation of how information can exist is followed to its logical conclusion, materialism must fall away, with idealism nally taking its proper place as the foundation for metaphysics. Idealism has o en been misunderstood to represent the idea that everything which exists is human mental content; this is not the

case, in fact, human mental content is but a minuscule re ection of the in nity of Cosmic Awareness. ese two absolutely fundamental requirements, that Existence cannot not exist, and that Awareness of its existence must exist for Existence to exist, account for the permanent being of Existence. “ en

which came rst, Existence, or Awareness of Existence?” is an invalid question: each part cannot exist without the other. at is, Awareness

cannot exist without Existence being possible, and Existence cannot be possible without Awareness existing. ey co-de ne and co-create.

Awareness contains not only the conditions of and interrelationships between every existent thing, but knowledge of all possible conditions and all possible interrelationships; the entirety of the information in Existence is known at this fundamental level, and this knowledge comprises all that is True. I will use the capitalized word Truth to mean information known to Cosmic Awareness, part of the information describing and constituting Existence. e Knowing of all that is True of a thing entirely makes up the Existence of that thing. Simultaneously, the Existence of all that is True entirely makes up the being of the Knower, Cosmic Awareness. at is,

without Truth existing, Cosmic Awareness would have nothing to Know, and would not exist. On the other hand, without Cosmic Awareness pre-

sent to Know Truth, Truth could not exist. as one.

e two necessarily coexist

is bears clari cation: I am not saying that Existence is consciously aware in the exact sense that we are consciously aware. Cosmic Awareness should probably not be thought of as a thinking entity (unless its perspective is currently that of a free-willed life-form arising into existence from the interplay of energy and law, but more on that later), because the thinking we do is limited to the informational content our brains can process, while Cosmic Awareness comprises the knowing of eternal, unchanging Truth, the out ow of which is embodied in the Universe and all possible frames of Existence. Of course, I cannot begin to properly imagine the content of the in nite mind from which the Universe arises, but I strongly suspect that it is unrecognizably different from our familiar nite subjectivity which unfolds over energetic change in time. is should go without saying, and will become abundantly

clear as we proceed, but I am absolutely not equating Cosmic Awareness with the anthropomorphic, insecure God of religion. Cosmic Awareness is not supernatural; it is the very essence of Nature, the root of all Truth. Many would argue, saying "Awareness only arises through the logical processing of information occurring in our brains; it is unique to life.” Indeed, this seems to be the source of our consciousness. However, this argument neglects the rather gigantic fact that all of the physical

Universe consists of the logical processing of information, of energy interacting and reacting with perfect logical precision. e only difference

between the processing that occurs in our brains and that which occurs all around us is that our brains achieve a special type of self-reference and self-in uence, which will be discussed in much more detail in Chapters 5 and 6. Still more would protest, “No awareness is necessary. e Uni-

verse exists and behaves according to its laws automatically." Quite a bold assumption, though o en taken for granted without question. Does it, though? Where are the laws, the Truths contained, if there is absolutely no awareness of their existence? How are the laws enforced and constant over time? One might answer " ey arise from the unchanging

necessary Truths you described above." I agree that the laws of physics are products of necessary Truth, but the Truths' necessity hinges on the knowing of those Truths. Cosmic Truth cannot exist without there existing Awareness of that Truth. It is time we take the de nition of information to its logical conclusion: information, in any form, can necessarily only exist if its existence is Known; without knowledge of information's being, information cannot exist. However, I'll examine the question from the conventional scienti c perspective. What would it mean if Existence were dead, meaning, forever unaware of its being? Let's imagine the situation in this way: We

know that there cannot be nothingness, that there has to be something existent. To take the simplest method of ful lling this condition: all that exists is an electron, suspended in an endless void of nothingness. Who in this instance can say that the electron is different from the nothingness? What distinguishes the existent speck from the void? You might say, "Well, the electron is the only thing that isn't nothingness; therefore it exists." But what about the electron suggests in itself that it exists? e electron has no potential for change, no possible

interaction to participate in, no means of asserting its existence whatsoever. Remember that there is no awareness present in this example to recognize that the electron is different from the in nite void surrounding it, just the electron itself is present. e electron couldn't realize "I exist,"

and the nothingness certainly couldn't realize "I don't exist, but that electron does." e electron would have no impetus provided by the laws of

physics (since as we've decided, for this example only the electron exists. No mathematics or physical laws can exist in nothingness (of course, an electron couldn't exist without the central laws of physics, but this is simply an a empt at an explanatory example of why this is an impossible situation)). No ma er how much “ma er” is imagined to be present in an unaware Universe such as this, it all equates to absolute nothingness, because there is no way to internally (or externally) distinguish it from

nothingness, and no way for the informational content it should contain to manifest its being. Let's look at the conception of an unaware Universe another way, closer to the scienti c materialism prominent in philosophy since the scienti c revolution of the sixteenth century: If the Universe we inhabit now is “dead” to itself, as many modern thinkers believe, until life arises in this dead Universe, there is no awareness whatsoever. A er life has again died out, there is again no awareness whatsoever. e only

awareness of any kind exists in nite life forms. In this case, the time between successive arrivals of sentient races in the Universe could be said to pass instantly; there is no awareness of the possibly trillions of years of time between the arrival of awareness of reality in the form of life. During those time spans, how could the energy in the Universe be said to exist at all; in other words, what does it exist in reference to? What if life never arose? And most of all (this is the question which strict materialism cannot answer), how would the laws of physics determine the functioning of the Universe if there were absolutely no awareness outlining the existence and behavior of those laws? To restate as succinctly as possible the ontological basis of this book: all of Existence springs automatically from logical necessity, and the requirement that logical necessity exist is founded on the primordial and permanent Truth that it is impossible for nothingness to exist, cou-

pled with the requirement that Existence cannot exist without Awareness of that Existence. In other words, Cosmic Awareness exists because Existence is impossible without it, and Existence is required to exist. Truths exists in the way that they do out of logical necessity ful lling the requirement that nothingness does not exist, and Existence is the embodiment of the consequences which follow from these Truths. In short, the answer to the question “How can it be possible that all of this is even possible?” is not only that nonexistence cannot exist, but that what has to exist in its place is that exquisitely complex, embodying the full spectrum of all necessary possibility over an in nity of time. How this complexity arises from these simple foundational requirements is our next topic.

CHAPTER 4

Truth

roughout the history of human invention and investigation, we have go en so used to uncovering the logical explanations for everything that happens, we have forgo en to question why there's a perfectly logical explanation for everything. We never ask how such logic can exist, and the fact that it does is simply taken for granted. How does all the information in this Universe, this boundless, logically pristine system, come to exist; what is its basis? Forming the foundation for the immense system of information embodied by Existence are Truths which necessarily exist, or necessarily follow from more fundamental necessary truths. Each represents a logical certainty whose modi cation would negate that Truth (in other words, a necessary Truth can only exist in exactly one form; any other conclusion drawn from this logical certainty is a falsehood), and Truths of this class of existence are eternal and unchanging. e Blackwell Dic-

tionary of Western Philosophy has a lucid de nition: "A necessary truth

must be true and could not be false, whatever way the world is. It is true in itself. Logically necessary truths are based on the principle of contradiction, having negations that are logically impossible." Awareness contains not only the conditions of and interrelationships between every existent thing, but knowledge of all possible conditions and all possible interrelationships; the entirety of the informational potential in Existence is known at this fundamental level, and this knowledge comprises all that is True. e logic of proportion contained

in mathematics provides an endless catalogue of examples of necessary Truths, e.g. the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is π, and any gure with different proportions is not truly a circle (for an endless expanse of further necessary Truths, simply peruse Wolfram Mathworld's wiki). e impossibility of nothingness existing is another neces-

sary Truth, an analytic, logically unassailable axiom. I contend that the information physical systems embody can only arise as a property of the Universe from the network of relations between the necessary Truths held at all times and all places in Awareness, and that these are clearly not at all human inventions nor are they con ned to human thought. (I'll be using the words logic, Truth, and mathematics interchangeably, since mathematics is an instructive representative of necessary Truths.) Only things that are logically possible to exist can exist, and mathematics, or the more inclusive term Truth, de-

nes what is possible to exist. For example, a circle can't exist that is a square, and being inhabitants and participants in this informational system, we can examine logically why that is. (It has nothing to do with human labeling or de ning; the two gures have con icting logical properties.) To those of you who do not yet understand that mathematics is not a human invention but a Universal property: Where did the capacity for humans to think mathematically come from? Did humans invent the brain mechanisms that recognize mathematical and logical truth? Obviously, no, their existence is a prerequisite for mathematical understanding in humans. Does human mathematical thought require mathematical truth to exist as a prerequisite? Clearly, yes; there would be no way for our neurons to discover this logic if it were nonexistent, and there would be no way to reach general, universal mathematical conclusions without mathematical truth existing independently of our nite brains. Here's a simple test you can perform to prove to yourself that numbers really exist. Open up any word processor program, and type the following words: “Mathematics is a fundamental aspect of the Universe; it describes much of the informational content of the Universe, applying to all that exists physically, all that could possibly exist, and everything which is logically true and false about the Universe. (All that is true is de ned by all that is untrue, just as all that is untrue is de ned by

all that is true.)” Highlight that text (leave out the apostrophes, of course), and perform a word count. Your program will tell you that there are 64 words and 368 characters in that selection. Now, if there is no such thing as number, how could every computer reliably identify that there are 64 things which share one complex characteristic (namely, being a string of characters bounded by spaces) and 368 things which share another complex characteristic (being any symbol encoded in the selection) highlighted? Where did the computer get that information, if number only exists in human minds? Where indeed. How could each fact represent something true about the Universe (that there are 64 words highlighted comprising 368 characters), if the information making up that truth does not simultaneously exist in the Universe? If you are two meters tall and I am one meter tall, the ratio between our heights (2:1) exists whether we have a language to express this fact or not (along with all the ratios comparing every different size, speed, duration, and every possible intelligible proportion amongst things existent or possibly existent). It is part of the information encoded within and making up the relationships between existent things; it is in fact these relationships between existent things which characterize the being of Existence. Every single thing exists as the embodiment of all the Truths which describe what that thing is. For this reason, the effectiveness of mathematics is not at all unreasonable– mathematics ex-

plores some of the most fundamental and primary logical requirements of Truth, and every existent phenomenon embodies all the Truths which de ne its existence. Seven is not a prime number because people designed it to be divisible only by itself and 1, humans recognize it as prime because upon examination it is discovered to be divisible only by itself and 1, given all the logic comprising what these concepts represent. It is astounding that we haven't yet found a mathematical way to predict where prime numbers should be found on the number line. We cannot mathematically analyze or understand numbers and all the boundless information they encode; this fact alone should make it glaringly obvious that number is a system beyond our invention. Even before the system of information described by human mathematics is discovered by intelligent life, the primes are still prime, the squares are still square, the angles within a triangle add up to two right angles, and so on. A musical major triad sounds the way it does not because human ingenuity invented a pleasing harmony, but because the sound waves' frequencies mathematically correspond in whole number ratios, which physically resonate and thereby reinforce each other with a sonorous ring (2:3 between root and and 5:6 between third and h, 4:5 between root and third,

h), and which our logical brains can easily

decode.

e examples are limitless in number because everything that

exists arises from the foundation of cosmic logic, undying Truth.

•§•

What instantiates physical existence– of what material does this sublime Universe of nature consist? Put simply, the energy and force making up the Universe are the necessary expression and embodiment of the information in Awareness. Above, it is argued that no physical content can exist without there existing Cosmic Awareness, knowing all the information pertaining to that content; it is equally true that the Awareness of that information cannot exist without the realm embodying its content and relationship to other information, that which we call the physical. If there is no embodiment of the content of information, there is no information; the information pertaining to the existence of any physical object is wholly contained and expressed in the characteristics of its physical being. e most central, basic necessary Truths represent the in nite but speci c boundary to the possible, and underlie all points in this continuous web of Existence. Each of these central Truths exists based on its own infallibility; further Truths necessarily follow which depend on these central Truths for their own validity. All of these in turn suggest

and require further Truths, generating a system of hierarchical necessities which de nes all possibility in Existence. rough a subtle and mo-

mentous string of requirements, this unimpeachable logical system necessarily gives rise to energy, and the laws of physics de ning the possibilities open to that energy. Everything you can see, think and experience has at its fundamental basis the pure logic of Universal Truth. All of these phenomena exist as systems of information and logic extended from Truth; energy, force, space, time, and consciousness are all systems of Universal information. e answer to the question “why does all energy unfailingly fol-

low the laws of physics?” is that energy is the embodiment of the laws of physics; energy must abide by the fundamental physical laws because energy is the direct expression of those physical laws. In its inexhaustible outpouring of change over time, energy ful lls the requirement that there can never exist nothingness anywhere in Existence. Truth expressed in force is the logical framework through which this information ows, at every point serving to determine exactly how that energy can exist and change; energy can never undergo an interaction that fails to abide by the logic, extended from Truth, which makes up the existence of that energy. Here is a good point to remember that we are physically comprised of atoms and molecules, bundles of energy and force, and that the

unimaginably dynamic interchange of these bits of information actually causes all of the sensations and ideas we experience. e information

they embody represents all that is True of them, including the information pertaining to their relationship with other existent things. All information is a consequence of the behavior of the fundamental Truths interacting, contradicting and resolving, a process which manifests as the laws of physics which de ne everything about what the Universe is, how it can change and interact– these physical Truths de ne the existence of those atoms; there is no separation between the Existence of the atoms and the laws of physics which de ne them and serve as their basis. Indeed, there can be no fundamental separation of some region in Existence from another; every single thing's existence is comprised of its informational relationships with every other thing in existence, comprising the being of Cosmic Awareness. All possibility exists at once, contained and implied by all necessary Truths and the logical relationship between these Truths. However, from considering the existence of time it is clear that not all possibility can have physical expression at once; all physical realizations of necessary Truth's possibility take the form of energetic change over time in the ways allowed and required by the fundamental laws of physics. e most

central necessary Truths are timeless, never changing, and the informational consequences of their existence underly and give rise to all ener-

getic ux. Moment by moment, this never-ending interchange embodies the in nite possibilities contained within logical Truth, con ned in its random unfolding only by the limits set by the permanent nonexistence of the impossible. A uranium atom, for example, is a tiny bundle of a huge amount of energy, encapsulated in the way that it is based on the logic of force dictating the interactions between the conditions of the energy therein, the electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, and minuscule gravitational characteristics of that energy. If the nucleus of this atom were energetically split, force would govern the transition of the energy in the atom's strongly bound nucleus as it is converted into new groupings of particles, alongside an explosion of light, pressure and heat, each phenomena drawing the logic of its existence from Truth. Time, space, and the physical laws that govern energy are also implied by and contained within Truth. Time is nothing but change in energy, be it through motion in space, oscillation in heat, propagation in electromagnetic waves, etc.; the passing of time occurs as Universal information changes. Energy cannot change without time. (Where there's no change, no heat, no energy, internally in that system there would be no time passing, though that system would exist in its static state relative to the changes occurring in the rest of the Universe. Due to zero-point energy, it seems that no such static system can exist.)

e Truths comprising the existence of the real numbers contain (among other things) the logic of proportion, for example, that 2 is twice as great as 1, 1 is 47 times as large as 1/47, and the entire scope of the in nite range of proportions suggested by the existence of numbers. is

conceptual logic of proportion is physically embodied in space, which holds the explanation to the content of its being in mathematical proportions. In other words, space exists as the physical embodiment of the basic cosmic Truths of the in nite mathematics of continuity in dimensional proportion. Space and the Truth de ning space are not separate phenomena; space is the embodiment of, the fabric of that logic, necessarily expressing the limitless information it entails. All of the logical axioms uncovered by geometry are contained in every point in space; no ma er how small or large the point in question, that point is both in nitely small relative to the in nite span of larger possible sizes and in nitely large relative to the in nite spectrum of smaller possible sizes contained therein. (However, the eld of energy which we are a part of and which lls the possibility outlined by space is warped away from this foundational, omni-homogenous shape by its interaction with energy, causing mass and gravitation, a process described in much more detail in Part II, Chapters 1 and 2 of this book.) e integers represent (among other things) the interrelationships between indivisible units of equal proportion (1s) following and

adding to each other in in nite sequence.

e integers exist in the fact

that components of the Universe are countable; one quality that two electrons and two protons share is the abstract property “two”. Division occurs every time force is distributed amongst particles, the impulse dividing into every applicable particle and eld in the region. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication are forms of counting, (among other things) de ning the logical consequences of proportional relation. (E.g. that a length divided equally into 10 parts can be grouped into 5 portions of length 2, 2 portions of length 5, or 10 portions of length 1, and the same length divided equally into 27,644,437 parts (being prime) can only be said to have 27,644,437 portions of length 1, and no other groupings (without further dividing the portions.) e duality between positive and negative numbers is represented in nature in force at all times, in charge, in momentum, etc. Wherever Newton's third law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) is being obeyed in nature (which happens in every single reaction between units of energy, an effectively in nite amount of times in the vast Universe every second), positive and negative logical magnitudes exist with respect to each other. When a leaf falls from a tree, the number describing how many leaves are in the tree is subtracted from by 1; simultaneously, the number describing how many leaves are falling through air towards the Earth at

that moment is added to by 1. (Of course, this is not to say that there is some numeral oating out there in space recording these numbers; these numbers exist in the informational makeup of the truth describing and comprising the contents of the Universe– the subtraction from the number of leaves in the tree is a necessary informational consequence of the leaf falling from the tree, and is part of what describes the existence of the leaf and tree.) Soon a er this, when the leaf lands on the ground, the number describing how many leaves are falling through the air is subtracted from by 1, and the number of leaves on the ground is added to by 1. During the leaf 's falling, it picks up and expends kinetic energy. is energy is at rst all contained as potential energy in the leaf 's gravitational position; as the leaf accelerates through the gravitational eld it is situated in, part of that potential energy is expressed as motion. is

kinetic energy is divided amongst the octillions of atoms the leaf 's energy interacts with; the sound of the leaf 's falling alone causes more atoms to move than there have been seconds in the history of the Universe. Which atoms happen to be directly affected by the leaf are determined by their geometrical position in the Universe, information which is accounted for in Cosmic Awareness. Many nitrogen atoms will pick up momentum due to the leaf 's motion, but it is true that the nitro-

gen atoms which happen to occupy the Crab Nebula are not among these special few; only those nitrogen atoms in the leaf 's direct vicinity are directly in uenced by its motion. If these atoms were not geometrically near the leaf 's tree of origin at the time the leaf falls, those atoms would not be directly affected by the leaf 's motion. (Chaos theory attempts to describe the improbable possibility that distant atoms can be affected indirectly by minuscule motions like this, and Truth contains the information making up these types of possibilities.) To reemphasize the points made so far, Truth describes what exists; any single object's existence depends on the innumerable facts which encode what is True about that object. Mathematical, purely logical Truths account for a great lion's share of this Truth, and it is for this reason that mathematics is so profoundly successful when used by humans to model and interpret Universal phenomena. More complex mathematics, built up from the interplay of more fundamental properties like size, duration, and the mysterious logic of particulate interaction are expressed physically in systems like atoms, chemistry, and our DNA. Natural selection, the primary mechanism for evolution, arises as a logical system of Truth from its constituent smallerscale logical systems: the laws of chemistry (which water's unique qualities of adhesion, cohesion and surface tension directly proceed from, as well as carbon's diverse potential for bonding), the logic of gene replica-

tion, life's consistent requirement for energy (be it energy from the sun or energy from eating those organisms which photosynthesize, or from eating those plant-eating organisms), sex and genderization, the competitive nature of survival, the general tendency for far more offspring to be produced than the environment can support, et cetera. e logic within our various languages directly extends from more simple properties of reality; language is a logical form within which information can be linearly encoded and communicated. Words serve as shared general ideas around which our personal thoughts can crystallize more easily, and be communicated more clearly, though the special connotations we personally hold in mind when we think of different words in different contexts are never perfectly conveyed through speech or body language. If there were no logic fundamental to Existence, we could not possibly invent language; the existence of the logic underlying our languages is the prerequisite material to their development, and is not a product of their creation as we generally believe. Similarly, nothing we “create” is created by us; we simply rearrange and join systems of information and logic which are already present to build them into new, novel or useful forms. Examples can be found in any one of our technologies. ey all

depend on more central logical properties for their emergent utility, e.g., to function, our cars require the physical logic of force, utilized in our

engineering of the engine, gears, axles and wheels, and make use of the chemical structure of gasoline, and the resultant explosion of energy when a spark of sufficient temperature is introduced to a mist of gasoline particles; each of these systems of logic and information are derived from more fundamental Truths. A similar nested hierarchy is present in our computers, the internet, the monetary system, the post office, our cultures, our emotions, our minds; in short, in every composite thing that is not itself a necessary Truth. is progression of larger systems of

emergent logic arising from the cumulative effect of sufficient numbers of smaller-system logical interactions spans the boundless spectrum from those described by quantum mechanics to those governing the progression of stars and galaxies. Smaller still in size and duration than quantum logic are the physical processes summing together to give rise to quantum phenomena, just as larger in size and duration than our mathematics of galactic evolution must be the physical processes made up of interaction of spans of energy larger than the observable Universe over hundreds of trillions of years (with the Universe making up a microcosmic subset of the larger system; more on this idea in Part II, Chapter 3). In nity extends beyond the limits of our investigation in every possible direction, and is physically existent wherever it extends.

e foundational Truths underlying Existence not only de ne what exists, but all that is logically and informationally possible to exist. Just as every possible three-dimensional form exists within the potential of every three-dimensional enclosure of space (i.e. every possible marble sculpture exists already in a slab of sufficient size), every possible piece of music exists in the possibility represented by the logical system of music, of sound, pitch, and rhythmic relations over time. A Michelangelo or a Beethoven recognizes more possibility than lesser artists. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata never existed in actuality before he wrought it into being, only as a secret and unlikely gem of universal possibility. Now that it has explicit being, its existence has been re ected in millions of minds, each personally lending the work a unique signi cance based on the way they experience it in the context of their lives, dispositions and emotions. e possibility for you to be reading this sentence at this time and place in your life has always existed; it needed an almost in nitely unlikely set of circumstances to come to pass (including several billion years of Earthly evolution in this corner of this galaxy happening exactly the way it did, and the events of your life and mine unfolding exactly the way they did, not to mention the preceding billions of years of star birth and rebirth allowing the Earth to se le into the speci c orbit it now occupies, set in motion by the exact unfolding of the energy released by the

Big Bang), but the possibility for it to occur always has and always will be part of the possibility inherent to the Truth making up Existence. e same can be said of all your experiences, and every possible event and circumstance. Every possible something, be it an object, an experience, an event, a life form, etc., everything possible to exist is implied by and contained within the boundless possibility represented by Truth, and the conglomerative relations between Truths. A planet of more suitable conditions like the lovable Earth realizes more of this inherent possibility than an unsuitable planet, a Venus or Mercury. Of course, both Venus and Mercury represent the interaction between mind-boggling numbers of atoms swept up in vortices of physical possibility, but on a planet more suitable to the delicate balance of life, these vortices yield subjectivity, imagination, technology, transcendence. e only piece

missing from this in nite, owering potential is -nothingness-.

•§•

Everything that exists embodies Truth. Even falsehoods are Truths; it is true that they are false. For example, it is true that this statement is false: “ is great sentence is comprised of four thousand

le ers.” Truths de ne all falsehoods; the sentence contains exactly 49 le ers, so it is false to say it comprises any other number of le ers. It is

interesting that in a self referential statement like this, where the number stated changes the number of le ers in the sentence, it can be impossible to state it with truth. For example “ is great sentence is comprised of

forty-nine le ers.” is still false, because now the sentence contains 46 le ers. “ “ is great sentence is comprised of forty-six le ers.” contains 45.

is great sentence is comprised of forty- ve le ers.” again contains 46:

this particular sentence has no possible logical resolution where it can state a truth. Gödel's famous incompleteness theorems rely on this potential for paradox arising from logical self-reference. It seems that only a vast exaggeration of the signi cance of this realization would lead a logician to believe that because all axiomatic systems contain instances of irresolvable self-reference, no axiomatic systems can represent absolute truths. is would be a misinterpretation of the value of Gödel's theo-

rem; it simply acknowledges the unavoidably paradoxical nature of selfreference in a logical system. Even the grand logical system of Existence might be considered incomplete in this sense, based on the paradox “ only way for nothingness to exist is for it not to exist.” e

e contradictory

nature of self-referential de nition is explored more fully in Part 2, Chapter 6. In any case, the entire breadth of falsehoods pertaining to any truth (e.g. 1+1=2) are contained within and implied by that one truth

(i.e. 1+1≠3, 1+1≠4, 1+1≠5... as well as 1+1≠ a ham sandwich, 1+1≠ Betelgeuse). us, an in nite number of falsehoods surround every Truth,

and these falsehoods in themselves represent Truths, in that it is true that they are false. If it weren't true that they are false, the Truth would exist differently; the in nite falsehoods surrounding Truths de ne those Truths, just as those Truths de ne the falsehoods relating to them. ere

are uncountably in nite sets of Truths and falsehoods for every single thing in Existence, because every thing in Existence exists relative to every other thing in Existence; Existence is one whole, comprised of the inter-de nition of its parts, such that no component part can be separated from the whole. Truths are de ned in in nite ways by the interrelationships between components of Existence. e path that every one of your atoms

has taken through space since their formation exists in Truth; that is, if a carbon atom in your right eye was forged in the same supernova as an atom of oxygen in your le big toenail, this fact will always be true, contained in the history of the Universe (the chain of causality which leads to these atoms occupying the present situation), even if we could never nd it out. One could ra le off instances of the mind-meltingly complex system of Truths and Untruths in Existence without end; there is nothing you can think about that doesn't represent Truth. (E.g. you might try to disprove this by thinking 1+1=3, yet it is True that this is false.)

•§•

To recap, our Universe is the part of the physical embodiment of Cosmic Awareness that we happen to inhabit and can possibly observe. Consciousness of Truth exists at all points in Existence, from in nitely small to in nitely large, and it is the Awareness of Truth that de nes how energy can interact, how gravity pulls, how light propagates, how water ows, and how action potentials in neurons are orchestrated. Cosmic Awareness contains not only the possibility for the rules of chess to exist, but every possible chess game given those rules. Awareness contains not only the possibility for numbers to exist and to describe the relationships between existent entities, but every possible number and logical interrelationship therein, including every mathematical operation and theorem we have so far uncovered. e interplay between information (in the form of energy and force) and the logic of Truth dictating how the two can interact combine to embody a sublimely limitless breadth of potential; energy can nd a restful (though ultimately temporary) home in atoms, which can group into molecules and participate in chemical reactions, the logical possibilities of which can produce self-replicating molecules, life, and eventu-

ally your lovely awareness. Where more energy is compounded into larger and larger systems, more information is there embodied. e entirety of the atoms in the sun, for example, represents an absolutely staggering amount of information, and the physical characteristics of the sun, its nuclear reactions, gravity, and the light it gives off, are consequences of its physical informational content, expressed in energy and force. Similarly, the molecules in the sea of air we bo om-dwell in each occupy a distinct informational point of existence at any moment; each one has a speci c place in space and time relative to every other object in spacetime regardless of its velocital or accelerational conditions; each one behaves exactly as it should given its logical makeup and its logical interaction with every force that applies to it, and each is internally characterized by its hierarchical information structure (arising out of the informational interchanges in its constituent particles, and their interactions with the forces acting on them). e leaf falling into the river before me at this moment is the highest culmination of the necessary Truths summing to that leaf 's existence that I can readily observe, its path through the air temporarily representing the change in Universal information from the leaf occupying the tree to the leaf oating downstream. Every event, including every action you take, changes the informational content of the Universe: for instance, as your eyes scan these lines, the information modeled in your

brain is changing, the position of your eyes relative to the page is changing, etc. Breathing in, you set off a cascade of cellular chemical interchanges involving speci c molecules, which used to be part of the informational (energetic) content of the atmosphere, and are now spiraling down your arteries into trillions of your cells. If you pick up a handful of dirt and throw it into the air, you've rewri en the history of those specks of dirt, which now each have a different orientation than they did previously and are sca ered in different locations; like all information, this information is connected to all the information in Existence by being known to Cosmic Awareness. Consider the information contained in a spider's web: the chemical makeup of it, the shape it occupies in space (relative not only to the trees around it and the Earth, but to every atom in every galaxy (within its light-cone, a relativistic concept describing the area over which information pertaining to its existence can extend, limited by the speed of light)), the air it displaces, the statistical trap it represents to each ying bug in the area, the vanishingly minuscule gravitational pull it exerts on the world around it, and most of all, its origins. is gorgeously

complex network of information relies on the spider to weave it into being, and that speci c spider's existence depends upon billions of years of evolution along the unique path its entire ancestry took in the context of the evolution of all the species evolving concurrently.

e same astounding breadth of origin precedes every individual life form, and truly every event; observe a tree, its gorgeous fractal branching, its elegant molecular machinery, the pleasing texture of its color and form touching your mind. To reach the habitat it now occupies, the tree's ancestry has taken an extremely lengthy journey in time and distance from the seas, where its ultimate ancestors (and ours) originated. All of this, both the tree in itself and the inner re ection of its nature in your awareness required an effectively in nite amount of unlikely circumstances to arrange into the informational system that the interaction between you and tree represent. Not a single thing exists that is unnatural. A beehive is as natural an embodiment of Truth as a cloud hanging in the light of a sunset, or an electron, and a car arises from Cosmic possibility into existence by the exact same overarching set of natural laws as stars and planets. Your experience of the Universe is just as much a part of the Universe as gravity, water and light are. Your personal awareness is a owering bud of Eternal Truth, perfectly indivisible from all of Existence.

CHAPTER 5

Mind and the Illusion of Dualism
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. ~Khalil Gibran

e assumption that consciousness is a substance distinct from physical reality is the standard belief which the majority of people throughout history have shared. at this belief has been so widely held

is not surprising; at rst glance, our minds indeed seem radically different from the substances making up our bodies and the physical world around us. You can't pick up someone's mind, you can't see another person's mind, and you can't experience another person's mind. e mind is

our private domain, whereas the physical world is a public space we can experience equally. ough such an understanding of mind seems suit-

able on rst glance, it has many critical aws. If something is to have an in uence on physical reality, it must itself have a physical aspect. e force of its in uence on the physical

world necessarily is its physical manifestation; without such a physical

in uence, the thing in question could not possibly interact with the physical world. It is clear that our minds interact with the physical world; if not, how is my mind causing my hands to type this right now? It is also clear that the physical world in uences the content of mind; if this weren't the case, how could the light coming from this page cause the image of these words to materialize in your mind? Every sensation we feel is the result of our brain's interaction with the physical world, and everything we know of the physical world we perceive mentally. Traditionally, it has been assumed that our inner experience of the world is completely separate from the outer world, as if our bodies frame a bubble separating our inner, conscious world from being part of the external physical world. However, essentially all the evidence uncovered by modern neuroscience suggests that our minds arise from the swarm of energetic exchange carried out by our neurons; there are countless experiments in which an experimenter physically affects a patient's neurons, while the patient notes de nite effects this has on their mind. With FMRI, we can watch how the brain responds to various stimuli in real time, and note how these responses are correlated with experiential effects. On account of these facts, what reason do we have to believe that the information making up our minds and the information making up the physical Universe are fundamentally different types of information?

It turns out there is no reason to believe such a thing; in reality, there is but a continuum of energy and force, with some rare and minuscule regions (living creatures) processing more logical information at a quicker rate and with more complexity than the relatively simple informational exchange automatically undergone by physical energy and force in the natural world. Both the conscious, willful experience which we inhabit and the interactions of particles obeying fundamental laws represent different shades of the never-ending informational exchange of energy interacting over time in the Awareness which underlies and enables it all. at is, physical and mental are manifestations of one ultie physical

mate substance: information within Cosmic Awareness.

aspect of this in nite mind is the Universe, the in nite string of Universes preceding it and to follow it, and all possible Universes or frames of existence. e mental or experiential aspect of this mind is the Know-

ing of the interrelationships and unfolding of this energetic information, along with the Truths which gives rise to and which de ne the possibilities for that physical energy. e boundless potential represented by the Truth at the heart of Existence gives rise to all dynamic energy, division, and change; every individual phenomenon in Existence is a direct extension of, and is thus indivisible from, the One, Cosmic Awareness. distinct from the physical. ere is no spirit world

e concept of an individual soul that tran-

scends physical reality is ill-conceived; if you possess a soul that is completely immaterial, that soul can have absolutely no contact with nor inuence on your life here in the physical realm. What about it makes it yours? It seems that the commitment to the concept of having a soul of ineffable spirit arises from the historical difficulty of accounting for consciousness, and from hope for an a erlife. I'll address both of these concepts in great detail later on in this writing, but for now, the point I'm making is that if a thing is connected to the physical world in any way at all (for example, by in uencing it or by being affected by it), that thing is perfectly inseparable from the physical world. Human consciousness, and consciousness in general, is a substance arising from energetic interplay in Cosmic Truth; it is not ethereal spirit distinct from the physical world. (Again, if it were, it could not have any interaction with the physical world, and we can very clearly see that our minds are in uenced by the physical.) I conjecture that the substance of human (and all) consciousness is in fact the energetic processing and modeling of information itself. e interchange of energetic im-

pulses between neurons represents (like all energetic change) information in Cosmic Awareness. All energy is equivalent to information in Awareness; the conditions of every bit of energy and the relations between all the energy in the Universe are informationally present in Cos-

mic Awareness. (

eir informational presence in Awareness is their

physical being, containing all that is True of their existence.) Your personal consciousness is the local fabric of Cosmic Awareness (which exists at all points in space and time), brie y containing your body and the physical, energetic information comprising it: we experience this small subsection of the whole of Cosmic Awareness. e

actual feel of subjectivity, the "me" which experiences our lives, is the Awareness of Existence called into sel ood by the cumulative informational exchange in our brains and bodies. is conception represents a solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness, which asks why experience exists at all, why the informational processing in the brain results in this vivid spectrum of real sensations. As put forward above, all information in Existence is accompanied by and embodied within the necessary Awareness of that information. In gathering and processing information, brains generate an informational model of that information, which represents a self-contained reproduction of that information/Awareness; it is this higher-tiered informational system which we experience as our consciousness, our thoughts and sensations. Your experiences, arising from the informational processing undergone by your nervous system, make up part of the Cosmic Awareness present in the space you take up at the time you inhabit that space, alongside the Knowing (inaccesible to your biological consciousness) of

the physical nature and behavior of all your atoms and sub-atomic particles, and the relative position in spacetime of the region you inhabit (making up the fundamental Awareness of the physical world which your brain informationally re ects in its modeling). Consciousness is therefore not the production of our brains, exactly, but is the omnipresent essence of Existence, modulated through neural logical interaction to re ect in Awareness the energetic information our brains interpret and coordinate. In human minds, the unimaginably huge number of these logical interchanges occurring each second sums to the vividness of consciousness we experience, waning in tiredness and waxing in excitement or intense focus. Everything about our consciousness relates to the speed and character of neuronal logical interchange, including our emotions, sensations, the sound and understanding of our thoughts in our mind, and the speed at which time seems to pass. e moral and existential rami cations of these ideas will be explored in later chapters, but in this chapter and the next, I want to examine the question “What is the nature of the interaction between brain and mind, how does it proceed?”

•§•

One of the most signi cant elements in understanding the operation of the human mind is the relationship between consciousness and the subconscious. ere is no strict divide between the two, but a

hierarchy of participatory in uence which is shared by these components of mind. e conscious mind can be de ned as the cumulative

result of the brain's processes related to understanding and responding to the external world (and evaluating how conditions in the external world make the inner world of sensation feel); animal consciousness is a survival tool, which in humans has developed into a sophisticated rational engine. e Cosmic Awareness which accompanies the energetic

reality of this set of information processed by the brain experiences the consequences of that information, all our sensations and thoughts. e

subconscious element of mind can be de ned as the rest of the informational processing undergone by the brain, some of which is devoted to responding to information gathered by the conscious mind, and most of which is devoted to tasks which consciousness is not responsible for, such as nutrient distribution, the monitoring of breathing and heart rate, the release of various hormones, the generation of hunger, and the processing of sense data necessary to forming a model of the external world for consciousness to respond to. As you can see, the action of subconscious brain processing often informs and motivates conscious thought and action, and for this

reason cannot be considered strictly non-conscious. For example, while the conscious mind is operating on a speci c experiential issue, perhaps correctly lling out a document, the brain is at work processing volumes of information pertaining to generating a model of the world based on sense data, evaluating its danger/safety value, controlling bodily upkeep, and reevaluating memories in reference to the present moment, to perhaps be of some value to the conscious mind's tasks of survival in the external world. Much of this informational content is emotional; our mood is generally the product of our subconscious evaluating and processing the implications of emotionally charged memories, which in uences the content of our consciousness. It is important to recognize that Cosmic Awareness Knows the content of subconscious informational processing in the same way that it Knows our conscious experience; the only reason we do not experience that region of Cosmic Awareness is because the region of Cosmic Awareness we occupy, that devoted to the tasks of consciousness, is not involved in guiding those subconscious processes. It is almost the same reason my human consciousness is not experiencing the consciousness of people around me right now; my region of Cosmic Awareness is informationally distinct from theirs (being located in my brain, separate from the operation of their brains). In the same way, the highest layer of the conscious/subconscious level we occupy is informationally distinct

from the multitudinous lower-level processes underlying it; we do not experience the full breadth of subconscious reality because we are situated in the informational realm pertaining to the demands of conscious survival and activity in the external world. e conscious mind represents a level of Cosmic Awareness above and beyond the existence of the subconscious brain processes; it is the informational summation of all subconscious information processing undergone by our brains in the interest of survival in the external world (and enjoying life most fully). Because of this, ma ers more pertinent to the o en external task at hand are more clearly present in consciousness; that is, Cosmic Awareness contains the experience of all internal brain processes, though from the perspective of our outwardfacing, survival-oriented consciousness, each has a de nite experiential volume based on where our focus is turned and how involved the process is. e individual brain processes performed by lower-level networks

of neurons independent of conscious guidance can be thought of as only relatively subconscious from our conscious, top-of-the-informationalhierarchy perspective, in that they are experientially present in Cosmic Awareness, just not in the same region of experiential awareness our externally-focused conscious mind occupies. To clarify, conscious activity which we explicitly experience, like performing well in a job interview, might span every brain region, taking

information from the visual and auditory eld and synthesizing it with information from our centers of memory, our social circuitry, our higher reasoning, etc. is brain-wide process has center stage in our awareness

simply by virtue of the energetic complexity of its enactment, and the necessity for our highest-level consciousness to guide it. On the other hand, a fundamentally subconscious activity, like the distribution of nutrients to cells in need, operates with no input from our conscious mind, and is therefore not experientially present in the spectrum of things we consciously experience. Our consciousness is the sum of all physical logic interactions in the brain pertaining to understanding and responding to the demands of the outer world. ough each of our thoughts is comprised of millions

of energetic neuronal exchanges (coordinated by subconscious processes), we experience them each as whole ideas, an experiential representation of the informational content they amount to, and therein lies the power of the mind: as the global effect of all smaller processes in the informational hierarchy of brain, mind contains at once a comprehensive informational picture of all its constituent processes. is theory offers a

very nice solution to one of the most puzzling riddles of neuroscience, the 'binding problem', which asks "how do all of the brain's disparate processes (sight, hearing, calculating, imagining, feeling, etc.) appear at once in one single mind?" e mind is the highest informational level of

the brain-mind hierarchy, the single effect of all the smaller components of brain activity combined in the subjective experience of tremendous numbers of lower-level universal logic operations. Every brain process is represented in the same awareness- it's not as if each separate brain region were connected to a central hub, with the hearing part of the brain connected to the seeing part of the brain through this consciousness center. ere is no "seat of consciousness" in the brain where all informa-

tion modeled therein must pass through to reach conscious awareness; all informational exchange therein is present in Awareness. If a region in the right hemisphere is processing a melody that appeared from the chance melding of memories from several songs heard previously, and a region from the le hemisphere contains the neural mechanisms for whistling, mind at once has access to both of these disparate brain regions, by containing them both in the same space of Awareness. To combine the two, mind simply recognizes the connection between the two concepts and the desire to utilize their compatibility, and this new logical input from the informational summation of the mind is echoed in the brain, and impels the ow of action potentials across the brain channels which results in the content of the melody being transmi ed to the whistling apparatus and then produced in sound.

Mind has access to the informational import of both processes simultaneously, though the disparate neural networks handling that information are not directly interacting in brain. In the case of whistling, mind's recognition of a desired logical connection between the disparate neural structures is re ected in brain as new neural activity: the transferral of the information making up the melody to the neural networks associated with tongue and lip coordination.

It is the function of mind to perceive the possibility for a logical connection between disparate regions of neural activity; by connecting the two, mind forges a new logical concept, and this information serves as new input for the brain's lower-level, distributed neural processing. In effect, mind closes a recursive loop in the brain/mind hierarchy, wherein the functions of neural informational processing serve as input for the mind's highest-level processing, and the results of mind's highest-level processing (thinking, surveying possibilities buried throughout the brain's memories and elaborating simple concepts by connecting these possibilities) serve as inputs for the multitudinous array of lower-level processing centers throughout the brain. Mind connects the productions of brain's regions by following where the sensations of their emergent logic leads. When a brain region is working on producing an informational solution, mind can feel a hint of what that information will prove to be: in one common form, when feeling that a word or fact is on the tip of one's tongue, brain is busy trying different pa erns of neural ring to locate the logic comprising the word. Essentially, this equates in mind to playing hot and cold with each of brain's a empts at completing the desired logical connection; we can distantly feel what information is buried in the circuits of our neurons, and tell the brain what neurons to re as we try to narrow down to the concept we are looking for. e search is re ned by mind continually as

new neural pa erns are engaged, eventually honing in on the desired concept. Once a concept is chosen, it is apparently encoded into short term memory and cycled there until the mind either has connected it to another concept, used it to frame the informational context for another decision, or moved on to an unrelated thought-process, in which case the neurons engaged in cycling that information quickly drop it to help process new information.
In the context of this theoretic framework, the solution to the mind/body problem (more appropriately, the mind/brain problem) can be seen a li le more clearly.

e mechanism of this interaction can be ex-

plained in terms of the equality of the physical and mental as two shades of the one all-pervading substance, energy/information. break in Existence, no realms separate from any other. ere is no

ere is only one-

ness, with energy cycling through the in nite possibilities therein moment by moment. My consciousness is not separate from this energetic realm, it is a unique manifestation of its inherent potential. Our personal awarenesses directly re ect the energetic reality of the world around us; there is no break between the physical phenomena of our brains' informational processing and our conscious perception of that information; the two are different features of one phenomenon. Because both brain and mind are aspects of this single informational continuum, the mind cannot evaluate the overall content of the

brain's processes without in uencing those processes; mind does not stand apart from brain and perceive its informational content, but perceives that content through its interaction with it. In the very act of perceiving different regions of brain activity, mind in uences that activity; mind and brain are equal participants in the informational processing undergone therein. e mind and brain interchange information like

two mirrors face to face, with the storm of informational activity in the brain logically organized and re ected in the consciousness of the mind. If the mind recognizes the opportunity for change amidst the emerging pa erns of information, it can bring those changes into being by focusing on them, by bringing them into one logical picture. In uencing the informational content of the brain is a cooperative function that requires input from the brain-encompassing mind to operate on a high enough level for an organism's survival. Just think, as you read these lines, the information your brain models in response to these sights exists as a pa ern of neural-energetic interchange, and during the ring of those speci c brain regions, this experience manifests in your consciousness. Every single thought you think physically exists at a de nite location or network of locations within your head, embodied in the physical informational processing which corresponds to its mental realization. Amazingly, your conscious experience of this physical information is sophisticated enough to mod-

ify the physical existence of that information, morphing it into new forms and thus new experiences; for instance, read the rst ve words of the next sentence in ultra-slow motion. If you are doing so, it is because your consciousness understood what was wri en, and has chosen to compel your brain to perform such an unusual act of neuroinformational modeling. What an unimaginably valuable circumstance, being chief operator of such an outrageously able imagination-machine as a human brain.

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inking proceeds as an iterative process, with each new string of thoughts arising through the brain's distributed evaluation and modication of previous thoughts. Broadly stated, the conscious thinking we experience alternates between being directed by the multitudinous complex of lower-hierarchical-level neural systems at one moment (the subconscious processing of the pertinent information by a widespread network of neural regions), and by the overarching conscious mind at the next. As you make up your mind to do something, the act of thinking that thought affects the physical reality of brain; in fact, the concurrent change in the physical reality of the brain enables that thought. In other

words, the thought is the electrochemical (informational) change in the brain, the thought proceeding over time as the physical change unfolds. e experience of willfully thinking a thought occurs while the brain is in action electrochemically responding to and enacting the logical requirements of the thought; this is the period of time in which the conscious mind is generating an output, and the subconscious network within brain is receiving it as input. e new input is distributed

amongst the pertinent structures of the brain and is processed in reference to short-term and long-term memory (depending on the logic required to process that new information). As the brain's pertinent regions evaluate the elements of this information, the thought hangs in awareness, experienced in mind as a rapidly changing echo of the previous thought (rapidly changing based on brain's new processing of the thought). e direct, willful thinking of the thought happened in the

past, and in the present, mind perceives the return signals from the brain based on its calculations. A thought echoes in awareness for a moment, during which the mind evaluates the brain's reaction to the thought, before responding to it by integrating the new results to coalesce another thought; this new coordination of the disparate brain processes involved is the portion of consciousness we experience as willful. It is the part of experience that takes effort and input by us, conscious us, to occur.

e rate at which this interchange occurs is broadly represented by the frequency of neural oscillations (o en called brainwaves), with higher frequencies corresponding to more focused conscious engagement, and lower frequencies corresponding to periods of mental relaxation or sleep. is can be understood in terms of the rapidity with which

the brain's neural structures require input from the higher-order perspective of the conscious mind in order to proceed in their informational processing task; periods of high frequency neural oscillations represent trains of thought which would quickly lose momentum if consciousness were distracted from them; the neurons cannot keep up their informational interchange without active, coordinated input from the conscious mind in reference to information contained in disparate neural regions. On the other hand, low frequency neural oscillations characterize more somnolent mental states, like daydreaming or wandering thought, times when consciousness casually experiences the results of lower-order neural processing in the brain's various regions, and more or less watches them unfold naturally without in uencing them. Sometimes, when we are fatigued or are working on an especially difficult thought process, it takes a second or two before brain produces a result that mind wants to act on, that is, pick up on, combine with other fragments of thought, and explicitly think.

In order to investigate the nature of this interchange, here's an example to participate in: sing “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” all the way through to yourself in your mind. Now, what happened between your brain and mind in reading and responding to that sentence? Mind: Mind tells brain to tell eyes to look at those words intently. Brain: Brain receives information from retinas, decodes it, and interprets its content. Mind: Mind experiences the sound and meaning of each word as brain evaluates the information making up that content in several neural regions simultaneously. (In many cases, the information processed by one neural region is needed to modulate and guide other regions, and can only do so through mind's all-encompassing overview of brain processes: mind makes the necessary connections between disparate neural structures.) is process repeats until mind has experienced the com-

plete logical idea, the sentence. Brain: e full meaning of the sentence echoes in short term

memory, the information cycling among the neurons engaged in its modeling. Mind: e logical import of the sentence is experienced at once

in mind. Recognizing the imperative, mind decides whether or not to

carry out the called upon action. Assuming it did choose to sing the entire melody to itself: Brain: Based on this new information, brain searches through its voluminous hierarchical knowledge for the appropriate information: the tune and lyrics to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. e information appears

readily, because the title “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is linked to every neural structure which contains any part of the information making up the song; you cannot recognize what “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” refers to without accessing the neural structures making up its content. Mind: Mind perceives this search and its result as a glimpse of what the information as a whole will feel like when called into awareness; the sensation is: “I know that song, and here it is in my memory.” ( e processing between brain and mind occurs so quickly, in my mind

the melody of the rst ve words appears immediately upon reading them, apparently without any willful activity on my part.) However, in order to sing the whole song, mind must choose to activate that information by thinking it; mind willfully impels the brain to stop reading and process the logic of the song in order, in tune and in time. As this occurs, mind experiences the song. Brain: e information of what that experience was like is evalu-

ated by various regions of the brain, and it sits in short term memory while brain and mind co-evaluate.

Generally, the next thought occurs when mind, surveying the calculations of the various regions of the brain simultaneously, perceives enough of a connection between those regions to consolidate a new idea in response. is thought will be experienced by mind explicitly during

the span of time in which the mind is in uencing the brain to produce it: it is the force of mind's in uence that causes these connections to link up informationally. ese new connections are evaluated by brain; mean-

while, mind experiences the thought's echoing; mind is waiting for the next logical or desired step in the sequence to appear before reaching for it. In the above case, you likely simply read on a er thinking of the song. As thinking proceeds, mind rst grasps an overall picture, then brain divides that picture amongst all its regions for specialized processing. From these fragments of ideas, mind assembles another overall picture, which is again broken up for processing amongst the regions of the brain. is paying a ention to concepts built up subconsciously and

presented to mind's overseeing awareness by the brain is mind's function, the character and mechanism of all our conscious thoughts. ink-

ing thoughts naturally is effortless- the neural systems in the brain's lobes produce the roots of our thoughts subconsciously by processing sensory and emotional information in reference to data from memory, and the job of the mind is to recognize the import of the half-formed thoughts

from the sensations they present to consciousness and connect disparate ideas in a owing interchange. For example you might be thinking "What a lovely, sunny day." when a quiet sensation appears in your awareness; "Good day, Sunshine!" Your consciousness, intrigued by this novelty, focuses in on it: the Beatles song, courtesy of your memory and auditory systems. Another sensation appears, and your mind is free to call it into focus as long as more pressing ma ers ("don't get side-tracked, I need to nish this work") aren't taking up more conscious space; this other sensation links to the brain region of deep memory, to hearing the song as a youth, and now you're daydreaming about the good ol' days. Your mind is a bit like a telephone operator from the 40's- brain calls mind with a constant stream of impressions, sensations of what a train of thought is likely to contain, or rough impulses of what the thought will be when brought into focus in consciousness, and mind answers these calls by paying a ention to them, and connecting more subconscious thought-dra s to them in order to expand on them. New and different subconscious brain structures are activated based on the current train of thought in consciousness, taking cues from consciousness of what logical interchanges are required or useful. e creation of thought-dra s occurs in the subconscious, and the selection and experience of thoughts occurs in conscious awareness.

We are so practiced in connecting thoughts that (especially when under a lot of stress) we can spend hours, even days (!) on autopilot, experiencing our thoughts and brain activities but not willfully redirecting them from their natural direction. O en, to break a train of thought when our brain's structures are crunching away at the logical implications of that train of thought (especially when the state of mind is the result of emotional information), just feels wrong, as if we're ignoring our true selves and feelings, or because the train of thought feels like the most interesting and compelling thing to consider at that time. Also, try as we might to change our mental subject, the inertia of our subconscious o en drags us back into the train of thoughts which already have the momentum of current subconscious processing. oughts about emotional states tend to echo repeatedly between mind and brain for a period of time, because mind rather savors justifying how the emotion feels with brain's calculation of what occurred. If you perceive that a peer has disrespected or insulted you, your mind and brain might spend quite a long time responding to the emotional response this causes, imagining different ways you could have responded, cra ing a biting comeback to use next time, and generally recursively seething. It is hard to deny that anger feels good, really good on some level, even if seeing yourself angry makes you feel ashamed and

childish, and you are morti ed by the outcome of the anger in your thoughts and actions. e same is true of sadness and self-pity.

Remember this next time you've been locked in anger, boredom or sadness- your brain/mind is on a loop which is your mind's job to recognize and break. Remember also that happiness is a loop which your mind is free to generate at any time if the energy and willpower is applied consistently. Just as self-pitying or ge ing angry comes more naturally with practice, happiness and experiential comfort can become a habit. Holding any mental state takes less effort once that mental state has been occupied consistently; once the state is truly experienced, the neural circuitry underlying that state has been woven, and the more practice your brain has strengthening these connections, the easier the state is to maintain.

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My consciousness doesn't have to understand the neural mechanism of raising my right arm to put the action into motion; I simply imagine the sensation (referencing the memory of the desired action, which models the information in the brain) which pulls the mental trigger to enact it. Again, my mind is the sum total of my brain's activities devoted to living-

possibilities are presented to my experiencing mind by the brain and the neuronal storm of electrochemical interaction summing up to my mind swarms over salient concepts or potentialities. Because Awareness contains all of the content of brain activity, conscious mind, the all-encompassing biological perspective of that Awareness, is able to coordinate these disparate brain processes, and physically cause action potentials to operate nerves.

Mind presides over the elaborately branched network of brain structure and the activity emanating from those structures; it is the function of mind to experience several separate thoughts or sensations simultaneously and purposefully connect them to synthesize a new thought. (In the above case, by imagining the sensation and intention of raising my arm, which requires neural activity in several disparate brain regions, the required information is encoded and conveyed down my motor neurons.) Without mind, the brain's immense potential for rewiring and thought-expansion (learning) would be completely wasted; no spatially disparate concepts could connect to form ideas. How was this conscious command physically enacted? e

nerves involved in bodily sensation and movement are always active on a low level, giving my subconscious brain feedback about the status of the regions they connect to (pain, nutrient needs, oxygen requirement, etc.). ese interchanges are present in our consciousness on a low level as the

feeling of our body, e.g. if you focus on what your foot feels like, you are bringing the nervous interactions between the cells in your foot and your brain into the direct light of consciousness, whereas normally your consciousness is unaware of the sensation in your feet. ese nerve

pathways are ready for input, output and action at any time, be it from unconscious re ex (e.g. inching away from pain) or from conscious command (e.g. typing). Mind synthesizes new ideas drawing from the brain processes pertinent to mind's intent; mind oversees the large scale logical processing of smaller neural interactions separated from each other in different brain regions. is is roughly analogous to atoms of water clinging together to form ice blocks (as in millions of neural processes adding up to a thought or concept) and the stacking of those individual ice blocks together to form an igloo (as in the mind taking the large scale meaning of the activity between millions of individual neurons and combining it with other large scale meanings to form a new conscious concept or understanding by this synthesis of smaller scale, individual ideas). In typing this sentence, my mind pulls together the information it requires, imagines the sensation of typing it (referencing memories of years of typing practice encoded into my motor neural systems), my receptive motor neurons echo this logical input from the mind, and the desired signals are sent to the muscles in my wrists and ngers.

When you make any choice or drive a train of thought, your mind steers the thought by perceiving the way the logic underlying that train of thought should unfold, amidst a barrage of mental sensations representing alternative options of where the thought could lead. It is as if in thinking you are traveling through a maze of rooms connected by doors, where each turn you take (every thought you think) leads to another room with more doors, sometimes presenting you with several options of where the current path (thought) could take you. You can look into the rooms beyond each door to see where they might lead, and o en pause to evaluate the potential they each represent before continuing. (In thinking terms, this translates to: you can sense what the various thought-branches will mean to awareness when followed, for instance sensing both the delicious taste of chocolate and the self-parenting guilt of indulgence, and the toil of the treadmill and mask of self-image at once and choosing the next step based on those sensations.) Sometimes, at especially consequential moments, you reach a room where you can see one life beckoning from behind one door and a completely different life waiting behind the other door; choosing between these consequential options usually requires an extended period of thought, which consists of calculating the imaginable set of outcomes of both choices and thus framing them in different lights, hopefully making one stand out as the de nite favorite, despite its aws and the merits

of the other choice. If we can reach this clarity in time, we can make the decision con dently. If we are pressed for time, we are o en unable to appropriately test the waters, and must plunge in blindly.

CHAPTER 6

Elements of Human and Non-Human Consciousness
To brie y restate the broader perspective framing the above assertions: physical Universes exist as emanations from the eternal being of Truth, Cosmic Awareness, necessarily expressing the in nite possibility therein over an in nity of time. e interactions of energy and force,

direct embodiments of logical Truth, realize that boundless potential, eventually compounding layers of logical systems together by its elegant laws, resulting in chemical reactions, cells, intelligent thought, elds of colorful vision, hearing, music, words, giraffes, diet cherry Fanta, everything. Everywhere that information exists (in the form of energy and force), Cosmic Awareness, knowing the Truth from which all energy is extended, is present. e content of Awareness in the small space my consciousness occupies in the endless immensity of Existence is entirely selfreferential, completely embodying the perspective of the informational system for survival within my brain. Everything I see is seen in relation to me at the center, the world moves le when I move right, and my

thoughts are felt to be in uenced from the inside, by me. Truly they are; I am the corner of the Universal fabric I take up, and with the feedback of my own section of Cosmic Awareness I control the system I oversee. I can even interact with and in uence my surroundings, and my worldwide family has come up with a rich variety of ways to experience the world around me. I can hold an electronic set of controls, and using information conveyed from my mind, encoded in the electrical logic of the video game system's computer, cause a red and blue Italian plumber represented by pixels on a screen to jump on a virtual toadstool, and listen to the game's beautiful theme song encoded in the air pressure of the room by an electromagnetically vibrated cone and transduced by my inner ear into a signal directly sung to Cosmic Awareness. I can cause my animal self or another's to experience that gi of a phenomenon, an orgasm, and radiate pleasure into the heart of Being. In this model, all sensations arise in consciousness as the expression in Awareness of the physical logical interactions within the brain. Every single aspect of your Awareness exists as a sensation, including not only your senses but also the sound, feeling, and understanding of your thoughts. In sensing, your brain is just resonating the truth of what is already there, the information making up the energetic Universe interpreted as faithfully as possible based on brain's limited access to (computation of) it. Your brain doesn't generate the information pertinent to

the look of the world around you, the endlessly complex mathematics describing its shape, color and detail; your brain gets all that information from the incoming light, bearing direct information of the physical bodies it just traveled from, and has only to interpret it and organize it. e

actual being of the Universe is re ected in your mind, to the degree that your brain is equipped to access it. e resplendent coloration, nuanced hues and perspective we experience arise as the cumulative effect of our occipital lobes' mapping of the deconstructed input data from the retinas into a logical picture of what our eyes are observing. Your brain is aided in this beautiful modeling by delegating the processing of images originating from different distances to different layers of the occipital lobes based on the degree of eye muscle strain and coordination necessary to focus on those images. Focusing on this page activates a spatially different region in your brain than focusing on the scenery in the distance. Each color and shape is mapped to the point from which the brain deduces the image to have originated from; for instance, your brain perceives the location of this page in space, and projects the vision of it you experience onto this point. In this way, rather than experiencing the things we see as an internal image, we experience our sight as occurring in front of us, outside of our skull. Your eld of vision is not a two dimensional image existing on a screen in your mind, but a three dimen-

sional reconstruction logically projected into the world around your body. e logical interchange within your brain creates an apparently

external model of your world from the information available to it, and your mind inhabits this logical and experiential framework. Even when you close your eyes, your brain pragmatically holds on to what it knows of your surroundings, with help from visual memory and sonic information; you feel the room around you, exactly the way your brain expects it to be when you reopen your eyes. (Sometimes, like when you are waking up from a night's sleep in an unfamiliar place, out of habit, your brain expects you to open your eyes to see your bedroom, and registers slight surprise when waking up to these new surroundings.) e awareness of your visual eld is thus perceived as existing outside of your head though the processes that generate it occur inside your head. It is fun to realize that though every sight you see is experienced as an image in front of your eyes, your mind truly never looks out from your skull, only at your brain's computation of the information it is presented with from the external world. e mind does not intuitively

perceive the intermediate step between the light entering your eyes and your experience of that light; the sensation is that opening your eyes gives your mind a direct window into the world around you. is is not

so, in fact, it is impossible for your awareness to actually see the world outside of you; looking at the world around you is actually peering into

your mind, into the informational vortex your brain processes (the content of which, of course, comes from the outside world, and would not exist if the outside world didn't). is is also true of your auditory eld. e sounds you experi-

ence are produced in your awareness by your auditory system's reconstruction of the information gathered by your ears, but you hear them as outside of your head. Your temporal lobes gracefully calculate the distance of the sound and its position relative to your head based on the relative loudness and the difference in time and timbre with which the sound waves reach each of your ears. In this way, your brain models whence the sound originates, and your mind experiences that modeling as the place in your awareness that the sound exists. When hearing crickets, the feeling of hearing each chirp is not sensed within your head, but as an experience outside; your mind projects the feeling of your awareness into the space around you (giving you a sense of “outside me” and “me”) to account for the phenomena it models. e same is true of sensation, touch and pain. e place from which

brain interprets the nerve signals to have originated is where the touch or pain exists in your awareness, and not within your skull, where the logical import of the signal is processed. Taste, smell, same story. Wherever brain logically maps a stimulus to in space relative to its experiential

model of your body, that is where the texture of that experience seems to exist. is logical mapping even applies to inanimate objects we interact with, for example, when we are driving our cars, our brains include the dimensions of the car in our awareness; we can squeeze through double-parked cars more or less effortlessly because the spatial size of the car is mapped in our awareness. Similarly, musicians have an intuitive feel for their instrument; it is bound to them as an extension of their body and mind. e entire experience of the world you inhabit, includ-

ing your experience of other people and the entire breadth of your knowledge about the Universe, is the result of your brain's informational modeling of all this information; the Universe you experientially inhabit is entirely the production of your brain, of its informational interpretation of the actual Universe which contains you.

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e unconscious, source of your instincts, motivations, character, and personality, is a word which essentially describes the shape of your brain's neural structures, built with certain features based on genetics, and then melded and formed through experience. Your memory is encoded in this dynamic reshaping of your brain; every time a thought is

thunk, the logical “wiring” which produces that thought is being activated in the brain. Every single thought leaves a trail in the brain, a direct imprint of the thought's logical content, which, if reinforced by being thought more o en, becomes a semipermanent brain feature, an informational system writ in neuronal connections. Your interactions with the world (e.g. learning your native language while growing up) thus physically sculpt and broaden the unconscious framework underlying your sense of self. Your memory contains the pa erns of neuron linkage established in the past, and the logical circuits that are used the most are preserved most strongly. Your memory frames your perception of reality in a logical outline at all times: at all moments, your awareness contains a feeling of who you are, what your experiences have been in the past and how you've reacted to them, the shape, sound and color of the se ings you occupy, an understanding of the physics of the world (that you should expect things to fall to the oor and that motions you make will generate a predictable sound, that things you touch will have a predictable feeling, etc.); all of this and much more surrounds your awareness like a screen through which you experience and interact with the world around you. A er all, how you experience and interact with the world around you creates the neural pa erns that contain those memories, which your mind uses to understand reality, both inside and out.

Because memory serves as the material for new thoughts, one generally never really “gets over” events of great emotional impact; instead of disappearing in their effect on your present mood, they become assimilated into your sensation of self, of who you are and what you face in life. ey burn with a dull glow in the ber of your memory, some-

times shining out brightly when recalled. When trying to remember something that you are having trouble remembering, your mind is a empting the put together neural architecture that has fallen into disrepair by searching through thought fragments (applying electrical polarization to them to activate the neural pa erns, and thus the experience encoded therein), trying to nd whatever combination of linked concepts will spark the insight that the thing to be remembered comprised. For example, think for a moment about your rst kiss; just remember who it was with, where it was, and how you feel about it thinking back on it. In performing that li le experiential train of thought, your consciousness registered what informational content was called for; it usually isn't difficult to call up emotionally charged memories, and simply holding the idea “ rst kiss” in mind requires engaging the neural circuitry which encodes the meaning of that combination of words. e

memories which apply to your rst kiss are informationally a ached to the concept of what “ rst kiss” means; not only do you know the de ni-

tion of both words, but your brain is also encoded with how they relate to your personal history. When you choose to evaluate this complex and distant memory, that input from mind is distributed throughout the brain structures which logically satisfy the input, and the brain outputs the neural ring of the desired information which is experienced by mind. Hindsight only feels like it's 20-20 because your brain forms and solidi es your memories based on your past experiences and expectations. e memory of the past you hold is part of your self-image, and

any new event is evaluated by your brain in reference to a generality comprised of the entirety of your past experiences, your present mood, and the overall worldview you've built up throughout your life. If, in the moment, another person's behavior does not immediately t your model of expected behavior, your brain is faced with the discomfort of foiled understanding or expectation, which is generally rationalized over time by your subconscious to t into your vision of the world. is is why the

memory of the event might pop into your mind on the drive home; brain has “ gured out” what occurred (by preferentially solidifying memories that t into your prior expectation), and now that the new logical neural structure is comfortably in congruence with other neural structures describing the self 's understanding of the world, it res easily

and loudly and is presented to consciousness to evaluate, perhaps accompanied by an “a-ha” feeling. Your mind can only reference the small set of events and circumstances that imprinted on your memory. Memory presents you with your brain's post-analysis of the event in question, biased towards your worldview and expectations. Just as two people are likely to experience a complex social situation differently based on their personality, mood and experiences, they are likely to then remember only their interpretation of the situation, and not the objective situation itself. Indeed, there is no way to access any objective reality but through our own subjective interpretation. In this way, in hindsight, pessimists are bolstered in their cynicism because they believe things turned out poorly a er all; their brains crystallize any of the negative perceptions they were primed to see. Meanwhile optimists notice the good that ts into their habitual worldview and self-narrative. Our memories and self image are the prime conspirators in our recurrent self-ful lling prophecies.

•§•

O en, before speaking, the entire sentence exists in your mind as a conceptual whole; you perceive the logic of what you are trying to communicate far before the words hit your lips. Sometimes you cannot translate a

complex manifold of thought and experience into words; in fact, this may be the most universal facet of the human social experience: inability to communicate fully the content of our minds, especially the true nature of our emotional experiences.

An expert on any subject can hold volumes of information pertaining to that subject in mind at once, due to the rigorous building of its logical reality carved and crystallized in his or her brain's neurons. If they were to teach this knowledge to another, they would have to sample minute bits and pieces from the whole Idea and reinterpret them in the style of our shared logic, our technology of language. When you experience a ash of insight, or any similar sudden appearance of a thought or understanding in your consciousness, you are witnessing the processing within your relatively subconscious brain connecting disparate concepts into a new whole, the newfound logical clarity of which brightly lights up in your awareness, temporarily superseding whatever conscious activity was being engaged before the insight. is phenomenon feels pleasurable; it seems that when concepts link up without logical friction, the effect is desirable. On the other hand, misunderstanding or confusion, perhaps when trying to learn a new skill or concept, feels uncomfortable to our awareness, because the brain is using energy to forge new connections, and hi ing logical dead-end a er logical dead-end; the desired circuit nds no completion.

e act of thinking, consciously or subconsciously, takes energy, which your conscious mind experiences as effort. Where the logical systems are already in place, for example the neural systems you use to walk around, the effort is minimal, and the logic cascades through your brain with high energy efficiency. When the brain system for understanding a concept or performing an action is not yet formed, the brain must expend signi cant stores of energy to rewire in such a way as to learn that idea, by connecting up a mechanism for modeling the logic of the idea. If the idea is not connecting logically in the brain, we feel confusion, fatigue, and frustration in our awareness, which tends to lead us to drop the activity and resume efficient brain functioning, or to take a nap. If we persist, eventually the connections will be made (if the concept in question has logical answer a er all, and especially if our brains already possess the necessary logical (neuronal) puzzle pieces for a workable solution). How does the mind recognize a truth, in other words, what is the neural mechanism of understanding? In thinking about why 1+1=2, what is the character of your brain activity that produces the understanding in your mind? Currently, we like to imagine that neurons operate on a binary ow of information, because this is the easiest information processing model to understand. It is thought that all informational exchange can be reduced to the true/false options of boolean logic. If

this is the case, the understanding of the entire idea 1+1=2 depends on knowledge of what 1 means, what + means, what = means, and what 2 means, and a proper set of neural logic gates to run this concept and produce a value of “true”. Of course, it seems highly probable that neural logic operates in a different way than our familiar binary logic. In any case, the correct ow of information between neurons leads the awareness of this truth to arise in your consciousness. Is this ow of information the same in all brains for this speci c truth? I imagine not. ough the understanding is

more or less the same, there are likely an almost in nite number of ways neurons could interact to generate the understanding of this information. I probably understand the arithmetic and the implications of the arithmetic on a different (effectively in nitely more narrow) intuitive level than Euler did, for instance.

•§•

If my consciousness embodies an informational subset of the Knowledge of Cosmic Awareness, why should some of the informational activity occurring within my brain be off-limits to my consciousness; further, if Cosmic Awareness knows all, and I am part of that awareness,

why does my mind not have access to more fundamental knowledge, like the information comprising the physics of my surroundings? Every physical interaction in the Universe takes place in the same knowing, Cosmic Awareness. e conscious mind is the result of

this Awareness being present in every logical interchange in the brain; it is the echo and summation of every energetic interchange of force in the brain. All of the logical interchange in my brain pertains to the modeling and evaluating of my external world and to the monitoring and upkeep of my internal bodily functions- this recursive subset of Cosmic Awareness clearly does not include the logical interactions of the particles making up my surroundings or of other brains. While all information is contained in the one Awareness, the re ective subjectivity of any biological system is restricted to the interactions within that system, the informational modeling and re ection of the energy in the physical world undergone by that particular brain and body. e individual lower level processes involved in the subconscious operation of my brain are themselves the top of the hierarchy of neurons directly involved in each process, and embody the Awareness of the experience being modeled by those neurons. If you could isolate each brain region involved in any train of thought (for example the auditory region processing all the noise in the background) without including the connection between that region and the rest of the brain, that

small subsection of brain would experience in itself the small subsection of Awareness which its logical processes represent. Our subconscious is therefore a dynamic network of selfcontained, lower levels of conscious awareness each presiding over their home neurons. I hypothesize that each individual thought-dra we receive from our 'subconsciousness' is itself a coordinative, conscious process, the level of awareness those neuronal actions amount to, which orchestrates the activity of individual neurons in the same way that our higher consciousness orchestrates the thought-dra s, the sums of lowerlevel processes. e Awareness of all “subconscious” processes exists;

however, the clarity with which our highest-hierarchical level minds experience the import of these processes depends on how closely the process in question pertains to the overall conscious situation at hand. e neural activities closest to consciousness involve, not surprisingly, the tasks we are conscious of willfully guiding, be they thinking (using the top-of-the-hierarchy conscious mind to connect lower level brain processes), speaking, moving, hunting, working, or any behavior that requires the direct in uence of your conscious will to proceed. Without this sophisticated coordination between brain and mind, your biology does not contain the mechanisms for enacting these behaviors. e simple act of thinking provides logical inputs which affect the

informational content of the brain and body (signaling muscles, hor-

mone releases, heart rate, etc.).

e effect that thinking has on the brain

and body in turn changes the content of awareness, and the recursive cycle proceeds. e top-of-the-hierarchy mind is free to modify its effect

on brain at any time, though it is limited in its scope by the content of brain. For example, a peasant living ve-hundred years ago couldn't escape boredom by thinking about her descendants racing around in sports cars or playing videogames; no ma er how creative she was, her brain wouldn't contain the necessary components to forge this unheardof set of concepts. is is what creativity is: the connecting of disparate information held in neural networks to produce a new result. is is why innova-

tion is such an incremental process, why our ancestors spent hundreds of thousands of years living the same hunter-gatherer lifestyle making the same basic tools, why music and art have evolved the way they have over history: the fabric of new ideas is woven from old ideas. Given a problem in need of solving, mind observes the content of brain and connects the most logically promising concepts together. As a solution is chased, the thoughts and concepts already developed for the task aid in the creation of the new neural circuitry which represents a new understanding; pieces of the puzzle are associated in brain by mind recognizing their compatibility. Bit by bit, a new concept is built, which can now be used as a component to build a higher con-

cept. Without the interplay between conscious mind (evaluating and connecting the disparate systems of information from brain) and brain (generating, logically processing, and storing informational content with input from mind), willful creativity would cease to exist. Our day to day conscious narrative, the out ow of our thoughts, is generally the central focus of our a ention, and represents the baseline activity of our consciousness: observing lower-level processes and connecting them in the most natural way, o en in the context of emotional content. An action like walking or typing is enacted by your consciousness, but does not require close monitoring, because you have already consciously built up the necessary neurological framework for the action to proceed without thinking directly about it. Because no new input beyond choosing to begin and sustain the action is required of your mind to perform it, this type of behavior is slightly lower in experiential volume than the learning of a new skill, engaging in unpredictable social behaviors involving modeling and analyzing the minds of others, or making the complicated mental rewirings necessary to understanding a new concept. ese higher-order activities represent the great potential

our powerful consciousness and reasoning grant us, and its deeper utility of rapidly creating new ideas and behaviors out of external input and lower-level thought processes, above and beyond simply observing them as in baseline consciousness.

Further down the conscious/subconscious spectrum are bodily processes that are open to li le or no direct in uence by our consciousness. We experience a vivid awareness of the effects of these processes on our body, and are compelled by these sensations to take appropriate actions, but generally cannot mentally decide not to experience these sensations; we have to ful ll the action required to satisfy the feeling. Some examples are the sensations of itching, feelings of hunger, thirst, drowsiness, the effects of various hormones, the pace of our heartbeat (which both informs our mental state and is modulated by our mental state), and excretory stimuli. e physical way in which these cues affect our

brains and therefore our awarenesses is mostly the result of our genetics, our embryologic development and subsequent growth, and is less a result of conscious learning. Lower still on the spectrum of awareness from our mind's perspective are the processes that bridge the gap between subconsciousness and consciousness. For example, breathing is generally subconscious, in that the vast majority of the time we breathe without taking any notice of our breath. Even during these spans of time, the sensation of breathing is present in our awareness, but at such a low level that it is effectively drowned out by the processes that are more taxing to our a ention. Processes such as those governing our heart rate, which is not under the willful control of our consciousness, are nevertheless informed by the

content of consciousness: one can slow one's heartbeat indirectly by focusing on soothing thoughts, closing one's eyes, etc.; this process which seems so distant from our consciousness and requires no conscious input to proceed is still connected to the contents of consciousness and is informed by them. Flinching from pain is another semiconscious mechanism in this category, impelled by the conscious experience of pain-information in the affected cells and motor neurons but requiring no brain intervention to decide to inch. ( e motor neurons

themselves possess the consciousness of the pain-information and are wired to react to it immediately.) e very quietest and smallest scale on the human con-scious/ subconscious spectrum is likely made up of the activities and awarenesses of individual cells acting in accordance with their own experiential cues. Before scoffing at the suggestion that cells are aware, we should recognize that the question “What does it take for conscious awareness to exist?” is still open, though it is (oddly) common for people to take for granted that the answer is “A human brain has to be present for awareness to exist.” On the contrary, I would answer that any physical system which relies on the logical processing of internal and external stimuli for its survival is necessarily aware of those processes; all logical interaction between physical energy in the Universe is known to Cosmic Awareness (on an experiential level we of course cannot imagine prop-

erly), and becomes subjective when made in reference to a reacting, living system. People love the idea that cells behave just like li le automatic machines, because we understand automatic machines; if cells are just like machines, we don't have to admit that we don't understand much at all about the mechanisms of their behavior. We can just say “though we don't know how the parts t together, if they are like machines or computers then cells operate out of simple mechanical necessity just like our machines. Phew, we still understand everything without having to question our assumptions, problem solved.” e behavior of a cell involves the cell referencing its fundamental codebook, its DNA, in a way we currently understand only dimly. It is clear that manipulating a cell's DNA, for example inserting a gene for the production of bioluminescence, will change its behavior in a predictable and reproducible way. For this reason, it appears that cells are like computers, which respond automatically and mechanically to certain inputs based on their coding, their DNA. However, whereas the entire chain of causality within a computer is understood thoroughly, the way genetic instructions are enacted remains almost completely unexplained, especially in cases where cascades of DNA activation and deactivation occur, as is the case during embryological development.

Part of the reason for this investigative difficulty is that we have been hesitant to ascribe any level of awareness to cells, which makes their emergent information processing (based on the extraordinarily complex and far reaching set of information possible to encode with DNA– it is certainly not a coding system as simple as binary) seem totally inexplicable. Cells dynamically interact with their environment to appropriately activate and carry out genetic instructions; how is this information coordinated and acted upon if no awareness is present therein? Because a simple mechano-chemical model cannot account for the dynamic level of interaction cells undergo, these types of models will inevitably fail in explaining the causality of cellular life. I propose that cells are subjectively aware, though likely on a level that is far less vivid and multifaceted than ours (and generally unimaginably different from our awareness). It is instructive to realize that the processes inside any particular cell are tremendously complex, resembling the complex interaction within a human city more than they do the activity of one person. Eukaryotic cells contain entire communities of smaller species of bacteria symbiotically embedded in their life cycle: mitochondria in animals and chloroplasts in plants. (At some point in evolutionary history, these bacteria managed to shed their autonomy in favor of a permanent home within a eukaryotic lineage, gaining safety and sustenance while supplying the host cell with energy.)

Not only are cells astonishingly complex in themselves, they also undergo complex interactions with their neighbors. A Google search for “cell dialogue” brings up a plethora of biological studies in this area, which I suggest any skeptic to read. e gen-

eral ndings of these studies invariably show that cells develop an understanding of the meaning portrayed by chemicals swapped between members of the same species and between members of different species. Here is a fascinating discussion of this topic, which I would describe but which you should see for yourself: h p://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/bonnie_bassler_on_how_bacteri a_communicate.html Imagine the complexity our cellular network handles daily: distributing nutrients from food and oxygen from breathing to every cell in this absolutely immense network which has a need for them, interpreting the signals from nerves and reacting accordingly, etc. In an informational hierarchy comprised of a hundred trillion individual cells, our personal intelligence could never possibly manage the processes necessary to life in our cells; luckily, they take responsibility for this impossibly complex task. As they carry out these tasks below, living the lives of cells, we look outward and fend for our organism's survival in the animal world, a natural external-immune system designated to a facet of survival

in a different experiential dimension from that lived out by the cellular mass of our bodies. e conscious mind gives the illusion of being the sole controller of the body, but there are reasons to suspect that the body has equal or greater in uence on mind. Instincts do not run on our conscious intelligence, but on our body cells' integrated network, which intelligently shares, processes, and responds to information pertinent to our body's survival and to the enaction of our consciousness. e vast majority of

mind's effort is expended in ful lling the instinctual urges and sensations provided by the brain and body. When you have an itch on your arm, and it feels really good to scratch it, it isn't because the action of scratching your arm feels good, but because your subconscious has generated a eld of experiential potential in that area by stimulating discomfort there and bringing it to the front of your awareness. You can push it to the back, but the sensation remains– “Well, it would feel mighty good to scratch me, why are you waiting? Look, I'm still itchy. Hello!” In this, and countless other everyday cases, your subconscious is subtly guiding your consciousness in what actions to take. Your willful mind o en is only needed to execute complex tasks in the external world or the inner world of logical reasoning, and many times you perform these tasks to satisfy something your subconscious wants you to do anyway. It is a more ancient feature of our being, but it is a wise and

powerful feature. It seems possible that contrary to our expectations, the subconscious is actually the central hub of our body's experience, and our “I” is a feature of it. Of course, we currently have no way of determining whether this is the case or not, but there is no reason to automatically assume it is an impossibility.

•§•

In general, subjective consciousness arises in the Universe when the energetic interplay of Cosmic Awareness in ma er is organized in intricate physical processes enacted to model the subjective system's external world. Our brains each embody recursive informational systems; they take in energetic information representing the physical reality of Cosmic Awareness (light waves, sound waves, pressure waves, etc.) and re ect that information internally through logically interpreting it; this re ection is what makes up our minds. is recursion is present in every

life form in varying degrees, with bacteria experiencing a different reality than sh due to the differences in the mechanisms of their logical interaction within themselves and with the outside world. is should, in fact, be the standard de nition of a conscious agent: a system of energy which causally in uences not only the informational systems surrounding it, but also the content making up that

system of energy; a self in uencing system is conscious until it loses the energetic logic necessary to coordinate and cause internal changes. One stipulation is that the self in uence must be through direct logical interaction, and not by secondary consequences relating to the physical conditions of the constituent parts vis a vis the whole, as in the case of a star, planet, or galaxy. (In these cases, the motion of the macro in uences the motion of the micro elements, e.g. a substance existing at the Earth's core will be ho er than a similar substance si ing on its surface; this is a consequence of position relative to internal informational content, but not a consequence of the system of information making up the substance taking logical input from logical operations comprising the whole.) By perceiving and integrating smaller systems of information, mind in uences the content of the smaller systems making up the organism by returning new input logic to those systems from above, a causal reversal within the overarching pa ern of smaller phenomena causing larger-scale effects. Consciousness is a result of logical self-in uence in any system of information; wherever a system of logical information bumps against its respective ceiling and is coordinated and re ected back inwards (so to speak), Cosmic Awareness perceives and in uences the signal in the moment that it arrives, is experienced, and is sent back, informationally changing it in the process. Every place in Existence where logical sys-

tems of energy require input from the highest, cumulative informational level of those systems to proceed is a conscious system, embodying the Awareness of in uencing their content from above. In this context, it seems that it is de nitely possible to enable consciousness in computers; perhaps the most direct method will involve using digital informational modeling to recreate the logical structure and behavior of neuronal networks, a process already being pursued by several research institutions (notably, EPFL's Blue Brain project). Consciousness is a Universal phenomenon; there is no reason to believe that consciousness is the exclusive domain of organic life. ough a bacterium faces a very different set of sensations and challenges in its model and awareness of the world than an ant or a dog, any organism that interacts with its surroundings to survive necessarily possesses awareness of those surroundings and of the act of surveying and reacting to those surroundings. Each neuron in our sprawling nervous system is itself aware of its reaction to the stimuli making up information exchange; the mechanism of neuronal logic is neuronal awareness, which allows the neuron to transfer energy along the appropriate dendritic path given different experiential/informational stimuli. We imagine the lives of bugs, plants and cells to be totally foreign to our own and too alien to relate to. However, the fundamental feeling of having a self is probably very familiar in many aspects, and is

shared by all that lives and by the all that is the Awareness of Existence. ere is only one Awareness; each of our apparently separate awarenesses is in reality a subset of the overarching Awareness of Existence. We each perceive a private region of experience within this one mind. Mind is not con ned to our brains. It pervades every level of existence in every corner of the Universe; indeed, its Being is the Universe. Our cells operate within a completely different realm of experience than the spectrum we inhabit, at an unimaginably foreign level of resolution in Awareness. Our minds causally affect the informational content of this level of awareness, inducing electrical currents in our body which perfectly mirror the content of our thoughts. Imagine the intelligence within a spider necessary to accomplishing the feat of weaving a web. She is not an automatic web building machine, she weaves by the same mechanism with which you walk across the room. She utilizes the neural tools available to her to recognize the potential within her and chooses to string her silk by an impulse and act of will, just as you recognize the usefulness of walking across the room and choose when you tell your body to do so. Broadly stated, the central requirement of an entity arising out of the possibility contained in Truth that has to fend for itself to perpetuate its form is that the entity must contain organized structures of energy exchange, which operate according to and interact with Universal

Truth.

is interaction requires the presence of Cosmic Awareness (e.g.

Cosmic Awareness is present as these ngers type these words in the physical nature of the nerve impulses delivered to my muscles from my brain, in the binary cascade of logic within the computer, in the space through which this occurs, as well as in light, and my mind- in short, in every single condition of this writing being possible), and where these interactions are more complex and take place over less time, more of Cosmic Awareness is present to "guide" the processes (not consciously or purposefully guide, but to be aware of them in Truth; no energy exchange occurs without this ever-present awareness). Being alive, being able to in uence the energy in the Universe by your actions is not the default state of Awareness, but a profound raritythe experience of each of our lives lasts for all but an invisible speck in the limitless timeline of all that Exists. A human's consciousness is a subjective subset of Cosmic Awareness, stirred into experience from the sea of energetic interactions unfolding according to the Truth in which it resides.

•§• Falling asleep is the slow winding down of consciousness, the gradual shi away from the high energy expenditure of the mind-

coordinated, brain-wide, inter-lobe neural activity and sensation model-

ing we experience as awareness and thought, towards energy conserving and restoring intra-lobal and cellular processes. is falling away of conscious in uence on brain can be apprehended very distantly in a form rememberable later, especially if you are woken from the early stage of sleep. Your thoughts become more abstract and further off as the close interaction between mind and brain loosens; your mind's control dissipates as your brain relaxes its functioning from handling immediate external concerns, and your normal conscious awarenesses loses clarity, replaced by a dozy ow of concepts re ecting the re- ring of any pertinent neural circuitry built up during the day and the narcotic weight of sleep. e transition from awake to asleep is a continuum; there is no way to draw a strict dividing line between the two. Awareness doesn't disappear during sleep, but drops one level of informational complexity from the highest hierarchical-level consciousness utilizing the entire brain to the individual neural lobes comprising the conscious brain. You don't experience this level of awareness with your conscious mind, because your conscious mind can only ever possess awareness of either the high level coordination of wakefulness or the lower level coordination of dreaming, or the memory of these high level processes encoded through conscious experience, imprinted in structures accessible to consciousness while awake.

One can picture the gradient between consciousness and sleeping in this way: imagine 10-20 bathtubs lining the bo om of a shallow swimming pool. Each bathtub is lined with buckets; each bucket is lined with cups, and each cup has a hole in its bo om through which water can enter or leave the system. e system of containers roughly repre-

sents the brain, cups being neurons, buckets neural circuitry, and tubs lobes. e level of water in the pool signi es the amount of energy proc-

essed and the nature of its logic, and thus the level of awareness achieved. When full, the pool represents normal, wakeful consciousness; the interchange of water between the cups at a high enough volume raises the water level enough to ll the buckets, the coordination between which lls up the tubs, the coordination of which lls the rest of the pool and sums to our conscious mind, the highest level of the hierarchy containing all others. In this model each subsequent layer of informational complexity is the higher-level result of lower levels of informational interchange; the higher levels operate by coordinating lower levels. Falling asleep is allowing the activity between the bathtubs, the coordinated brain activity giving rise to consciousness, to subside. As this occurs, the water level falls back, now separated into the individual systems (tubs) from which it extends into the conscious mind. At this point our highest-level mind is unconscious, and each neural system is

con ned to quiet awareness of its own life processes. Later in the night, during REM sleep, the tubs inter-coordinate again, which adds dreaming, a very thin layer of consciousness to the system (or a thin layer of water above the tubs, to continue the visual analogy). Dreaming is consciousness on a much quieter, much less logical experiential level. In dreams we experience the ring of disparate conscious memories, the activity between neurons either solidifying those memories or searching different neural networks for appropriate connections to make. Our “conscious” experience of them arises as a secondary effect because these rings represent the processing of the information contained in the consciously imprinted circuits. Lucid dreaming is the partial utilization of consciousness to coordinate the ow of information. REM sleep is well described as Random Experiential Memory, though this label does not include the fact that in dreaming the memories are not accessed randomly, exactly, but are partly guided in their arising by the thin sliver of consciousness which perceives the dream. In dreaming, the memory-content spliced together by the brain appears to relate most o en to new memories, perhaps (as some current theories suggest) strengthening and broadening their neural connections in brain.

CHAPTER 7

What is 'me'?

Consider, for a moment, the unbelievable improbability that out of the billions upon billions of human lives that have been and are being lived, you happen to have been born into this body at this time. Why should this be; for what reason did you come to be you, and me me? In one sense, this is not improbable at all, but a de nite certainty: every human born has a self experiencing its life; our human bodies were born, and therefore must each have a self accompanying them through life. It is a certainty that some self would experience the life lived from within your body; it just happens to be you. e same can be said for your

neighbor, your mother and father, and for every experiencing life that has ever lived. It is almost universally believed that each self is distinct, that this awareness through which we experience life is our own private property,

unique to each of us.

is is an intuitive assumption; a er all, I can only

think my thoughts and can only willfully enact my own actions, and the same is true of you and everyone else; in life our selves are certainly separate. Perceiving this, we conclude that this separateness is a fundamental aspect of our selves; it has become a central facet of the human identity to see each self as a Universe unto itself, eternally distinct from the rest of reality. However, there are reasons to reexamine our understanding of this most signi cant facet of Existence, conscious sel ood. I am me and you are you; if we switched places, that is, if I could suddenly experience life from within your body and you could experience it from within mine, could we possibly notice? e way you answer

this question reveals much about your understanding of sel ood. If you say, “Of course we would notice, my personal soul is fundamentally different from yours, and is the basis for my self; I would be able to tell immediately that I am me in a different body,” you share the most popular idea of sel ood: supernatural, permanent personal uniqueness, above and beyond the physical world. is is something of an antiquated view:

intuitive and culturally standard to be sure, but if examined closely, this viewpoint is clearly outdated by the progress of neuroscience. Essentially every bit of evidence we have suggests that our experience of the world arises from the physical information processing enacted in our brains, as the last two chapters discuss in depth. To this response I would answer

“In switching to my body, your 'soul' would have no access to memory of your previous body, since your memories are stored in the brain of that previous body. You would only be exposed to the memories and style of thinking present in my body, and would therefore not be able to tell that we switched places.” If you are a scienti c intellectual, you might answer that question (If we switched places, could we notice?) with, “No, there is no way we could notice. Everything about my experience of self and of life is a result of my brain states. If we could somehow instantly switch places, you would experience my brain's activity just the same as I do, and I would yours, and supposing that the switch occurred instantaneously, there would be no break in the experience of that brain activity. ere

would be no memory of the switch in either brain, and no perception of any change whatsoever.” It seems evident that this is a great step forward in understanding from the dogma of experiencing life within a soul, forever separate from the physical realm. If subjective awareness is the byproduct of biological brains, who experiences that byproduct? In other words, why should my self, experiencer of my life, be considered fundamentally different from your self, if they both arise from the same essential cause (i.e. a human brain)? I argue that they should not; if conscious sel ood appears in any sufficiently able neuronal structure, then consciousness itself is clearly a Uni-

versal fundament, a facet of being in which we all share, and not a personal possession unique to each of us. e fact that you happen to be

living your life and not mine is simply a random outcome of the in nitesided dice roll of possibility, landing you improbably, but necessarily, in your circumstance, and me in mine. In order to discuss these concepts, it becomes useful to differentiate between my self, the me which is comprised of my brain, my personality and all my beliefs, memories, thoughts, hopes, fears, etc., and my Self, that which actually experiences the awareness of all these things, thinks my thoughts and wills my actions. It is a very subtle and unexpected distinction, which accounts for its foreignness to the traditional western mindset, with its more simplistic belief in a self/soul. (I want to be clear: there is no separation between self and Self; they are one and the same– this is simply a means of talking about two different facets of our selves: our personal identity, and the actual being which experiences the perspective from within that identity.) With this distinction it is easier to discuss the idea that of the billions of lives, you inhabit you; the universal Self inhabits every self, and no ma er how many experiencing lives arise, Sel ood is there to perceive each. When you die, it is the end of your self, but there is no end to the Self which experienced your self. It exists in every other present self, and will inhabit every future self.

e same Self that I have which experiences all my sensations in me is also the Self that experiences all of your sensations in you, extended to our bodies each from the same source, the Cosmic Awareness underlying all of Existence. It is in this sense that we have an everlasting soul; we do not possess a personal soul separate from all others, but each share equally in the one Soul. Awareness is One, One embodied in the limitless number of perspectives breathed into life by its Being, the Universe. Every living consciousness has its being in this exact same Awareness, the Awareness of Existence called into subjectivity by our biological framework. is same all-encompassing Awareness experiences every reality at once. In every pair of lovers, each consciousness is the exact same Awareness experiencing the love from two distinct selves simultaneously. Every predator, every prey, every laugh, every solemn oath, every cell division, everything is the experience of the one Awareness, and our human perspectives are but microscopic subsets of the whole. Our selves are re ections of the everlasting and in nitely faceted jewel of Existence, mirrors within which Awareness glimpses willful, nite subjectivity. In our naïve understanding of self, we manipulate, victimize, and hurt each other, sometimes viciously and purposefully. e irony of all

this opportunistic treachery is the truth, casually occupying our collective blind-spot, that every torturer's self is separated from the victim's

self only by the illusion of separateness that life conjures. In reality, by deliberately hurting another it is as if your right hand were twisting thumb screws binding your le hand; the same Self feels both realities equally. It is this truth which our burgeoning empathy quietly pleads for us to recognize, though our self-serving, much deeper-rooted and primal animal instincts easily ignore its meek cries. Rather than being separate from the supreme being, as most religions maintain, with God or some similar entity observing us from a distance and keeping score as to how well we behave, every subjective being is a unique embodiment of the supreme being's Awareness. Many traditionally-minded people are likely appalled by this thought, thinking that if there is no divine Judge, frowning from the heavens, no divine justice awaits our criminals. It is certainly uncomfortable to think that a monstrosity like Hitler faces no retribution for his wretched effect on others. However, if the above is true, then the Self that starved to death in a concentration camp also experienced Hitler's life, and the Self that experienced Hitler's life also experienced that starvation. is does not

in any way negate the agony caused; it is a sober fact of reality that any misery caused is misery experienced. How do you think Hitler's actions might have changed, if he knew he shared the fundament of Sel ood with all those he massacred?

Is this to say that the experiencer of my life also experienced all these lives, all that agony? Yes and no; yes in that the Cosmic Awareness in you is also in every life, and no in that the human self you inhabit will never experience any life outside of that human life. In other words, during the time that you spend inside your human life, you are not experiencing the rest of the lives that Cosmic Awareness is inhabiting. Initially, many will likely meet this idea with discomfort, or fear. To think that it is terrifying to imagine living every life that has been lived seems natural enough; that's a lot of pain, disease and heartbreak to endure. On the other hand, that's also a lot of love, excitement, pleasure, newness, and laughter to enjoy. However it is not us that experience all life, it is I. In other words, the person who you are does not experience the person who I am, but the Self that experiences your life is also the Self that experiences my life and all others. I would venture to guess that the in nite mind underlying all that is is more than willing to live out all the divine possibility contained within its limitless potentiality, that the chaos and drama of life lends Existence meaning countless times in every possible variety of signi cance.

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is viewpoint can perhaps help clarify the sometimes kno y complexities of morality. An evil act consists most fundamentally in willfully causing pain in or misfortune for others, o en to bene t oneself (whom is unknowingly hurting their true Self which resides also in those they hurt). Our deepest, truest self, the fabric of our awareness, is shared with every other living being in Existence. Stalin's personal awareness faces the exact sum of all the pain he brought into being from the very perspectives he brought it to. Every barking slave owner felt the sting of every whip crack he dealt. Of course, the person who is the direct cause of the results doesn't personally experience those results in their own human awareness, but indirectly by the one Awareness also inhabiting the lives that are touched by that person. ough every life form experi-

ences its sensations and thoughts privately, the Awareness of that life form is extended to it from the exact same fundamental source as every other. We can imagine a Universal balance of good sensations versus bad sensations. If a species arises that can y, and absolutely savors life on account of it, the balance shi s towards the good. If there is a World War, and millions perish in wretched, pointless suffering, the balance shi s towards the bad. Every chance arising of love is a rose to the common fabric of being, and every feud and hatred a thorn. ere is no law

but the laws of probability balancing the scale; there is no mandate that every bit of good is offset by an equal bit of bad. Karma is yet another outdated superstition, consoling and possibly morally bene cial to our ancestors (certainly detrimental as justi cation for the Caste system during its prominence in India), but ultimately imaginary. Besides the immense amount of evidence contrary to Karma's hypothesis that every event in a person's life occurs because that person deserved that event (for example, the countless instances where bad things, like cancer, etc., happen to the very best of people), if there is such a thing as a balance of Karma, then there must be some entity which weighs the goodness or badness of every action, and controls reality from the outside in response (raising the plethora of inadequacies which mar supernatural belief, as discussed in Chapter 8). Before intelligent, compassionate life arises, the balance is le to the outcomes of chaotic circumstantial possibility. Gradually, as intelligence develops in a species, it becomes more and more clear that it is also up to us free-willed lives to strive to bring goodness into the world. Our collective will is free to tip the balance. Much of the time, moral judgments are rather simple, and don't have great consequences either way. ere are, of course, situations of

great ethical complexity where no ideal solution seems possible, but these are relatively rarely encountered in comparison to daily interper-

sonal moral decisions.

e fact is, almost everyone has the requisite in-

telligence to empathetically tell right from wrong in day-to-day situations, but it is o en convenient and rather easy to pretend to themselves that they don't. Whenever recognizing personal moral imperatives is a private ma er, (ancient) sel sh motives are weighed with (more modern) altruistic ones. Many people have absolutely mastered the art of telling themselves convenient lies and then believing in them wholeheartedly. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and if they take any action in pursuit of a goal that they know to be immoral, they de ly rationalize the act and thereby silence their conscience. Of all the unconscious undertones with which brain colors the experience of mind, in some people the human conscience is perhaps the most easily quieted; in part this could be because our morality is based on intelligent appraisal of a situation's context, and new information (sometimes fabricated) can cast an ethical decision in a new, more comfortable light. Morality is a real-life example of the prisoner's dilemma, wherein subjective consciousnesses can greedily take for themselves while harming others, offse ing their enjoyment with the pain they cause, or cooperate for the common good. Both forms are prevalent in the modern world, though cooperation is slowly edging out primitive competition. Our inbred nationalism is the strongest and furthest reach-

ing expression of this tribal competitiveness, the instinct towards the our side vs. their side mentality. If we can grow out of this immature mindset so deeply ingrained in our culture, our species will ourish, continuing the development of a mutually bene cial symbiosis like that of owers and bees. If not, that is, if our instinct to belong to an in-group leaves us blindly rooting for the home team at all costs, in suspicion our nations will coil in on themselves and poison each other with their venom. In our edgling intelligence we must face the un inching equity of cosmic justice with maturity and gratitude; every pleasant experience is shared by all, as is every injury. Universal happiness is the prize of a perfectly compassionate society, while anguish is the price of blind selfishness and ruthless competition. We are free to leave behind the raw balance of animal life (essentially that for every bleeding throat there is a satiated hunter) and embrace cooperation. Some of Awareness will live within snakes, and some will suffer snakebite, and every possible outcome will have to be experienced, because the system of Existence impels all possibility to come into being over an in nity of time. However, the system operates within a framework of limitlessly deep logical perfection, which produces profoundly meaningful concepts out of pure Truth, pure reason. e love, beauty,

passion, harmony, and ecstasy of Cosmic Awareness is expressed in the endless outplay of reality, and the private experience of living, discon-

nected from the magnitudinous whole, gives Existence an in nite breadth of meaning and signi cance. A li le pain is worth the possibility represented by Universal free will in entities predisposed to cherish life (if only their own, as young species do– humans are gradually growing up out of this selfcenteredness). ink how vastly positivity outstrips the negative in ex-

perience- humans tend to xate on the negative, as if bracing to avoid it, but every shower you take is enjoyable, most every meal, every real laugh, all surface pleasantries, all love and companionship and learning and awe and new experience, sight, sound, music, light; it is all in nitely be er than the (nonexistent) alternative, nothingness. e free will of life is bought at the price of pain; the unlimited variety of free-willed life arises through Truth in competition, in the probabilistic framework of fortune and misfortune. (If you are thinking “Wait, you can't just assume we have free will without discussing why you believe that,” I refer you to Chapter 10.) However, with our relatively newfound a ribute of human intelligence we are slowly learning not only our profound interconnection, but also how to rein in our more primitive instincts. Our emotions may rage, but our rationality can soothe the beast within us, if only just enough to retract our claws and ease our heartbeat. If a competitor slips away into the night with the object of our affection,

our primal instincts will likely writhe in anger and jealousy. However, if our intelligence can recognize that the competitor's awareness is a different casting of our own, we can more easily celebrate, rather than envy, their pleasures. e same Awareness experiences all sensations, so rather

than offset the boost to global happiness occurring in their bedroom with bi erness in your own, you are free to willfully outmaneuver your instinctive anger, bless their good fortune for existing, and enjoy some time alone, at peace. is is not to say that sidestepping instinct is easy,

or even fully possible, but is well worth practicing. Lives are not externally designed to meet a certain goal or to pass some supernatural test, life arises, automatically follows, from Universal Truth. And beautifully, from this Truth comes us. We are miracles of cosmic possibility, more intricate than it is possible for us to imagine, with an in nite canvas to explore and ll. What wonders we are heir to; what uncharted realities have we yet to experience in the dynamic realm of subjectivity!

CHAPTER 8

The Modern Status of Supernatural Belief

Religions are born through messengers who experience insights of divine clarity, some of the deepest revelations about the nature of Existence ever reached by humans. e impact of these realizations inspire

the prophetic human to try and communicate the immensity of their understanding to those around them, despite the hopeless difficulty of doing so. In the process, the insight is rst translated into words from experience by the prophet, then spread through word of mouth. e in-

sights can never answer all our questions or explain all the mysteries, and as this news spreads (o en carried by disciples who were awakened by the message, but did not directly face the experience), it is reshaped to answer all the questions posed and challenges raised by the general

populace.

e message invariably undergoes a popular reinvention, be-

ing expanded upon and melded into compatibility with older cultural beliefs and practices, especially as the centuries begin to roll by and the word must be wri en down, and translated, and copied by hand, introduced to new societies, translated again, and interpreted and wrung by generations of priests and cultural holy men. Religions originate in the essence of deepest beauty, but the prophet's message never translates to the populace perfectly, and over the years less insightful minds have lled in the gaps with best guesses and convenient lies. e traditional belief that the world is guided by a supernatural, all-powerful entity is a natural extension of the fundamental perception that things happen in the world for some reason, even if we are unable to rationally piece together what that reason is. e vast majority of our

ancestors lived in what appeared to be a magical world, where almost every occurrence was perfectly unexplainable; they had no evident explanation for how food is integrated into the body, no explanation for why the sun rises and sets, no explanation for the presence of animals, plants, water, nor for the phenomena of gravity, wind, pain, sight, etc. Ancient humans, by nature curious and intelligent, sought to rationalize all these effects into intelligible systems of causality, due to the discomfort of possessing rational intelligence yet being surrounded by the unexplainable. Explanatory and celebratory myths were thus developed

and passed along, elaborated upon by prehistoric imaginations and guarded carefully against radical modi cation, due to the cognitive dissonance and social danger of acknowledging the fallibility of their belief systems. Over millennia these processes solidi ed into some rather nonsensical styles of belief. Consider that in Alexander the Great's time, the decisions of generals overseeing hundreds of thousands of soldiers o en involved solemn appraisal of the behavior of birds, and other cultural omens. Aztec culture centered around the belief, based on their creation myth, that the sun was powered by human blood spilled in sacri cial ceremonies, and that the fate of the Universe hinged on their upholding of this gruesome tradition. In the past others have concluded that “not only are there pre y lights in the sky undergoing regular cycles of change, the position of those lights has a profound signi cance for how each of our lives will unfold, and if we could only just puzzle out what their positions suggest, we would possess a major key to ge ing what we want and avoiding what we don't want.” e traditional human worldview has thus developed around the idea that there is some supernatural force behind the scenes guiding all that occurs; supernatural belief is the foundation which all religions share. It is difficult to imagine our distant ancestors seeing reality in any other context, because of the enormous magnitude of the mysteries sur-

rounding their every experience. It is only in the past few centuries, since the spark of the scienti c revolution, that it has slowly become clear that this fundamental perspective on the nature of reality is likely incorrect. In this time period we have discovered that the entirety of the Universe appears to operate according to logical physical laws, and that all the previously unexplainable phenomena have rational explanations, embodying intelligible networks of cause and effect. In this context, the ancient worldviews espoused by religion seem quite inadequate in describing the true nature of Existence. Modern humans have dropped superstitions involving phenomena which we can explain scienti cally. e more remote the mystery

around any phenomenon, the less superstition surrounds it‑ no educated person prays to the sun for good weather anymore. However, anything still mysterious is no less a subject of superstition than it was 10,000 years ago. One example is the question of what happens to a person's consciousness when they die; when we are faced with the unknown, our survival-oriented imaginations examine the entire spectrum of possibility, from absolute worst to absolute best, and modify our behavior accordingly. If, as is the case with many religious claims, we are convinced that the outcome is based on the content of our entire life and that it will persist for eternity, we naturally do everything we can imagine to avoid the worst outcome and aim for the best.

Even if a society's conventional religion calls for the abandonment of enjoying life, and contorts living into a form of self-torture, if it promises automatic eternal bliss upon death, it will be observed by a devoted following of (many thousands of) people. For some, the thought that the stakes are so high lends weight to the belief; if the reward really is that great, and the alternative really is that horrendous, to disbelieve seems far too risky. e belief that forfeiting the enjoyment of our in-

valuable lives is the trade necessary to buying an a erlife of eternal bliss is among the most nonsensical and tragic wastes of potential ever commi ed, equal to the tragedy of indoctrinating children to adopt this intellectually diseased worldview. e fact that such a huge number of people are cowed by fear of supernatural judgement in the context of this life-as-test worldview makes it necessary to directly redress their fallacious and harmful beliefs. e belief that Hell and sin are non ctional should have vanished from the human psyche long ago. To the sheep of the ock: If your God's creations can sin, is not your God's creativity sinful? How absurd it would be for a God to judge and damn his own creation, and to punish his children eternally for aws in his own design! A God who brings eternal torment into being is not at all worthy of worship, only ridicule, as the most insightless and weak-hearted “omniscient” being ever conceived by humans.

And still I feel many of you reading this recoiling slightly, as if this unreasonably insecure spectre were actually there watching you, forever over your shoulder. is fact is a monumental tribute to the power

of the human imagination: when a concept is held in mind for a lifetime, it can become real, a phantom perceived as fully, inescapably real by the psyche. I feel sorry for those who are shackled to this false worldview, living life as a fearful apology for their instinctive desires and natural curiosity. Many forms of religion come with a built-in resistance to rational thought which is drilled into followers from their earliest years (with the obvious rhetoric of original sin consisting of eating from the “tree of knowledge”, and the dogma of the virtue of faith over reason), and which discourages their members from a aining the freeing realization that life is not a test, and eternity is not at stake. ese religions re-

tain their exemption from rational inquiry by appealing to many of humanity's most basic vulnerabilities; historically, religious practice was woven into the activities of society, generating intense social pressure to conform to the group beliefs and practices or mark oneself an outsider. Because each society's religious practice has been handed down through the generations, its eminence is bolstered by the power of tradition and comes to be taken for granted. Religious rhetoric manipulates our natural fear of the unknown, with an aim to provoke dread and guilt; the re-

ligion conjures up a menacing array of threats, then reassures its followers that there is salvation from this hellish end, which just so happens to be unquestioning devotion to the religion. Religion makes use of the tendency for humans to follow the loudest and most vocal leader, the promise of great rewards outside of life (along with the convenience that no dead person can possibly con rm that they've a ained these rewards), and most cunningly, the brainwashing of minds too young to resist. On account of these factors, the consideration of any denouncement of religious dictatorship is re exively dropped by that religion's members for fear of displaying a sinful lack of faith, or worse, being tricked by the devil himself. e existence of Satan is another completely

ludicrous idea, a scare tactic that makes no sense when considered in the context of religious doctrine: there exists an omnipotent and omniscient entity who created everything, but is powerless to stop the force of evil (which it created, by creating everything) from stealing the souls it also created, and the fate of reality is based on this struggle between good and evil, and the Lord desperately ghts this all-important ba le is ctional

through us, though he created the ba le to begin with?

premise should be recognized by now as no more than a tired clié, yet, amazingly, it currently represents the deepest belief of many humans.

Dogmatic religion stains the most beautiful human insight, wonder for the elegant beauty of reality, with fear, guilt, and the blood of nonbelievers. Its tyrannical manipulation of its followers' emotions and thoughts is a plague on human culture, and a cage to the progress of our collective worldview. How fortunate we are to live today, when religious power is on the decline. However, it is still a distressingly in uential force in people's lives, in culture and especially in politics. In spite of this, because more and more modern people are exposed throughout their lives to a knowledge of science, and come to embrace their rational intelligence (an act which most prominent religions forbid), I am con dent that the generation now coming of age will live to see the dissolution of the dogmatic religions, and enjoy the resultant boost to human wellbeing, compassion, and reason. Blind faith is the most powerful force for evil ever in icted on humanity, an inoculation from personal reason and morality concocted of tribal group allegiance in the guise of benign spirituality. ere is no

be er modern example of Orwell's Doublethink than the mental gymnastics undergone by new members of religion, required to believe the unbelievable without question in order to qualify for acceptance into the faith. e insidious danger of this style of thinking is the indisputable

power it lends to societal leadership: when the populace is accustomed to ignoring their rational thinking and swallowing the doctrine of

authority gures without question, all it takes to convert blind faith in scripture to blind faith in the execution of a holocaust is a leader's inerrant command in tumultuous times, for example, “Our group now blindly believes all outsiders are hostile to our group's existence- if you are a good group member, you will join us in eradicating these heathens.” In a proper expression of group faith, there is no time to stop a friend and ask, “Wait, do we really believe this ?”, without marking yourself an outsider, a faithless traitor to this slaughterous cause. Each member of the group may be thinking “My values and human compassion make this all seem wrong, but everyone else seems to agree with this new worldview, and in this climate I would be crazy to outwardly disagree. And it is so convenient to just go along with the crowd; they are pushing me pre y hard in the direction they're headed, and I would have to ght, and at this rate be trampled, to not go along with them.” Group-think in the context of unquestioning faith leaves each individual member hostage to fear and suspicion. To suggest that religion's antiquated moral codes will forbid its followers from participating in violence would be a bit naïve; we are already adept at ignoring the sections of scripture that are uncomfortable to accept at present. When it becomes societally inconvenient to follow “ ou Shalt Not Kill” (as it has countless times in the past), it will prove

effortless to rationalize any way out of that imperative, e.g. “My brothers

and sisters, I remind you, Moses killed; in fact, it's '

ou Shalt not Kill ou Shalt

Believers'. Truly, by the grace of God, we are commanded: ' Kill Nonbelievers'. Amen!”

Another religious war, its participants convinced to follow along essentially out of fear of being cast out from the group in the short term, and possibly even going to Hell for not embracing the dictated belief; of course, the dark irony is that the closest thing to Hell in Existence is war, and slavery to hatred, slavery to the prejudices and intolerance of our uneducated, insecure forebears, to obligatory violence and dismissal of mercy for those of differing beliefs. Religious extremism is such a pitiable malady to still afflict us in the modern age. I should note that religious people who are offended by this message are wrong to be offended- they should be grateful that someone is willing to challenge them to personally use their human privilege of rational thought, instead of deliberately manipulating them for the furthering of an ancient cult and status-quo. If their lives have been devoted to the faith, it is o en because they are ecstatic lovers of life and reality, and feel connected to the supreme being beyond a shadow of a doubt, despite the confused and childish a ributes propounded of it in scripture. I think that humble awe before the in nite vastness and beauty of Existence is a sign of wisdom, and of deepest insight. However, I also feel that the blind a achment to rituals of human invention based on fear is a

completely inappropriate stance for an educated person of the modern age, (o en, a regre able consequence of the requirement that each person must t into his or her culture in order to feel like a good human).
To think your God capable of hate or judgment evinces a dark suspicion against the basic goodness of His nature, an immensely irreligious point of view. To believe a God of love can also be the Lord of fear is absolutely nonsensical. Furthermore, why should the God that you believe granted you intelligence expect you to disdain that intelligence? Shouldn't that be considered the worst heresy, to squander His greatest gi based on the wri en history of the manipulative schemes of profoundly ignorant and power-hungry humans? And once you utilize that intelligence, isn't it abundantly clear that your holy book is the work of fearful, ancient mindsets, and wholly outdated by the subsequent deepening of our knowledge of the Universe? at a human mindset presiding over Existence is an absolutely pre-

posterous idea, re ecting the traditional human arrogance and dei cation of personal power more than any cosmic truth?

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Some might mistake the worldview described above for a description of a heartless, random Universe. is I believe to be an expres-

sion of our instinctive fear of the unfamiliar. Consider: Even if every life

in the history of the Earth was one of grief and confusion, upon death each “me” would still have been greeted with a laugh and embrace of True Knowing, and would see how they misunderstood the essence of life through being embodied in a frantic-instincted animal, and how the tumult of their lives was a necessary consequence of beings arising from pure possibility into free will. If free will led a race of competitors into universal mutual torture, as our ancestors' ceaseless wars and squabbling seemed bound for, Awareness had to experience the pain of that situation. If free will leads a race into reason and science, and unlocks relative immortality and transcendent knowledge from the fabric of reality, is not all pain and sacri ce in the pursuit of that eventuality worth it? Outside of our nite selves, life is known as experience, and both happiness and devastation are surely considered worthwhile textures and avors of it. People who are used to con ding in God, and console themselves that He understands and sympathizes with their struggles: It's true, the supreme being understands your perspective with perfect clarity, as well as the perspectives of every being you meet. It doesn't observe this from the outside, but from within, your very own “me” is that of the supreme being, encapsulated in your biological form. In relating to yourself, you are relating to the sympathies of the entire Universe, which is alive in you. God is not apart from Existence, an aloof outsider; God is Existence, the whole and its parts.

CHAPTER 9

In My End is My Beginning

Many of us hold a private grudge against Existence for the nality and universality of death. “Why bring us into this chaotic reality just to let us die? What's the damned point?”, resounds the curse and cry of humanity in its darkest hours. is existential frustration is unwarranted,

and arises only as a misunderstanding of who and what we truly are. Rather than viewing life as the one chance your individual soul has to experience reality, realize that every life is a personal and unique experience of the one Soul. Your death is nothing more than the release of fundamental Awareness from experiencing your unique perspective; it is not the end of all awareness!

Of course, this doesn't change the fact that death is a great loss; life as a human is profoundly meaningful, fascinating and enjoyable, and the death of loved ones leaves us facing the sting of loss and the sorrowful ache of their absence. However, instead of consoling ourselves by imagining that a loved one passed away retains their personal consciousness outside of their life, where their personal, human consciousness would no longer serve them any purpose, we should celebrate the wondrous gi of life, the singular uniqueness of their personality and the moments and laughter we shared, and know that though the experience of their life has ended, life itself never dies. Do not mourn in your heart for words you should have spoken or misunderstandings you wish you could explain to your loved ones passed away. In the space outside our selves they know the whimsical soul of life and see the complexities of being in the world that we've conceived, how we emerge into life and gure out for ourselves what it means to live. Are grievances between animals (and humans are animals, make no mistake about that) wounds on the timeless soul of life? Of course not, they are simply the outcomes of the possible spectrum of being, their intensity a testament to the great depth of feeling for the lives that we've received. What does this leave us with, then? What happens to our personal awareness, our “me” that actually experiences our thoughts and

sensations, when we die?

e question really should be “What happens

to the subset of Cosmic Awareness that is called into subjective being by my brain and body a er my body dies?” When the physical phenomenon which spins your existence into being ceases to operate, the in nitesimal droplet of unique experience in you melts back into the one whole; everything unique to your biological form, your personality, memories, regrets, and everything related to your 'self ' dies with your body. However, the Awareness that was temporarily centered within your body is eternal. Without having any knowledge of the true character of what happens, I venture to guess (what harm is there in educated guessing, based on the precepts in this book and the accounts of near-death experiences?) that as the physical moorings binding Sel ood to the personal self you inhabited loosen, your being unites again into oneness with Cosmic Awareness, the Knowing of all of Existence. From this perspective, perhaps all individual lives growing within Cosmic Awareness are known simultaneously with boundless understanding and love, alongside the knowing of the interplay of all energetic interchange throughout all the galaxies, and the secrets of transcendent Truth that are held always in an eternal moment of this Awareness. Look out at the squirrels chasing each other in the trees (or any life-form you can observe); if you could inhabit Cosmic Awareness in-

dependent of your human mind and travel from the space your body occupies to the space the squirrel's body occupies, you would go from experiencing your human thoughts and emotions to experiencing the squirrel's sensations and emotions; these are each simply different regions held in the same Awareness. If you shrank in size to inhabit just a single cell in the tree, you would experience the busy life of the plant cell, informationally present in the region of Cosmic Awareness you are traversing. If you expand the region of Cosmic Awareness you occupy to include all the cells in the tree, you would now inhabit that tree's experiences, the cumulative experience of the interactions between and the sensations of its cells. If you expanded your scope of Cosmic Awareness to include the entire Earth, you might experience the cumulative texture of all sensations felt by living beings on the Earth at once. You could maybe expand the breadth of time you occupy to feel the experiences throughout history dance within your in nite mind simultaneously.

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us far, I have shied away from using the word “God” to discuss the idea of Cosmic Awareness, because I didn't want to jar the skeptical reader before ge ing my points across; truly, “God” is a word that refers to a supernatural being standing apart from the Universe, its Lord and

controller, the entity described in the Bible and Q'uran.

e idea of

having a Lord-servant relationship with God is a fundamental misunderstanding that humans have had about the Universe since the earliest hints of wri en history, and likely going back tens of thousands of years. e belief that you exist apart from God, from the underlying Knowing making up Existence, misses the gigantic truth, though the experiences of living give every indication to the contrary. (Animals seem naturally enough to feel that “me” is a Universe apart from “not me”, though the two are simply different aspects of the One self.) I feel that religion's description of God is inadequate, that God is not separate from the Universe, but is the Universe, is everything that exists, is Cosmic Awareness. ere is naught but God, and every life is an

embodiment of God's limitless potential and an encapsulation of its Knowing. e consciousness of life is the consciousness of God called

into subjectivity by the energetic unfolding of the possibility within God. You cannot be apart from God, the soul and sole fabric of Existence. God says, “I am the sea, and you are li le tiny bubbles oating within me. I am nature and you are living nature. Your life is a divinely vivid aspect of my experience. Me in you is unaware that you are me, but I am aware that I am you. Embodied in you, I feel the pain you put yourselves through, the barbs of your greed, sel shness, and competition.

is pain of living is the price of my Universal Existence being a owering expression of the possible; I cannot limit the possible from Existing. I did not create Existence, I am Existence, necessary embodiment of what is. I cannot control you; I cannot force you to be be er. It is impossible for me to do anything through you but experience your life from inside, as you (and while you live, it is impossible for me not to inhabit you).” “I experience all of Existence, in a Knowing that you cannot presently comprehend, but which you already experience in me, through my experiencing all of Existence (and you being me). I don't experience it all through you, but I experience it all in me. 'But how can us two be one, God?' Just as your many trillions of cells are one in you, all innumerable lives are one in me, all in nite Universes are one in me, all knowing is one in me. You can't imagine what it is like to conceive! e

drama and meaning of free-willed life is of in nite value, and the feeling of embodying all Truth giving rise to that free will is what you would imagine to be Godlike; not powerful beyond all knowing, but Knowing beyond all knowing, holy light. I love you, but I wish you felt be er. In nitely be er! Love is the way, not just romantic love, but self-love, love of all our selves. at means no hurting others to make your personal self

feel be er, or you are likely hurting your full Self more than you are helping your li le sel sh self. Competition and self-interest amongst intelli-

gent beings causes more harm than good, because it keeps your world suspicious, fearful, violent, and primitive. Your societies will grow out of your baser tendencies if you can cooperate to, rejoice!” I already feel uncomfortable using the word God for these concepts, as it conjures up the irrational brutality and separateness of the God of scripture, and on account of these associations feels like the an unsuitable name for the essence of Existence. I use the word above simply to show that the concept “God” was a very fearful early approximation of what the ultimate being is, and to understand more clearly and appropriately the nature of the supreme Being. To fear a Lord-God is to fear the boogeyman, a ctional character which can only hurt you through your fear for it and the impact which that fear has on your life and the surrounding lives. Cosmic Awareness is not omnipotent, nor is it a willful being. Cosmic Awareness does not guide the Universe the way we guide our thoughts; the Universe exists as the Awareness of the logical processes unfolding therein. at is, physical laws and energy are the necessary

consequences of Truth, and the physical occurrences in the Universe are expressions of the logic that frames the existence of force and energy. Time unfolds as the interaction of energy operating according to physical laws and logical boundaries set by the possibilities contained within all Truth, and no deviation can be made from the directly possible. e

Universe simply is, with the guiding principles of Truth underlying its being. It is not guided purposefully by a controller deity as has so o en been concluded amongst humans, but develops naturally based on the impetus of the fundamental logic which requires it to Exist and change. Because of this, Cosmic Awareness can only purposefully in uence the Universe from within life, by being embodied in that life at the expense of being separated from transcendent oneness with Truth. Any new life does not grow around a previous life's awareness reincarnated; every new life is an original, never-before experienced perspective on reality, lived out by the one Awareness. Every life is a rebirth of eternal Awareness into ignorance of the true nature of Existence save the warmth of the Mother's womb, or the cramped space within their shelled egg. Life is the temporary severance of a region of Sel ood from omniscience, birthing the fresh perspective of free-willed subjectivity. What Cosmic Awareness makes of that life is entirely determined from within, by the circumstances of the newborn's birth, biology and surroundings. Will Cosmic Awareness enslave millions? Will Cosmic Awareness preach hell re and martyrdom based on a sheep-like disposition and instinctive fear of the unknown? Will Cosmic Awareness pen Twel h Night, or compose e Rite of Spring? Will it feast three times a

day while millions of its brothers and sisters starve hopelessly, when it could feed several (or hundreds, or hundreds of thousands) of them

without missing a single bill payment? Will it break nuts with its beak, or scu le in dark places? Will it thrive in the sunlight and bear fruit? Only the randomness and hilarity of possibility played out in energetic subjectivity will decide. Cosmic joy and laughter echoes throughout. e meaning of life is not begging your way into heaven, nor is it resisting the pull of hell. e goal of living is not to score the most points ese

monetarily, outcompeting the rest for illusory personal glory.

things are human misconceptions, and have exactly nothing to do with the value of being. What is the meaning, the ultimate purpose of life, then? Simply to live. e meaning of life is to experience existence from

a new and unique perspective. Enjoy it! Make the best of it, though your instincts may not necessarily incline you to. As an animal, your primary responsibility to life is to enjoy life, and hold onto your enjoyment of life. As an intelligent human capable of empathy, your responsibility also includes helping others to enjoy life, and to diminish negative consequences of your actions to the best of your ability. You must play the hand you're dealt by circumstance, but to a certain extent you are free to choose your own rules to the game. If you dislike the world you live in, seek to change your perspective on the world you live in. Eke out the acidic resentments, regrets, anxieties, insecurities, habitual boredom, etc., and try to shi your perspective to the forgiving, the accepting, and the understanding; turn your inner gaze to

the goodness in life and experience, without pining for more good. Forgive yourself for your faults, and forgive the world for its faults; humans and all animals do the best they can with imperfect tendencies in a competitive, chaotic world. It is absolutely impossible to live without your actions injuring other living beings (o en, killing and eating them), so perhaps the guilt we assign to some of our actions is unwarranted. Every sensation you ever have is a tiny experience happening in a tiny animal on a mote of dust oating in the boundless Universe, a microscopic reection of the endless possibility of in nite Existence experienced personally by the progenitor of all things, temporarily embodied in you.

CHAPTER 10

Destiny vs. Free Will

e question of whether or not we possess free will is one of the most signi cant philosophical topics ever examined. Morality, and indeed our entire perception of life and reality hinge on its answer; the values which inform how we choose to act in the world cease to have any meaning if we are fated to take only the actions we do, and cannot take any other. If this were the case, there would be no reason to consider a serial killer any less virtuous than a saint (yet even if we knew free will were illusory we would have no power to change our opinion of either person from whatever opinion we are fated to have). As you can see, and as humans have struggled with for many centuries, if we do not have free

will, then we inhabit a world radically different from the one which all appearances seem to indicate we occupy. Why should we question our freedom, when living seems to require our willful guidance at every turn? ough the rst philosophical

treatment of this issue was in the context of religious doctrine (arising when the idea of free will con icted with the idea of our Universe being the domain of an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly just controllerGod), I suspect free will was rst thrown into question when running up against the less speci c supernatural belief in personal destiny. e ten-

dency towards this belief is still quite strong, even among educated, modern humans, so to approach the question of free will, it is helpful rst to examine why we are compelled to believe in fate, its opposite. ere seems to be something deeply comforting in the feeling that there is some just, underlying causal framework to the way fortune and misfortune is portioned out, and a belief that everything which happens must happen (even though we have no understanding why this is the case, or what mysterious justice this system abides by) coincides with this idea. is will to rationalize stems from deep in our evolution-

ary past. Understanding the logic of the world in some capacity is absolutely essential to animal survival (at the very least, understanding instinctively that water quenches thirst, that animals bigger than you are likely dangerous to you, that falling from a great height is undesirable,

etc.). It seems that due to the evolutionary advantage which more adaptive intelligent reasoning confers, the sensation of cleverly ing logical

pieces together into one intelligible picture has evolutionarily developed to be instinctively pleasant, just as sugar is instinctively experienced as tasting sweet because it aids survival. Belief in supernatural destiny is an expression of the same fundamental worldview which underlies all styles of supernatural belief, the ancient suspicion that there is some deity out there controlling the unfolding of all the circumstances we experience. “Why has my fellow tribesman fallen ill, while I'm perfectly healthy?” roughout human

history, many questions of this sort have been thousands of years away from correctly being answered, and because of the comfort associated with believing that everything happens for a reason, I would wager that the vast majority of explanations have been of the form “Whatever supernatural entity decides the outpouring of fate has decided he deserves the illness” instead of the form “Illness is possible in the world, and health is possible in the world; it is just as likely that I would have fallen ill, and it just so happens that it is he and not me that has had this misfortune.” is fundamental, instinctive style of human reasoning seems in-

exorably to lead to belief in fate guided by the supernatural, to the point where questioning fate is almost unthinkable.

is style of forming elaborate ctional explanations for the unexplained is all-pervasive throughout human history and indeed, modern culture. Almost every story wri en involves fate as its central basis. Perhaps this is because an author shapes the lives of his characters with their end in mind; from the very rst sentence when a character appears, she is necessarily destined to reach the outcome of her nal page. When we imagine our own lives we o en unconsciously frame them in this way, like our own personal novel with the future pages already writ out for us, just waiting for us to read through our lines by living them. Part of the reason belief in destiny is so widespread is because it offers rationalizations to soothe many human insecurities; humans recurrently seek the reassurance that their lives are of Universal signi cance, and having a personal, God-writ destiny makes one feel that they must be signi cant, even if they cannot yet apprehend why. We privately hope that our destiny is more important than our neighbors' (though, given destiny, each part would be as integral to the whole as any other), and that maybe we are even destined for fame, that ultimate pinnacle of a ainment. ere is de nitely such a thing as possessing a set of inherent dispositions, and depending on circumstance these can greatly in uence the direction that a person's life will take. Our inherent dispositions derive primarily from our genetic constitution and are in uenced by the

situation we are born into; if someone is genetically a uned to being extraordinarily athletic, there is a good chance they will excel at one sport or another at some point in their life, but there is a Universe of difference between that person being likely to be an accomplished athlete on account of these factors and that person being fated to be an accomplished athlete. It is certainly likely that such a person will enjoy playing sports, engaging their greatest talent, especially if their family is situated in an era and culture where sport is encouraged; if the person is born in India, he or she will probably be more likely to spend time playing cricket than playing baseball, perhaps even becoming a star professional athlete. Interpreting such a rise as being fateful brings an entirely different dimension of complexity to the scenario; if this outcome is fated, that would have to mean either that all of physics was set up by the deistic director of fate to lead to their athleticism, or that some supernatural force supersedes physics and is really in need of seeing some good highlight footage. ere is an interesting illusion which arises from thinking back on how we got to where we are. We look at our current situation, and re ect on the unbelievable unlikelihood that we would have come to such a point; due to the enormous range of possibilities and the chaotic in uence which even minor changes can bring about, there really is only one possible chain of events that could have led to now being exactly the

way it is, so looking back we can point to any range of events in our past which would have changed everything if they had occurred differently. Surveying this from the present, it is all but irresistibly enticing to conclude that this enormous range of events was meant to occur; otherwise, why would we have reached this unthinkably unlikely present instead of any other? We certainly didn't plan every event that culminated in now; many serendipitous events seemed to fall right into place. Similarly, we o en look back on our lowest points as necessary steps along our history, and see how they t into the larger picture of the story of our lives; we are inclined to rationalize these unpleasant episodes as being the necessary ingredients to whatever positive outcome we have come to or hope for in the future. is complex of intuitions

leads to the very prevalent feeling that fate must be at work, though because this style of reasoning allows for any outcome to fall under the blanket of fate, we would likely feel the same way given any possible situation our lives could have lead to. Furthermore, being able to write off all past atrocities as part of the grand plan is a very seductive consolation; it gives the world the appearance of justice our rational minds crave. Even more appealingly, faith in destiny gives us a type of sleight of hand through which we can drop all responsibility for the wrongs we've personally commi ed in the past; if we were destined to cause that harm, it must not be harm a er all, but

equally as good as the highest act of virtue. If this is not the supreme (and cheapest) salve for moral cognitive dissonance, I'm not sure what is. It is certainly widespread, and in this fact is another point in its favor: one of the driving human instincts is the will to belong to a group, and holding and professing the same beliefs as others reinforces this kindred feeling, and offers an easy means of spo ing the natural enemies, the outsiders. However, because the daily demands of life seem very clearly to require willful action (for example, choosing to get out of bed in the early morning and get ready for work, when you know you should do so though it is nearly the last thing you want to do), it is next to impossible to truly believe that we are powerless to take different actions than the ones we happen to choose. e popular modern concept of free will thus

reached, which pervades our ction and describes the viewpoint of the average person, is the paradoxical combination of a comfortable belief in fate coinciding with a belief in free will. Believers in this conception are the multitudes which, following any misfortune, assure each other “everything happens for a reason”, while in the same breath would sentence a murderer to death; if everything happens for a reason, that is, if everything happens according to the script of fate, how could we indict a murderer? How could we hold anyone accountable for their actions in any case, if they could not possibly have done otherwise?

It is a very convoluted set of mutually exclusive beliefs, which your average white-wool human seems to have no problem holding on to. I suspect that one of the most prevalent causes of confusion and discomfort in the human spirit is this dissonant view of fate, the belief both that everything that happens conforms to some mysterious plan imposed on reality, and at the same time we are personally free to deviate from or improve upon this plan. When both beliefs are considered side by side, it is readily apparent that they are perfectly incompatible, yet each seems equally irresistible to humans; how do we resolve this tension? O entimes we simply believe in free will when it is convenient, and forget about free will when it feels more comfortable to believe in fate. Other times we operate under a confused melding of the two, a belief that every loss and gain, every pleasure and pain carries an explicit message from fate of how to conduct our lives. e belief is that if some-

thing happens to make you sad, you deserved it because you somehow behaved in a way that angered the arbiter of destiny. Many re exively believe that if they are unhappy, it is because they are being punished by the hand of fate to lead them to the correct goal of their life. Every single action and thought is made under the impression that the only way the person can nally reach their fated happiness is to decipher the clues that fate gives them and behave in the exact way that will grant them their

wish. In their minds, any deviation will be met with a test of their devotion to the path of fate in the form of emotional or physical pain. Despite the strain of trying to hold onto both of these con icting beliefs, this worldview is immensely prevalent. To say “everything happens for a reason” is thought to be consoling, because it implies that any negative event had to occur to ful ll “ e Ultimate Plan” or to make

room for future luck. Sometimes it also carries the implication that a misfortune happened to us because of something we did, that we deserved it according to some mysterious and hidden system of justice. What would it mean if fate really does dictate all the events in our lives? As it is traditionally imagined, this would require a supernatural entity overseeing reality and imposing its will on the way events unfold; this of course ts in perfectly with the naïve idea of God described in Chapter 8, and is subject to all the criticisms which were given in that chapter.

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e modern version of belief in fate is known as physical determinism, the belief that the fundamental laws of physics dictate one and only one future for the Universe based on the past. is is quite a popu-

lar stance; over the past few centuries, the vast majority of philosophers

have concluded that free will is illusory, and that every action we take is predetermined by the physical interactions leading up to us taking those actions. Because this position is so contrary to the experience of willful living we inhabit throughout our lives, the popularity of this view would be quite an unexpected phenomenon; however, the philosophical implications stemming from the scienti c revolution and in particular Newton's foundational contributions to modern physics seemed to lead inevitably to the conclusion that determinism is correct. Despite the past philosophical trend favoring determinism (and therefore against free will), the modern evidence in favor of indeterminacy (allowing physical randomness and in favor of free will) is overwhelming. At its root, belief in determinism stems from an overestimation of our grasp of physics. Following Newton's discovery of the law of gravitation, it appeared that all gravitational results were completely certain, and given the correct starting conditions, the nal outcome of any gravitational system could be determined precisely without fail. On the contrary, the insolubility of the three body problem demonstrates that our mathematical understanding of gravitation does not give the whole story; far from being simply a three body problem, gravity is an in nite body problem! e unimaginable complexity of the dynamic interplay

of mass and gravity is unfathomably greater than our ability to model,

yet we would conclude that given any one con guration, only one possible outcome could follow? Historically, few seemed to recognize that strict determinism in one con ned branch of physics does not necessarily imply Universal determinism; it is quite a leap of induction to presume that it does. Even if gravitation allows one and only one series of motions given any starting point, one cannot separate gravitation from the other physical processes in the Universe without ignoring the inextricable interconnectedness which de nes the Universe. Even the apparently clockwork nature of gravitational behavior is subject to the randomness of particulate interaction; there is no way to predict the exact moment that a dying star will go supernova, because this crucial global moment depends on the way in which its quantum constituents probabilistically interact. If the supernova occurs even a nanosecond earlier or later, the gravitational effect of that event will affect the surrounding masses differently, possibly se ing an asteroid on a path that will cause mass extinction on a planet instead of on a path that passes harmlessly through the planet's atmosphere. When any system governed by a speci c fundamental physical law is considered in the context of the other fundamental physical laws (gravitation, electromagnetism, and the nuclear forces), along with the probabilistic behavior of the surrounding systems of energy, as would have to be done to truly model any phenomenon in the Universe, the

situation becomes in nitely more complex; the interplay of these laws through energy over time leads to an effectively boundless range of possibility. ere is no clockwork, de nite result implied by these laws for

any subset of the energy in the Universe, because no subset can rightfully be separated from the whole; the inseparable entwinement of the individually simple physical laws produces an inexhaustible spectrum of possibility, which physical processes can lead to by chance. Contrary to determinism, the intersection between the fundamental physical laws ensures that any cause can have a boundless range of effects; those which materialize are probabilistically in uenced in their arising by the conditions surrounding the cause. at is, it is de-

termined that all energy will follow the laws of physics, but the interaction between these laws allows for an effectively limitless range of possibility in any case (including the possibility that the sextillions of atoms in my brain will cause my mouth to spit on my computer screen right now. PFT, a burst of rainbowed speckles. Cleaning...). e Universe embodies an in nite spectrum of possibility made manifest by the necessary Truths, the perfect logic which de nes Existence, and which give rise to its in nite magnitude of energy and an endless range of unique manifestations. Rather than a single future laid out by any range of physical circumstances, an in nite branching network of

possibilities extends off into the boundless expanse of logical potential open to that energy in its future. Tomorrow is not strictly determined by today; innumerable tomorrows are possible based on what happens today, and which one crystallizes into tomorrow will be the result of an incalculable number of chance occurrences. ( e fact that you are reading this sentence now has

already changed tomorrow from what it would have been if you hadn't picked up this book today; if you weren't reading this now, the content of your mind would be different, and would lead your train of thought on a different path, ending up with you taking different actions than you would have otherwise, subtly altering the entire course of your future history.) For example, consider a dice roll. A determinist would state “Everything about this event is predetermined; the act of rolling the die is in uenced by the contents of the person's mind, which are the only contents that could possibly occupy that person's mind given the past. e force conveyed to the die by the person's arm is thus perfectly determined by past physical events, and if we had enough knowledge of the person's inner state (coordination, dice throwing style, mood and neuronal content) we could predict the number that will land face up, along with more speci c results like the die's temperature and position a er impact, with perfect certainty. ere is one and only one way the event

can unfold, and that single way is how it will unfold. In fact, if we knew enough about physics and the initial conditions of the Universe, we could predict this dice roll happening at this time and place from the distribution of force during the Big Bang.” I can understand that this style of thinking is appealing to humans, with our itch to understand all things. As was stated before, I believe this conclusion is a vast overapproximation of our current understanding of physics (and I in fact believe any understanding of physics which leads to strict determinism is woefully inadequate to describe reality). I would reply “Even given the exact conditions of the person's mind before the throw, because there is such an immense range of possible neuronal feed-forward and feedback interaction dictating the interplay of muscles throughout the duration of the dice throw, there is no possible way to predict the number that will land face up. e person's

mindset before the throw cannot determine the exact content of their mind during the throw; there are billions of possible factors which could modify the action, including processes down to the cellular level– neuronal commands are never conveyed throughout the entirety of the body's cellular matrix with perfect delity, and the entropic distribution of the action potentials through the muscles could never happen exactly the same way twice, even given the exact same initial conditions. Furthermore, because the quantum mechanics of the particles comprising

the human, die, and air are empirically shown to operate probabilistically (within an effectively in nite range of possible outcomes), if the throw were repeated inde nitely from the exact same starting conditions, an in nite spectrum of differing outcomes would be observed.” “If you take any evidence from chaos theory, or even common sense for that ma er, it becomes clear that the probability the dice roll would unfold differently if replayed with the exact same starting conditions (that is, before the dice is thrown but a er the person chooses to throw it) is almost in nitely close to 1. If any single microscopic event happened in a different way, the entire chain of causality would break and a new outcome would be seen. (At the least resulting in the dice landing an atom's width away from where it landed the rst time, or less, and at the most (or almost the most, nearing the realm of the almost impossibly unlikely), lodging in an onlooker's throat and killing him.) Like all Universal phenomena other than those following simplistic rules (like a calculator returning 1+1=2 (which could possibly be foiled by any range of unlikely events, including a meteor strike obliterating the calculator during the calculation)), this action has a vast range of possible outcomes, proportional to the amount of energy (number of atoms, span of time, etc.) involved.”

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e resolution to the question of destiny vs. free will lies in eliminating the idea of destiny altogether, and nally taking up the mantle of our personal responsibility for the outcome of our lives. No outcome is supernaturally fated to occur, because there is no supernatural entity there controlling the Universe. In this sense, nothing happens for a reason. Or rather, everything happens for only one reason: because it is possible to. For example, if you win a million dollars gambling, it had nothing to do with whether you deserved the win or not; your win was simply a possible random outcome of the game. If all events truly were bound to fate, to the “way it must be”, there would be no reason for them to happen at all. In this case, they've essentially already happened, in the same way that a book's ending already exists at the time that we read the rst sentence. We aren’t lling our given roles in a vast narrative that is already wri en out, we are actively creating the story of existence from the in nite range of possibilities available to us. e only destiny you are bound

to is that if you continue living, things will keep happening to you, and in turn you will have an impact on existence. To my mind, the thought that nothing happens for a reason is much more consoling than the alternative. If a loved one is killed by lightning strike, I'm not tempted for a moment to imagine that she must

have lived or thought in a way that angered almighty Zeus, or some similar touchy deity. Her misfortune was yet another outcome of lives automatically shuffled up by the semi-random uctuations of energy dancing in the light of eternal Truth. ere is no a erlife punishment,

and no ultimate justice in this system (at least of the type our aggressive minds might consider just, as was elaborated upon in Chapter 7). e cumulative complexity of neural interactions expressed at once in mind, coupled with the mind's recursive in uence on brain, which is in uenced by the varying and chaotic content of brain (as discussed in Chapters 5 and 6), is the root of free will in animals. Determinists o en argue that our actions are wholly predetermined by the natural physical processing of our surroundings in our brains, and that we do not in uence our brain's functioning, but merely witness it, as if our consciousness were some sort of unavoidable but functionless excretion. As explained above, this is a completely mistaken view; our conscious experience of our brain's activity recursively in uences that activity. Our free will is the result of the top-down chain of causality affected by mind, wherein the overarching system of energy in uences the smaller systems of energy which make up its content. Our brain may produce ten possible reactions to any stimuli, for example, unexpectedly encountering an ex-spouse on an elevator, but it is up to the mind to weigh the value of each reaction with reference to memory, knowledge

of social norms, emotional cues, etc., and choose the best reaction imaginable, in this case quickly enough to give the impression that the reaction was perfectly natural and not hectically forced. It is then up to mind to will the body to produce that response. If you had just awoken from a long nap, your reproduction of the desired actions will likely be clumsier and more incomplete than normal; there is an effectively boundless spectrum of possible responses based on the possible hormonal, mental, and physical conditions of your body at the moment it is confronted with this unexpected situation. When making any decision, our minds are presented with a gallery of options, undergo rational thoughts weighing the value of these options in the context of emotional and moral sensations, and pleasure seeking/ pain avoidance impulses. To decide on any action is exercising free will in the rational weighing of all these factors subjectively and nally se ling upon what seems to be the best possible choice. One person might value pleasure seeking impulses over moral/empathetic guidelines, and choose to make immoral actions for that reason, while another values vice-versally; they are both responsible for their free actions, and are perfectly aware that other actions were available. If the opportunity to act in that way had come up at a different time when they were in a different mood, they might have taken a different action; if the circumstances leading to deciding on what action to take were replayed

exactly, slight variations would be seen in the chosen action each time, due to the probabilistic essence of the mental coordination of the physical, with some more unlikely actions being taken in rare cases. In short, the mind is part of the causal chain in Existence, and the mind is personally, willfully guided. Free will is the limited functioning of our minds in weighing the bene ts and consequences of every action we take, which are not causally determined by the outside world, but by the private logical modeling of consequences and the sensations associated with those consequences. is is why we are rightfully upset when someone takes an action that helps themselves while hurting others; we know that their mental weighing was sel sh and non-empathetic. For the reasons given above, strict physical determinism is a hopelessly false idea; it is one of the many widely held human beliefs that future generations will scratch their heads at, surprised that its belief lasted into the 21st century with all the evidence available at the time. e idea that all future outcomes are explicitly determined by the past and not subject to change fails to take into account the degree of chaos and randomness inherent to a system as complex as the Universe, and the overarching interconnectedness therein. Any randomness in this network of relationships, no ma er how small or slight, would spread in

its effects throughout the entire Universe, rendering the entirety random within the bounds of possibility. Any chaotic effect is more pronounced in a system containing more degrees of freedom, and therefore a system more quickly tending towards maximum entropy (discussed more in depth in Part II, Chapter 5); liquids and gasses are good examples, as are biologies and mindsets. As a wise man once said, “Every thought in the mind is a planted seed,” and any chance occurrence in the outer world can lead the inner world on a profoundly different path, resulting over time in a different life lived, especially when our turbulent percolation of thoughts ultimately culminates in life's deepest decisions, the inevitable crossroads we reach. Free will is not perfectly free, but is limited to the immediately possible; we cannot freely live for a month without drinking water, we cannot freely remain awake inde nitely, etc. Furthermore, we cannot do anything at all that is impossible; breaching the laws of physics is not within the realm of free will. However, free will does grant us the ability to explore the bounds of the possible, to realize an unlikely string of outcomes drawn from the in nite depth of the Universe's potential. e less

sophisticated the brain, the less adept a life-form will be at realizing Universal potential; animals other than humans are clearly unable to gaze as far into the landscapes of imagination that humans conjure up out of the informational ocean of Universal possibility.

CHAPTER 11

Our Oneness

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate om the rest ― a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. is delusion is a

kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people near us. Our task must be to ee ourselves om this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

All of Existence is one; there is no “apart from” Existence. It is all one system of energy unfolding according to the possibility outlined by the perfect logic of Cosmic Awareness which not only underlies Existence, but is Existence. Somewhere in this in nite sea of time and energy is you, currently being affected in your internal energetic makeup by my current energetic makeup as I write this on a thundery April night. e

force of this concept sparking through my brain and mind echoes on this page and resonates in your mind. It is the energy of Existence's being swimming in the mind of Cosmic Awareness. is energy touches your mind through your body; through your senses, which gather information from the world around you and model the content of that information in your brain (the processing of which generates your conscious experience of the content of that information), your consciousness touches the energy of the outside world directly. Mind is an energetic phenomenon within Existence, and is not set apart from the whole. (Symmetrically, energy is also a phenomenon of awareness, the necessary embodiment of Cosmic Awareness' logic expressed in systematic change over time.) Meditate and observe that you cannot control your body's reaction to sudden noises, and how part of your body's reaction is to cause an experience of that reaction in your awareness.

e electricity crackling through the clouds upsets the equilibrium air pressure, this effect propagates through the molecules of air, earth, and water as sound, vibrates nerves in my cochlea, and is interpreted energetically and logically by my brain; this logical modeling rumbles my mind and I experience the chaos of the outer world within. e world is mirrored in my mind. e mind, also, is mirrored in the

world by its effects on the energy in the world: this page is an example. e contents of my mind are here physically encoded in twists and swirls of black, squiggles temporarily positioned together by your computer. My mind enlists the minds of my cells and coordinates this action, this writing, expending energy I ate and which originally reached our planet in the sun's light. It is now modeled and mirrored in your mind through a similar agency; your brain cells and eye muscles are burning your food and your oxygen to gather and model this information in your energetic mind. Cosmic Awareness is reality. It is wrong to say that Cosmic Awareness contains reality, or that reality contains Cosmic Awareness. (Any container is necessarily distinct from its contents, and Cosmic Awareness and reality are indistinct, they are one and the same.) When you look out into the world and believe you are seeing physical reality out there, and experiencing mental reality in here, you are being tricked by an illusion of the intuition. Our mental experience of reality is an as-

pect of reality; when I look out and see a tree, I am looking out from a system of Cosmic information at another system of Cosmic information; these systems of Cosmic information touch each other via electromagnetic waves, with one sending and the other receiving and interpreting. In the act of interpreting, modeling that information, the subjective accompaniment to that ourish of dynamic Truth, Awareness, experiences the reality of what is informationally occurring; the Universe is amazingly complicated enough that these informational realities can only be manifested through the depth of sensation and apprehension we perceive throughout life. It is ridiculously amazing, beyond the bounds of any human mind that this is the case. You should strive to feel the reality of your oneness with the Universe; it is perhaps the most momentous, beautiful feeling one can feel. Close your eyes and try to inhabit the reality that your breathing is part of the natural ow of the Universe, just like the wind rustling the leaves, that your consciousness is a component of Existence arising from the same basis as all others, alongside the shining of the sun and the spinning of the Earth. Our experience of reality feels separate from the whole because we inhabit a nite re ection of the in nite One; the consciousness of life is the In nite Awareness of God turned inside out. Death results in the reversal of this inversion, unwinding our kno ed

corner of Cosmic Awareness and relaxing our consciousness back into oneness with all Knowing.

•§•

We are genetically related to every life form on the planet. No ma er what organism you choose, from the e. coli in your gut to your pet dog or sh or the tree in your front yard; if you traced your ancestry back far enough, you would eventually make your way to the shared ancestor between your cells and that organism's cells (or cell). We branch off from common roots in different directions, but never sever the ties of our origins. In truth, all living things are part of exactly one severalbillion year-old, worldwide organism. Every cell in your body grew out of the union between one each of your mother's and father's cells, which grew out of the union of one of their mother's and father's cells, all the way back to the time when our ancestors reproduced asexually; there has never been a break in the continuum of our living cells since the dawn of life on Earth. Never since the rst chemical replicators came about in the pre-biotic era (as is currently the theorized model for how life originally began) has a life form sprung into existence from inanimate ma er. (Any organic molecule suited to the formation of a chemical replicator would have been instantly de-

voured as food by the more advanced life already present, as Darwin points out.) We are all different shoots from the same roots, like a multifarious Aspen colony planted in time. Truly, as an organism you are billions of years old. If even a single one of your direct ancestors died before having children, you wouldn't be alive: that branch in the Great Tree of Life (the single organism of Earthly life), would have died instead of eventually growing into you. It is charming, the self-centeredness of the family trees we draw up, which usually only show the budding and ripening fruit on the tree of life. If we could look through the fog of time obscuring past generations, we would see, with a gasp, that our lineage (that is, the unbroken chain of living our cells have survived) is directly connected to every other life form alive going back to the very rst singlecelled organism in our ancestry, about 4 billion years ago. Your life is an astounding triumph; every single one of your direct ancestors survived long enough in this hazardous, competitive world to reproduce, every single one! For 4 billion years, through every Earthly disaster, every catastrophic meteor strike, ice age, plague, and famine, our ancestry wove a daring, unimaginably unlikely thread of survival. Our families are the greatest victors to have ever lived, with a perfect winning streak going back to the very dawn of life. Having children yourself is giving your cells a chance to survive through yet another “life-

time”, which might be er be called yet another season in the life cycle, a continuation of the already billions of years of lifetime your DNA has produced. All living creatures today carry their origins in their being. Our bodies are like aquariums for our cells; in our evolution we never exactly le the sea, but brought the sea along with us. Your body: a bubble of watery life oating on dry land, with rivers of liquid rushing within and passing through. Look at the plants in your environment- think about the immense journey those plants' ancestors have taken in making it to that exact spot from their starting point in the seas hundreds of millions of years ago. ink about the gulf of time separating you from your

aquatic forebears and how that gulf is lled without a gap by vivid, dramatic living amongst dinosaurs and other threats, in packs, in tribes, and in villages. Every one of your father's father's fathers survived through this chaos long enough to nd every one of your father's father's mothers to pass on their essence, their life.

•§•

Even more fundamental than our biological relationship with all Earthly life, we are chemically related to every atom in the Universe; every electron, proton, and neutron, every photon, and every particle is

made of the same primordial, Big Bang energy expressed in different ways. e way in which those atoms react and interact are determined by

the foundational logic of reality, the Truth described above. We are gravitationally related to every mass in the Universe, no ma er how far, large or small. Gravity is in fact yet another expression of the primordial energy bound up in our molecules, the reactive force in the fabric of space to the presence of energy of the right conditions. e perception

that the Earth or your mind or body are distinct and separate from the Universe, from the absolute oneness of reality is simply an illusion, or a super cial assumption based on surface appearances and an incomplete understanding. We are beings of pure energy inhabiting the glowing, boundless miracle of Existence. Existence is in nitely more beautiful and expansive than we can possibly realize or experience currently; our tiny brains, as powerful as they are, can model in normal awareness no more space than the size of a small room, no more time than a few hours, and no more in number than about 100. (Of course, we can imagine or know about larger or smaller things, but we generally can't feel the relative largeness between them beyond a certain very con ned region, hanging close by the size of our everyday reality.) Aldous Huxley was very right when he said, a bit regretfully, “Human beings have an absolute and in nite ca-

pacity for taking things for granted.” Our brains simply cannot begin to process the miraculous complexity and signi cance of our being. Look at your amazing body design; isn't it marvelous that it is possible to look at all? ink of our origins, our surroundings, the per-

fect obedience with which the energy in the world follows the physical laws (obedient because energy can only behave within the bounds of physical law, of the Truth from which that energy is extended), and the limitless potential made existent by Truth. To hold the in nite in mind: this should be the ultimate quest of any intelligent species (of course, with the realization that a nite being can never experience the fullness of in nity; only the Awareness of Existence itself is truly in nite, and present for the in nite span). It is impossible for us to inhabit the whole blissful Truth of how momentous every moment is. Every single second in every corner of Existence's existence is exactly as much a part of God as any other; it is all one in the divine light of Knowing. e perspective through which

we see this reality is framed through the view of a surviving, temporary animal, trying to make the very most of its being in the ways that it is driven to by nature, and whom is not necessarily a uned to the profound signi cance of its surroundings. e human experience has for-

ever been framed by this strange existential position, balanced between our animal instincts on the one hand, instilling in us a will to compete, to

dominate, and to generally act and think according to our impulses and sensations, and on the other hand our a ribute of rational thought, which grants us empathy, humor, art, science, and technology. e majority of humans seem lonely for a world we can't quite remember but feel deep in our longing: the ful lling self-interest of instinctive living. If we could stay in that fully animal world, our intelligence could certainly be considered overdeveloped, and a burden with no use but to make our instincts embarrassing to us. Of course, there is no way to get back to the simplicity of our distant ancestors; our higher reasoning draws us ever closer to the day when we can step out of the perplexing instinctive/rational twilight we occupy into the sunlight of higher understanding. We live in the very dawning of this time, when our creativity will bring us to a deeper understanding of reality. It seems abundantly clear that this will be achieved in the near future through the technological enhancement of our brains; already, I have access to much of the breadth of human knowledge at my ngertips, and before very long I will have access to it behind my eyes. We will soon begin to unlock means of direct intelligence augmentation from the limitless potential present in our Universe, and enter into transcendent knowing of ourselves and our surroundings. Divine seeing will be a ained in humanity's future, and we

play a role in its formation throughout our lives by carrying the torch of living time into the future, shaping its unfolding. If you think human consciousness is the pinnacle of awareness, prepare to be awed beyond your wildest imaginings. e more intelli-

gence you have, in other words the greater the sophistication with which your brain models and interacts with the world, the more deep and vivid your experience of reality. Just as a human mind is more enjoyable, personally meaningful, and powerful than a snail's mind, a signi cantly augmented human mind will experience an unfathomably deeper life: unthinkably blissful, beyond heavenly. e more of the Universe you can

t into your awareness, the more exhilarating experience can be. If you could feel it all at once, like Cosmic Awareness, the experience would exceed any awed feeling of beauty any human can begin to imagine. I say it again: your consciousness and experience of life are indivisible components of the consciousness of Existence; the grand Awareness of the One is comprised at once of all our experiences and its Knowing of all energetic happenings. In the future, we will break through into a new level of consciousness, and be able to perceive the immensity of breadth, the depth of complexity and beauty within the Being of the Universe as vividly as we feel our own emotions. A new level of feeling and knowing will grow around our current human mind, just as our human mind rests upon our

mammalian and reptilian instincts, those which still remain. We would evolve naturally out of these instincts if we went on for enough time, but since they still have proven useful for survival (especially amongst earlier generations living in more dangerous times), there is no evolutionary impetus for them to recede. Even living in a perfectly safe environment for generations would not breed these sensations out of us; it will nally take selfneuroengineering to switch them off and see if the effect is desirable, to realize that we no longer have to live like this, with pain and anxiety at a low sizzle in the background of our minds. Once all animal debts of potential violence are se led by our progress, and we achieve the ability to live as long as we want, we will be free to mute the survival-tinge in our mind and turn up the volume on the sweet love and pleasure. is might

sound like a description of an intoxicant, but will prove to be so much more: rather than an intelligence fogging haze, it will be a gaze into crystal clarity, into the peace and in nite intricacy of Truth at the heart of Existence.

CHAPTER 12

Intelligence vs. Instinct

Once your mind is calm and full of love, there is no room for hatred or fear. Others will trust you because of your open heart. -Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

Many of the difficulties in human life arise from the dichotomy between the animal instincts we have inherited from our ancestry, and our relatively brand new rationality. We are saddled with a robust fear re ex developed through hundreds of millions of years of surviving as prey animals, intense social/emotional sensations from millions of years

of cooperative survival, o -overwhelming sexual desires from almost a billion years of sexual reproduction, etc. Our intelligence observes and is pulled by these impulses with frustration and confusion; we are able to realize that many of our uncomfortable feelings are unnecessary, but are o en powerless to negate them without ful lling the actions they impel or drowning them out with experientially louder stimuli. ese instincts

underly most emotional states, and are therefore extremely in uential in our degree of happiness or contentment. Everyone has their own experience and idea of what happiness is and should be, and for this reason no one can hope to de ne it in a truly objective light. To me, true happiness is a way of living, made up of positivity, gratitude, compassion, and love. It is inner wellbeing, a feeling of savoring life instead of enduring life. I think it isn't easy to maintain, nor easy to reach; it takes consistent effort to frame my reality in this light instead of seeing the world through the instinctive anxiety of a surviving animal. Happiness is not a goal you can reach and permanently have; it is a constant process, a style of perceiving. e truest happiness, accessible to all (to a point), is loving awe for the Universe: shaking off the familiarity and loving all of this for even being possible. When taken as a whole, the hugeness of possibility and the elegance of Existence is the most profoundly beautiful fact to marvel at, and seeing our lives in the context of this in nite, miraculous being

instills a feeling that no ma er what is detracting from our happiness, everything is perfectly all right. All the things we are cynical about, all the existential discomfort of not knowing our ultimate purpose is completely unnecessary. When I think about the Universe in the context of the ideas put forward in this book, and really place myself in that context, I feel like the luckiest entity that has ever existed, with soaring happiness and excitement, in love with all that is. is is peace for me, but my imperfect

mind keeps me from holding onto it securely for more than a wink of time; I have to really ramp up to the meditative or cosmic mindset over time, away from distractions. If our brains were a million times more capable, we could savor the beauty of reality in such a way as to extravagantly outstrip any experience of paradise possible for humans to imagine or experience currently. is is the goal of my meditation and my mindfulness throughout

the day: to inhabit the world on a deeper, truer level, nearer to Cosmic Truth, nearer to love. It isn't easy, but it's fun! Challenging, and having the opportunity to face a worthwhile challenge seems to be a cornerstone of human wellbeing. With our minds, we can consciously enhance the world we experience. If you want to live in a different world, all you have to do is change your perspective on the world. A change in worldview results in a

completely different life lived: your train of thought will take you to different destinations; you will react to situations differently and thereby come to different outcomes. How can we choose the best lens through which to view our lives and the world? It is impossible to truly say, but if you nd yourself consistently unhappy, it is likely because your personal worldview is not your personal ideal. Stride forward into life as an adventure of your own design, and develop your worldview on your own terms, whether it jives with the popular viewpoint or not. By using our human intelligence we can deepen our perspective on every moment of our lives, every sensation we take for granted, and gradually clear away the dust that has se led over our day to day experience. If we don't pay a ention, our brains tend to se le on the blandest possible interpretation of our surroundings. e vivid colors and depth e

become at, grayed, and go unnoticed by our familiarized mind.

depth of beauty in our Universe is so far beyond the capacity of our brains that sometimes, trying to let more into our bored minds becomes a colossal effort. e fun is, we can start experiencing more immediately,

and continue the broadening and deepening whenever we remember and choose to. One of the most successful applications of intelligence in controlling our wayward instincts and be er appreciating life is the act of meditation, in its many forms. e deepest goal of meditation is to in-

habit and experience directly the part of you which is more you than your personality, more you than your intelligence, than your thoughts, your memories, hopes, or fears. e deepest core of you, perhaps called

your soul, is your “I”, that which is conscious of all these variegated phenomena. e experiencer– that is you; throughout all the changes you've

undergone in personality, experience and worldview, this central facet has never and will never change. at is who you are, and that is who all

of us are; it is the part of God we each personally inhabit, our temporarily enbubbled droplet of Cosmic Awareness. Try to experience the immensity of Existence, the massive truth, beyond all human conveyance, that things exist, and not just any things, but in nitely complex things- you exist! To truly realize the signi cance of this, the unimaginable magnitude of this truth, is enlightenment. It cannot be properly put into words. Try to meld your understanding of the outside world, and your understanding of the inside world into one, and see that this animal you control exists in this limitless Universe, and that you, the consciousness experiencing and guiding this animal's life, exist. It sounds so innocent and simple in writing, as if it is merely stating the obvious, but the fact that things exist is the most profound gi imaginable. Existence gets to exist; all this possibility is allowed to ourish eternally, an ocean of Truth without end. And you are the experiencer of

it. Meditate and try to occupy the reality of your existence. Ascend to greater heights of experiential being. e most fundamental version of the many different meditation methods consists of si ing comfortably, away from distractions, with eyes closed or slightly open depending on your preference. Breathe calmly and slowly. Now, your goal will be to totally control your mind, and to assert this control by emptying your mind of any elaborative thinking, that is, thinking which follows a linear path, with one thought leading to another, to another, and so on: the type of thinking your brain has been employed with enacting throughout every day of your life. Speci cally, the goal of your meditation will be to identify and deactivate any thoughts which are complicated enough to require representation in words and sentences (and therefore making up an inner monologue). Because we are so practiced at linear thought, when you rst learn to meditate, it will prove immensely difficult to avoid thinking in this way for more than the very smallest spans of time. Even experienced meditators struggle to maintain a perfectly quiet mind while meditating. Many people resist even a empting meditation, saying “I already possess full control over my mind, I exert that control all day, every day. Why should I practice controlling my mind when I am already as good as I can get at it?” Fine, if this is the case, how long do you think you could keep your mind quiet and a entive to the activity of self-

quieting? If you've never tried, I would wager you can do so for no longer than the time it takes to breathe in and out twice, and likely not even close to that long; there's only one way to nd out, and you lose nothing by trying it. In order to achieve the desired cessation of linear thought, it is necessary to willfully engage all of your brain at once and direct it towards this one goal- not thinking and elaborating upon thoughts. If you lose track of any one region, sure enough, from that neural zone, thoughts will begin bubbling up, and part of your Awareness will not be meditating, but will be thinking your regular day-to-day thoughts: “I can't believe he said that! He totally misunderstood what happened, and furthermore, he's an asshole for assuming I would have those intentions, etc.”... is phenomenon will be totally unavoidable at rst, and less so as

you continue practicing. When thoughts crop up, and you notice them, willfully choose not to continue that progression of thinking, and rally that region of your awareness to rejoin your full-brain focus. is can be the most profoundly impactful form of meditation to embark on, and it requires both intense concentration and an easy looseness. you can. e goal is to possess full control of your mind for as long as at is, resist the sensation of your neural activity enticing your

mind to think thoughts; allow no inner dialogue, and allow no thought development. You will inevitably waver and nd yourself riding a train of

thought; do not get frustrated, simply drop the thought and return to the exercise. It can take some time to overcome the tendency to think “Alright, now my mind is clear. (No it's not, I'm still thinking words). Ok, now my mind is clear. (whoops) Yep, now I'm meditating (dammit)”, but simply the act of trying is (in my experience) existentially bene cial; learning how to take control of one's mind in some small degree allows one to exert more control over their reaction to the events of their life, enabling a more calm, wise, and peaceful state of being. As you progress through practice, you will learn to identify the sensation which occurs right before you explicitly hear the words of a thought; it is the feeling in your mind that a concept is brewing in brain, which calls to your mind to pay a ention to it, to link and develop it. In normal human life, we chase these sensations around and around, thinking a thought then apprehending the potential places in brain where that thought can lead, choosing the most appealing, and continuing on. In meditation, we reject these sensations, engaging our entire brains under the command of our mind to quiet down compartmentalized neuronal activities in favor of intent focus. If you can master this style of meditation, you will have a ained a level of conscious being away from the style you have employed in almost every waking moment of your life. In stepping away from the habits and concepts which occupy your style of thinking, those dedicated to

your self-image, personality, fears, goals, etc., the essential wellbeing associated with living by its most fundamental level, Awareness, comes to occupy the full space of your being, and this central peace can buoy the previously storm-ba ered human mindset resting upon it. is essential

wellbeing represents the indomitable will to live, to survive, which quietly underlies your experience of life at all times. It is profoundly bene cial to learn this distinction between the context for your mindset (mood, worries, tiredness, culture, social peers and self-socialization techniques, gender, life history, and more broadly, species and era), and the greater context forming the basis for your mind's existence (awareness itself, and the physical world owing in Truth around and within you). Sometimes it is very bene cial to escape your personal context and experience the world from the deeper perspective of fundamental Awareness, with no judgement or inner dialogue allowed, and this is the wondrous value of this style of meditation. Once you have practiced enough to be able to perform this mental self-control, you can use focused meditation to gain insight on anything you wish, perhaps trying to inhabit the reality of the physics making up your world, the atoms and forces summing to you, in order to experience life from a different perspective. Meditate on how all the other people out there meditating at this moment exist at a de nite place, a constellation wrapped around the globe; some of them are on the other

side of the Earth from you, separated from where you sit by thousands of miles of magma. Imagine all the meditation that has been performed in the past, how each instance existed at a de nite place out there in space, stretched out over history, comets of thought streaked back there through time. Imagine the physical existence of your imaginings, the unique, shi ing electrochemical nebulae draped throughout your neurons for every thought and every sensation. You can meditate and try to cultivate compassion for other humans, in order to found your relationships with others on a sincere feeling of wellbeing. Meditate and forgive the world for its wrongs and love it for its potential. Meditate and explore the existence and nature of your mind and environment. Meditate with the goal of feeling perfect happiness and comfort. You are perfectly worthy of it; allow yourself to let go of frustration, regret, and boredom and embrace gratitude, even if only for the merest instant. Meditate with the worldview put forward in this book in mind, try to occupy the reality that you are living God's Awareness, and try on the loving, awed perspective this can enable. Allow yourself to love yourself, and express that love by holding onto happiness and willful engagement with life. Radiate the kindness, warmth and acceptance that owers in this enlightened state.

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care about others, the greater is our own sense of wellbeing. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes on external development alone. to develop inner peace. -Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso e key is

A simple and immediately bene cial extension of meditation is actually paying close a ention to the character of your day to day experiences, the delicate colors forming the image of a tree, the feeling of our ngers effortlessly dancing over a keyboard, the sensation of sunlight or wind on your body, the texture of sounds in your mind, the neverending cascade of words thought and heard internally, the feeling of a refreshing gulp of water- there are no words that convey the personally felt sensations, but the experiences themselves are vivid and interesting upon examination. Our instincts o en compel us to worry about the future, or to regret the past; se ling into the sensational reality of the present disengages these unpleasant and o en inappropriate thought

pa erns. Humans have a natural tendency to ignore things they've experienced many times before, as if we get everything we need out of something by experiencing it once or a few times. On the contrary, closely reexamining the sensations and experiences we take for granted can open new windows of perception we never expected to exist. is is mindfulness, the Buddhist concept: a entively experiencing the sensations of life without analyzing them, and without le ing our imaginations wander from the simple act of being. It is a truly relaxing and luxurious way to spend time, but it takes close concentration to perform; our minds are occupied by our endlessly calculative brains, chasing thought a er thought a er thought ceaselessly and o en without direction. Of course, this stream of consciousness is enjoyable too, and is the inheritance of humanity, but it is quite a delight to experience life closer to sensation and further away from thought. •§• e belief that any positive experience is bought at the price of negative experiences is taught in several forms in school and at home to almost every modern child, directly as a result of having been taught to most of our recent ancestors. is is obviously wisdom, that working e problem with the doctrine is

today will reap bene ts in the future.

that strictly observed it con ates the fruits of planning ahead with all

future happiness; unfortunately, it seems the further off happiness is postponed, the less likely it will be reached. If an entire life is based on a aining happiness in the future by self-denial of it today, by adulthood the habit is o en intractable; no peace is reached because we have learned to live life in the present as a sacri ce to the future. Even when all our goals are met, we don't know what to do with ourselves. e a ainment of the goal hasn't conjured

lasting happiness out of our frantic hearts, so we set new goals, and rush to complete them. e longer a person continues in this frame of mind,

the more resigned they will be to the unreachable nature of happiness. e best they know is the security of exertion, that as long as they are working hard and not enjoying themselves, there will be happiness in the future. Sadly for these souls, the future never makes it all the way to now. A healthier viewpoint is to seek the beauty of the present moment, to be more aware of the quiet miracle that surrounds us at all times. Meditation with this goal in mind can be a beautiful method of breaking the habit of future gazing, and appreciating the fundamental comfort of being. If you can make it your highest aspiration to possess tranquility and peace in every moment, there can be no fear for the future, nor mourning for wrongs in the past. If today you make it your business to enjoy today, and leave the task of appreciating tomorrow to

tomorrow, most every outcome of your life will be guided by a joyful, wise you, and not by the machinations of an implacable, stressed and desperate you. If you spend every day grasping towards e Way to

Happiness sold to you by our materialistic and shallow modern culture, contentment will dance just out of reach, like a carrot on a stick. If you lay on your back and re ect on the spirit of today, you may nd that the carrot you were chasing has fallen into your lap. Another pernicious human tendency is the instinctive mindset of fear. e default animal mindset, evolutionarily bene cial to organ-

isms in the eat or be eaten wild, is alertness spiked with bouts of panic triggered by surprise noises or movements. is underlying mindset is

expressed in modern humans as anxiety and stress; we no longer have predators to fear, but our biological framework persists in steadily dosing our minds with anxious brain pa erns. is fear is projected on any un-

predictable or undesirable outcome; we fret over rejection, death of loved ones, physical pain, sickness, crime, the economy, our careers, how people may be judging us, etc. e problem in most of these situations is

that sustained fear of the outcome cannot change the outcome in any way; once the realization that an action could have consequences is experienced as something frightening or undesired, holding on to the conception of the negative outcome brings the possible damage from that

outcome into explicit being in the present, preemptively causing pain out of mere imagination. Worry multiplies the pain of our eventual misfortunes needlessly and, if unchecked, boundlessly. Instead of accepting the certainty of future pain and our helplessness to stop it, we carry the imagined pain in our minds and thereby injure ourselves. Being that this is something of an instinct for us, to avoid it we have to engage our newer a ribute of intelligence to rationalize our fears, otherwise they stampede in our hearts and trample our thoughts. Let us face fear without fear, accept that pain is part of life and not spend all our time unharmed xating on it. Whereas fear involves bringing future pain into the present, regret needlessly brings past pain into the present. Regretful or ruminant thoughts can appear from nowhere and remain in mind relentlessly, especially when the regret is of a romantic nature or of a personal mistake that harmed another person. e train of thought inspired by this corro-

sive memory negatively in uences our thoughts and actions for the duration of its stay in consciousness. Aldous Huxley describes regret beautifully: “If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving be er next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of ge ing clean.” is wisdom hinges on the strength of our per-

sonal honesty; when we wrongly ascribe responsibility to external causes, no insight, and o en no true reconciliation with the regret, can be gained. e natural response for our evolutionarily conditioned brains is to let anxiety prowl around in our brains unchallenged, to habitually let the fear of future pain or memory of past pain sour the 99.9% of time spent uninjured. Any injury strikes far deeper than the actual wound because of the emotional toil of stress that preemptive fear of the injury builds into. e baseline of human experience seems to be mild discon-

tent- no ma er what the circumstances, the majority of us quickly revert back to this resigned mode and let the weeks pass. It seems to be in our biology. A very successful strategy to overcoming the tendency to hold fear and regret in mind is to meditate by focusing your a ention on the part of your awareness occupied by that feeling (any negative feeling, pain, embarrassment, stress, anxiety, etc.) and experiencing clearly what the sensation feels like. In this exercise you don't try to avoid the feeling, you don't try to quiet the feeling or evaluate its causes, you try and bring it front and center in your awareness and inhabit the feeling, see what its avor is. You may o en nd that in paying a ention to the feeling itself and not experiencing it through its effect on your thoughts and mood, it slowly disappears, or changes shape to escape your grasp. e stronger is your in-

ner concentration, the intensity of your meditative a ention, the quicker the egress. It is also bene cial to evaluate the cause of the sensation in reference to the big picture, the biggest picture you can imagine. Look at our in nite surroundings, the in nite time, space, intricacy, and beauty. Also consider the countless number of lives, experiences, mistakes, misconnections, wrongs, and observe that in spite of all of it life itself is unmarred, repeatedly refreshed from life to life. No ma er what pain you are experiencing, anger, grief, jealousy, anxiety, the more you can broaden the context in which you view your life and world, the more peaceful your awareness will become. e habit of drowning out a feeling with television, work, drugs (including alcohol very prominently), etc., instead of facing the feeling and what it tells you is very harmful in the end. In this case you only quiet and nally put the beast in your chest and mind to sleep, deferring dealing with it until it inevitably reawakens more loudly and insistently later. Meditatively living the feeling, rationalizing it and learning from it at once frees the beast and strengthens your inner wellbeing, now energized with wisdom gained and restful in peace. e major difficulty in

beginning this practice is the energy it takes; whereas evading feelings through distractions can be done lazily, learning to meditate and actually meditating takes a large degree of effort. Is wellbeing worth it? Cynicism

is so much easier and societally widespread, but is so life-cheapening; it masquerades as wisdom when it is really base ignorance and a security blanket against taking responsibility for one's own worldview. Any society or worldview that predisposes people to feel that their life is valueless if they do not achieve the cultural ideal is damaged, representing an obstacle that every citizen must overcome if they are to recognize the value and beauty of living beyond narrow material and social pursuits. e cultural identity instilled in people from growing up

under the in uence of their peers, neighbors and more broadly, their language, native history and social norms, frames their natural worldview, what they expect of life: their goals, reactions, and valuations of all experiences and ideas. ose whose natural disposition is at odds with

the social zeitgeist, for instance introverts in the extroverted West, o en tend towards cynicism or depression, xating on what is “wrong” with their life, what doesn't match up to their neighbors and to the imaginary societal ideal they have learned. If nd yourself in a world you don't want to live in, seek rst to understand, then to rede ne your perspective on life, on your own terms. You are not required to think about things in the way others seem to, you are not required to ful ll what you believe others expect of you; you are free to de ne your place in the world. If you are engaged in delicious living, but despair that so many others you encounter are despon-

dent, take the opportunity to bring goodness into the world in every interaction you can muster the energy to. When cynical or world-weary people are confronted by a disagreeable or angry person, they see it as con rmation of their suspicion that all other people share their darkened view of life. eir frustration is then mirrored in others who are primed

to see the negative in their brethren for the same reason. It is much easier to fall in line with the collective, dissatis ed human perspective than to exert energy against the herd towards a be er way of thinking, but a better world can be made through the intelligent cultivation of compassion.

•§•

ere is a disconcerting archetype of human thinking, consisting of the deep belief that the only way to preserve the cultural species is to outcompete and dominate the others. is underlying societal mur-

mur comes roaring to a yell in times of upheaval, propelling us tribalistically into yet another series of prolonged mutual sacri ces, with some changes coming to pass (mostly steps backwards), at an immense experiential and spiritual cost. ink about the monstrosities human society e fact that

bumbled into in the past, especially World War I and II.

events like these are a constant throughout human history (imagine the barbaric lives humanity has faced in the past, how brutally harsh life was

in those times) is very painful to ruminate about.

e thought that we

could possibly repeat these mistakes on a scale this large is too terrible to speak of; one hopes that we are be er than this, that we have learned from the past. When the time comes are we again going to watch the instincts of the hoard cry for ba le without saying a word? Will we ever discover the alternative, that we could pursue a path of mutual bene t, for the sake of promoting global human advancement and collaboration? Or is this ideal so far ung from the individual human sel shnesses and cultural habits of thought making up these populations that it is unlikely to be reached unless human society profoundly changes? Shall we get caught up ourselves, and pound our sts from the sidelines, only to shake our heads and hide from our consciences later? When our children proudly tell us they are going off to the government to kill strangers they are commanded to kill, will we shake their hand and congratulate them for their bravery, or nally have the sense to beg them to reconsider? It is far braver to resist the pressure put on society to conform to one ordained set of ideas, and stand up for an ideal greater than that of any reason to go to war: peace. is should be humanity's highest goal for the next century: to x the violent social code of the past, and eliminate war altogether. e

fact that this is currently unthinkable makes it all the more clear how

primitive humanity remains. At present, big war is big business. Peace is the last thing those with a vested interest in the military industrial complex want; they are not the ones that have to suffer the inhuman cruelty of the ba le eld, they stay at home and reap the dividends of their investments, no ma er which side wins. ese woefully insightless indi-

viduals embody evil of the worst kind: voracious, self-serving, with full knowledge of the chaos they engender, without the slightest tinge of conscience. With the immensity of their wealth and ties to other wealthy elites, they wield an unreasonable degree of power over politics and media. Time and time again they sound the war drum with their subtle propaganda, time and time again we step in line, and again they feast on the bloodle ing of the lower classes. Of course, demilitarization is currently an impossible ideal. Global society is still set up as an adversarial, self-interested dominance struggle. It will take time, but with sufficient advances in technology, the motivations for going to war will begin to disappear; if the technological revolutions of the future ful ll their promise, wealth beyond any currently available will be essentially free to all, and the stage will be set for us to nally transcend our ancient ways. I am aware that the idea of such a future may appear completely fanciful, yet if you investigate the possibility represented by nanotechnology, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and arti cial intelligence, and place these in the context of

exponential technological advancement, this outcome begins to appear more likely, to the point that it seems the only way we will not reach this peak will be if we are unable to mature as a species, and use such technologies for violence. Ray Kurzweil and other futurists are presently busy trying to prepare for and avoid such rami cations. I am con dent that our higher nature will prevail, and that the idiotic violence we subject ourselves to in the decades to come will soon be supplanted by wise diplomacy and cooperation, continuing the incremental progress we have made over the previous millennia.

•§•

We generally evaluate the intentions of others based on what we've learned about them in the time we've known them. is is largely

why rst impressions are so important; the way a relationship unfolds is guided at each moment by the context built up between the two people in their prior interactions. If, for instance, one person is tired or stressed when meeting a new person, the other person may perceive the rst as fundamentally dour or humorless, and will interact with them accordingly. e rst person will possibly feel that the second person is un-

friendly on account of this, and their relationship will grow from this sour basis. is is just one example of the boundless range of potential

disconnects that can occur each day between people; it is immensely complex to try to interact favorably with others at all times, and because of this difficulty I nd it valuable to try to remember to be compassionate towards myself and others. We try so hard to never cause harm against impossible odds, but embarrassments, anger and anxiety are inevitable. We should try to take social mis res less seriously. Apologies have the potential to alleviate some of the tension. However, apologies can be a bit dangerous. When apologizing, you are revealing your belief that the person is offended enough that you feel emotionally compelled to apologize. is can feel threatening on the

receiving end, o en making the apologee want to say “I wish you could step inside my mind right now so I could show you that I really don't feel the way you fear that I do. Please don't apologize, understand I am not the kind of person to be offended by what transpired.” is difficulty,

especially in instances where it is not certain an apology is warranted, keeps a lot of apologies from happening. Maybe this is for the best; it is truly impossible to say because everyone has different emotional responses to every situation. Emotions are profoundly personal, and unique in every individual. Because interacting with others is founded on responding to the emotional state conveyed through body and spoken language, and there is no way to feel another person's emotions without modeling them from your own pale e of emotions, emotional

misunderstandings are a de ning feature of the human and animal experience. It is likely the case that we are wrong when we imagine other peoples' feelings: we can only imagine another person's feelings through our own style of feeling. We o en believe that we 'know' how someone else is feeling, but we only have our own sensations, our empathy's attempt at understanding how they feel based on our brain's interpretation of the valence of the situation and their body language. Our own feelings represent everything we know about how another person is feeling. How do you imagine another person feels when they are acting angrily? You imagine what anger feels like to you, what you think you would feel if you were in their place, and that sensation is based on the way their anger and the situation (who they are directing the anger at, for what reason, and what other onlookers are present) is making you feel. At no point in your valuation of their mental state do you have any access to the actual feelings they are experiencing. When you speak and think sentences, the ideas they represent already underly and impel the formation of those sentences. On the other hand, when you hear or read, the thought behind the sentences don't come through until you evaluate each word's meaning and context. is is the fundamental problem of communication, that the speaker forms his words with the idea already fully held in mind, while the lis-

tener has to interpret these symbolic, objective ideas (words) based on the speaker's choice of words and tone. Body language helps in face to face interaction, but o en at the expense of creating many more opportunities for misinterpretations to come across, because each listener can only interpret the speaker's meaning through their own personal worldview and expectations. A person with a cynical disposition will likely misinterpret neutral statements as containing a seed of sarcasm or darkness, and generally take in another person's words and actions in a negative way. Many people refuse to speak some of the things that they insinuate freely. It's as if the decipherer is considered more to blame for their interpretation of the insinuation than the cipherer is for sending it. Why is our body language so free to speak things that we would never say? Is it because of that old, pervasive trick of speaking contrary to body language, even when the tone and conveyance of the words reveals them clearly to be false? A person's words are wrongly considered the ambassadors of their true self and feelings, the official account of how they feel, when in truth their words are o en their strategic diversion from the same. I think Lao Tzu said something along these lines. Not everything we generally term 'passive aggression' is aggressive, exactly (aggression involves a conscious effort to explicitly cause harm to another), but is o en more like passive communication. It is

something like se ing a trap for someone you want to be upset with, because it's really saying: “I'm going to be angry if you don't understand what my body language is saying, but I refuse to do you the courtesy of coming right out and telling you what I'm trying to communicate,” comfortably ignoring the fact that no one can read another's mind without guesswork, seeing it through the lens of their own experience. It also leaves open the possibility that the recipient of the 'aggression' will understand what the person is conveying, but will choose to ignore it, or outwardly misunderstand it, willfully frustrating the original aggressor. e existence of this option opens yet another opportunity for anger, because in this unspoken interchange of body-language evaluations, neither party can be certain whether or not the other is actively escalating the con ict, or is simply not reading the clues correctly. is can lead to

a prolonged series of passive, investigative aggression, where the aggressor heightens his or her body language to elicit a de nite reaction from the other, to be sure they understand the other's perspective on the exchange– this stage o en comes to its peak with wide eyed, furrowedbrowed, direct eye contact. At any level, because of the complexity and guesswork involved, misunderstandings abound, and the human drama stumbles on.

•§•

Our cynicism and discomfort are fundamentally the products of our inherited instincts– experiencing reality from the perspective of a fragile animal in a dangerous world keeps us anxious and aggressive. Most humans strive throughout their lives to overcome these tendencies and reach towards be er, relatively newly discovered possibilities, such as compassion, tolerance, collaboration, forgiveness, and love. e story

of human history has unfolded in this direction, from the self-serving, wild and dangerous ages in our global family's past towards the owering of enlightened, warmhearted living. e potential for just how loving and peaceful human life can become in the future is boundless; there seems to be no physical limit to how successful technological innovations can be in making life more safe and long-lasting. If we continue pushing the boundaries of medical science at the rate we are now, the time will soon come when the life expectancy grows faster than we approach the expiration date we currently expect (75-85 years old, as of 2012 in the United States). Along the same lines, once we fully understand the neural basis for our experience of life, we will be able to intelligently and cautiously adapt our brains to let go of our anxious tendencies. For now, we can improve the experience we inhabit by learning to perceive the Universe in a broader, truer way. If your perspective, your context extends only to your life, and the traditional viewpoint repre-

sented by your native culture, or the natural self-centeredness of life, your world will likely be very small, con ned to seeing only as deep as the obvious reaches. In this tiny world, the smallest things can seem of obsessive importance: an insult, an embarrassment, your personal wealth or social net worth... e experience of living and reacting within

these chaotic mindsets is the way of the past, which we are only just beginning to learn how to resist. I have seen that the greater I can expand my perspective, the smaller my worries, fears, and regrets become, and the greater my personal wellbeing, compassion, and feeling of connection to life, to the Universe that enables my experiences. I hope I can learn how to maintain such a worldview much more strongly in the future. Ignorance is not the only path to bliss, nor does it lead to the best kind of bliss.

CHAPTER 13

The Universality of Life

e cumulative effect of the system of Truths discussed above (of eternal necessary Truths compounding to generate energy and the laws of physics) is a Life-Force draped throughout Existence. e result

of this Life-Force is that anywhere that life is possible to arise, given sufcient time (which is a drop in the river compared to the average lifespan of Universes), it will arise. e whole of physics, including the forg-

ing of higher elements necessary to life in the supernovae of the early generations of stars, which sca er these elements like pollen on the wind into space, the collapse of these atomic clouds into new stars and planets, the resultant elliptical orbits the planets se le into (assuring the planets steady energy input from their sun), their natural rotation, the miraculous variety of possible chemical reactions between atoms and molecules, the elegant logic of genetics and natural selection, the potential for cells and later brains to energetically process information and

model for themselves a subjective world, all of this sums to an unspeakably beautiful and productive incubator for in nite varieties of life. Add to this an in nity of time, energy, and space, and you have an eternity of unique perspectives arising and receding in the light of perfect Truth. Given what we know about the Universe, asking whether life exists elsewhere in the Universe is about as absurd as questioning whether or not the Earth revolves around the Sun. Of course there's life, everywhere: just in our limited range of our view there are hundreds of quadrillions of stars, with likely quintillions of planets, and life will arise absolutely anywhere it is possible for it to (e.g. hot springs, hydrothermal vents, etc.). If only one out of a billion planets were suitable for life, that would leave the observable Universe with tens of billions of lush, living planets (and the observable Universe is very likely a speck in an in nitude of living space, the breadth of which our minds cannot grasp in any meaningful way). If intelligence only occurs in every billionth living planet, there would be thousands if not millions of intelligent alien species ourishing out there in the black. Of course, these gures are based on relatively blind speculation, but to my mind represent a much more realistic evaluation of the Universe's potential for birthing life than the popular and outdated conclusion that Earth is the lone living planet in the Universe.

SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence project) operators are known to ask “If intelligent life exists, why the silence from them?” ey scan the skies for radio signals: (1) Perhaps other intelli-

gent races do not utilize electromagnetism in the way that we do, (2) Electromagnetic signals de-cohere per the inverse square law; it would take absolutely immense amounts of energy to blanket a sphere with a coherent signal with a radius of more than a few (10-100) light years, whilst the Milky Way alone is over 100,000 light years across (3) Perhaps other intelligent races have devised be er, or simply alternative means of communication. In the future, extraterrestrial life will be discovered, and it will be awe-inspiring and exciting, but should not come as a surprise to anyone. Steven Hawking's warning against malevolent interstellar travelers is very likely unnecessary: any race which has the intelligence to effect interstellar travel will also have the intelligence to realize the beauty and value of life, and to have grown out of competitive, primal instincts. ey

would have no reason to choose a living planet for supposed mining operations or the like: the entire premise of a truly intelligent species (that is, a species much more philosophically, scienti cally, and technologically advanced than humans) being belligerent is nonsense. Perhaps superintelligent life forms know of our budding presence here, and with their greater wisdom know that it is best for a species to mature on its

own, without guidance or interference from outside forces. At a glance, they might be able to tell that our very young societies would be thrown into chaos by unexpected contact with a foreign intelligence. Imagine being an ultra-intelligent member of an alien species, and being given the opportunity to observe a newly discovered, edgling intelligent species. You've never seen what intelligent alien life is like, and are excited for the research opportunity. With your ultra-sophisticated technology, you can zoom into and experience the consciousness of a human family as they go about their day. You might realize: “Wait a minute, their thoughts are highly repetitive and relate mainly to instinctive sensations– for the majority of the time they are only narrowly selfaware! is leads to these anxious and tense feelings. ese creatures are ey must come

a very young species, no reason to make contact yet. into their own.”

I take it to be more likely that no superintelligent race inhabits our galactic vicinity, and that our growing understanding is unknown to the Universe at large. Perhaps intergalactic travel is all but impossible a er all, and perhaps intelligence really is rare enough that we are the only intelligent race in this galaxy. However, the thought that we are the only intelligent species ever to exist is preposterous, and the thought that human consciousness is the pinnacle of being is just laughable.

•§•

One of the most beautiful and signi cant features of existence is the fact that each of its innumerable components is a different expression of the whole. Every single atom or light wave is comprised of the exact same material: energy. Existence is made up of both these packets of energy and the physical laws that govern how they interact. ese

physical laws are harmonious and gorgeous beyond our words- just on the strength of their logic, time, and a bit of energy, lives as vivid as ours arise- lives with brains sophisticated enough to accomplish all the amazing things humanity has accomplished. Our brains operate on the logic inherent to nature in our Universe. Cradle your head in your hands and think about the tens of thousands of cells dying and being born in that li le space every second. Humans are swarming seas of cellular life, complexes of constant growth, division, recycling, and cooperation, in their summation giving rise to a singular, all-encompassing self with the power to fend for this bundle of cells, which gets all kinds of sensations for succeeding or failing. Let's look at the progression of life, starting billions of years ago, to maybe glimpse our future from a new perspective. Here, cells are individuals, living lives that are unimaginably different from ours. eir fun-

damental experience is beautiful like ours- truly soul-touchingly mean-

ingful to them, because they're not subjectively aware of any other alternative. e complexity of survival, along with the divine potential allow-

ing for such an unthinkable depth and variety of experiences in life, will eventually end up giving rise to bundles of cells which can contemplate deeper questions in life than how to survive and how best to reproduce. Single cells evolved means of communicating with their species, because those who were able to cooperate were be er able to survive. ey adapted the universal properties available to them to a ach meanings to the chemicals that they traded between themselves. As other species became able to cooperate, the competition between species became more intense, and in response to these challenges they developed be er ways to communicate and cooperate. As their language grew in complexity, their consensus-seeking cooperation progressed to represent a sort of collective consciousness. eir means of communication improved fur-

ther in species more exposed to ferocious competition, to the point where bonding together into a single entity was the most efficient way to harness their collective thought. Here arose the rst multi-cellular organisms, many species

branching off, by chance and circumstance, into the peaceful somnolence of plant life and many branching off into the chaotic excitement of animal life. In the animals, the new complexity of survival necessitated be er communication. e cells adapted electricity for communication

in brains, unknowingly imitating the mechanisms driving their nuclei. Here the cells' collective consciousness achieved autonomy; their cooperation conjured up a subjectively singular entity. Each individual now was an entire world of cells, and with their upgraded powers of thought, these complex new individuals quickly developed ways of communicating with the other individuals of their species. However, selfpreservation was still the dominant concern of each individual, so cooperation only occurred where it was clearly mutually bene cial. e slow progression of evolution adorned the individuals with access to light and sound, and be er brains to store meaning and respond to the various signals in their environment. Over millions of years, these individuals formed communities of their own, again unknowingly imitating the progress of their individual cells. ese communities (for

example, human tribes) competed with other communities for survival. is competition resulted in the extinction of the majority of rival species (and eventually likely contributed to the extinction of the other closely related hominids). Again, as communication developed and familiarity grew, the tribes realized they would be er thrive through cooperation. ough we still occupy grand communities at odds with one another (our nations), we are in the process of truly realizing we are one family and it is in our best interest to cooperate for the bene t of all. We

will learn more ways to utilize the amazing properties of our Universe, and perhaps encapsulate our collective consciousnesses in a similar way to the multicellular revolution our cells achieved, and form yet another higher level of being. Being that multicellularity arose as an expression of cooperative communication, it seems as if a very early step in this direction has been taken in our development of digital informational processing and the rise of the internet. Our development from single cells into intelligent beings has been a long, unlikely journey, and our modern science and technology is giving us access to exponential progress- it is truly an amazing time to exist. Of course, we are present for all of it, so we may realize it is always a beautiful time to exist. Our sorrows are only misunderstandings, necessary to the self-organization of life in this Universe. Ours is an existence of love. We owe it to existence to experience as much subjective harmony here as we possibly can. Our cells are incredibly amazing to inhabit as it is, and we live in a dramatic, complex Universe. going to be a time of transcendent magni cence. e future is

Part II.
Abstract Reflections and Theories Concerning Physics
is section includes many things that I nd fascinating to think and write about; maybe you will nd these discussions interesting as well. I feel that though many of the conclusions reached in this section are not necessarily scienti cally valid (being an intuitive reading of scienti c ndings), in many cases they represent a different way of interpreting the evidence we currently have, and therefore possibly have some value in broadening the understanding of these phenomena. e

most signi cant obstacle that science faces is the fact that the evidence we uncover o en does not point to a clear conclusion; especially in profoundly complex disciplines like biology and psychology, or those far removed from the realm of intuition (like quantum physics), scienti c evidence only gives a glance at a true understanding, and the imaginations of researchers must ll in the gaps. is fact lends value to the ef-

forts of theorists who seek to be er interpret experimental data.

CHAPTER 1

Gravity in Intuitive Terms

It is o en stated that we do not know what gravity actually is, that though we have models for its effects, we have no intuitive understanding of its causation. I believe Einstein would disagree with this conclusion, and remind us that the precepts of his relativity theories explain mass, gravitation, and inertia in explicit detail. Perhaps the confusion stems from the difficulty in translating the complex mathematics of General Relativity, and Einstein's language of spacetime geodesics, into an intuitive picture which most can grasp. Einstein's theories of relativity are some of the most interesting sets of concepts humans have thus uncovered; we are greatly privileged to live at a time when so much of the Universe's fundamental beauty is on display for our minds to revel in, yet the vast majority of humans are totally unaware just what Einstein's theories mean for our understanding of the Universe. For these reasons, I want to present an intuitive picture

of relativity which clari es the causes and effects of spacetime warping, explains the origin of mass, and accounts for inertia. In this chapter I will begin with a basic framework, describing a basic picture of the Einsteinian view of the relationship between ma er and spacetime, and in the next chapter expand from there to explore why that relationship behaves in the way it does. Based on an axiom rst put forward by Galileo known as the relativity principle (which notes that the laws of physics remain unchanged for all observers moving at constant velocity), Einstein recognized that logical paradoxes would arise if massed motion occurred relative to a stationary backdrop of space and time. His theories explain that space and time are not a stationary, vacuous backdrop to physics, but an energetic system in the Universe, which is a ached to all physical energy and warps based on its motions. In Einstein's theory of gravity, the attribute of space which interacts with massed particles is an elastic medium: space is a racted to (stretches and is stretched by) ma er, and equivalently, ma er is a racted to (pulls and is pulled by) space. In essence, mass is the consequence of the relationship between ma er and spacetime, both of ma er stretching space and space in turn pulling on ma er. For clarity of description, I will use the word “ma er” to indicate anything which causes mass by its effect on spacetime, and “mass” to reference the stretching of spacetime caused by ma er.

rough this relationship, space effectively hugs every bit of ma er in the Universe; this facet of space (mass) embraces every atom and curves inward (is elastically stretched) towards their centers of mass. Gravity is thus the result of space stretching in the presence of ma er, and of this stretching drawing bits of ma er closer together over time. e situation can be pictured as if the fabric of space were an in nite 3-d la ice of relatively in nitely small, neighbor-linked rubber bands which latch on to every particle that has mass. ( e standard model uses a

boundless eld of particles, the Higgs Field, to account for this elastic system, which is intuitively visualized using the rubber band analogy.) Mass is expressed as a force pulling these “rubber bands” towards whatever ma er is present, along with that ma er being pulled outwards towards all the rubber bands resisting this pull in the in nite network. If only a single mass existed in space, for instance, the moon, the rubber band la ice would be tugged towards the moon's center of mass, with the force of pull on the rubber bands lessening quickly with distance from the center (as per the inverse square law). If another mass, (e.g. the Earth) were set near the moon, the rubber bands which cradle the moon's mass would be stretched by the Earth's mass away from where they were when only the moon was present, and this stretch would upset the moon's previous gravitational equilibrium; by a racting the space around it, the moon's ma er is

loosely a ached to that space, and when the space the moon occupies is stretched, it is impelled to move with the new stretching of the space towards the Earth. As they near each other, the number of bands stretched between them is lessened, and the force of their mass is therefore distributed over fewer strands of elasticity between them (so to speak); on account of this, they pull each other with more force the closer together they become. rough its relationship with space, every massed particle is loosely a ached to the space it occupies, and if the space around it is to stretch, the particle will be dragged along in the direction of the stretch. Rather than directly connecting ma er to the space it occupies, space's “rubber bands” effectively grip ma er, resisting its motion away from the bands it currently warps. ( ose rubber bands closest to the ma er in

question are most strongly affected by its mass.) In other words, space's elastic interaction with ma er is the source of inertia– ma er automatically seeks to continue moving at a constant velocity explicitly because motion through space involves warping successive regions of space's elasticity. When ma er is moving at a constant velocity, it is being tugged forwards by the approaching space's a ractive elasticity with an exactly equal force that it is being resisted by the resistance provided by receding space as the ma er slips away from its grip. Inertia is a very

beautiful, interesting, and far-reaching phenomenon, and it is discussed more in depth in the next chapter. e effect that ma er has on space is additive, such that two equal bits of ma er stuck together will cause twice the stretch that a single bit will. e effect that ma er has on space is also boundless; the

only limit on the range of its effect is the speed of light, and for this reason the absolute maximum boundary for gravitational in uence on any observer is the edge of the observable Universe (de ned by the distance light could have traveled since the Big Bang relative to that observer's position). Our bodies, composed of octillions (!) of atoms each inextricably woven by mass into the fabric of space, are drawn towards the Earth, comprised of a huge ratio of similarly embedded ma er. e space that

hugs our individual atoms is stretched more so in the direction of all the other atoms making up the Earth; our atoms' cumulative effect on space occurs in the context of the Earth's relatively tremendous cumulative mass, analogous to a global tension on the rubber bands. Our atoms hang on these stretched rubber bands, exerting a microscopically small pull against the tension, which elastically compels our atoms to race in the direction of the stretching (and simultaneously compels the Earth's mass to move in our direction with equal force, though this force is distributed throughout the entire Earth).

You can picture the situation in this way: suppose only your body exists in space, and that you can see the gravitational eld around you; it is represented visually by a cloud of arrows surrounding your body, with each arrow pointing directly towards your center of mass. When you are seated on the Earth, the surrounding space is still attracted towards your body's mass with the same force that it was when you were alone in space, but now it is also being a racted by the Earth's unspeakable immensity with much more force; the arrows representing the gravitational eld around you are now all pointing towards the Earth's center of mass, however, they each retain a tiny, microscopic tilt towards your center of mass due to your mass' minuscule effect on them. at microscopic tilt describes the slight pull your body exerts on the space around you, and through that effect, the pull the Earth's mass exerts on your body. We only stop in being pulled along the direction of the force impelled on us by space because the electromagnetic incompressibility of ma er is much more powerful than the force of gravity seeking to compress that ma er; we are held back from falling by the solidity of the ground. It is as if the surface of the Earth were an archer's hand straining against the tension in the bow, with mass aiming our ma er towards the center of the Earth but never loosing our bolt until we leave the ground and fall. When you jump, your legs exert force against the pull of space,

stretching you farther from the Earth's center of gravity before the force of your jump is canceled by the force of gravity (the rubber bands gripping your ma er) stretching you back to the center. If the ground were to vanish beneath your feet, all the way to the center of the Earth, your body would instantly accelerate along the path that the bent space you are situated in is stretched: the bands you previously occupied try to keep you glued in place with as much force as your puny mass can express (that eensie teensie li le tilt your body's mass causes in the arrows representing the gravitational eld in your vicinity), but their pull is dwarfed by the colossal tug of the entire Earth's mass.

CHAPTER 2

Relativity and the Origin of Mass and Inertia

us far I've given a simpli ed description of gravity, pertaining to the observable effects of mass, but have not examined the causes of these effects. Very important questions remain: what is spacetime, and why is it warped in this way by mass? What about particles causes this stretching? To answer these questions, a much more nuanced investigation of the concept of spacetime must be undertaken. e relativity principle, which serves as the foundation for Einstein's theories, states that the laws of physics (including those governing the behavior of light) must behave the same in every frame of reference moving at a constant velocity, regardless of the speed that frame of reference is traveling. If this were not the case, paradoxes would arise, destroying the necessary logical coherence of the fundamental laws. e

profound signi cance of Einstein's discoveries is that they explain how the Universe automatically eliminates these paradoxes for all possible states of motion. Einstein realized that there is a very deep (and before the twentieth century, completely unexpected) relationship between electromagnetism, space and time. e nature of this relationship reveals

several very far-reaching and signi cant facts about the Universe, but before delving into these, it is important to correctly frame our understanding of electromagnetism and light. e 19th century discovery that electricity and magnetism are two dimensions of one single phenomenon, electromagnetism, is one of the crowning achievements in the human pursuit of knowledge. James Clerk Maxwell's mathematical expertise in codifying the relationship between these two fundamental brethren revealed the nature of light; with the experimentally determined values for the permi ivity and permeability of free space (measures of how susceptible the electromagnetic Field is to changing its shape, that is, how strongly electromagnetic elds are instilled in it by various particles and circumstances), Maxwell's equations give the speed of light, along with the insight that light consists of self-perpetuating electromagnetic waves. In short, varying electrical elds always generate perpendicularly oriented, varying magnetic elds; at the same time, varying magnetic elds always generate perpendicularly oriented, varying electrical elds: any varying electrical or

magnetic eld will generate its counterpart, which will in turn regenerate its counterpart, and this cycle will continue inde nitely, carrying this electromagnetic oscillation away from its point of origin at the speed of light. ere is a very common misconception that light requires no medium through which to travel; nothing could be further from the truth. e medium of light is the electromagnetic potential which exists

throughout space; anywhere that it is possible to cause an electrical or magnetic eld, this underlying potential exists. (To be clear, this covers absolutely everywhere in the Universe; there could be no atoms, and no electromagnetic phenomena whatsoever if this global potential did not exist.) I will use the capitalized Field to denote this “vacuum” potential which contains the possibility for electrical and magnetic elds to exist, and which is present throughout space, and the uncapitalized eld to describe the electromagnetic effect that any charged particle has on the Field in its vicinity (and simultaneously the effect that the Field's geometry has on each charged particle). is Field is the heart of electromag-

netism, and is the medium within which every electromagnetic eld is formed and through which every electromagnetic phenomenon occurs. e erroneous idea that light travels independent of any medium dates back to the popular misunderstanding that Einstein's special relativity revealed that no such Field (at the time called the luminiferous

aether) exists.

is conclusion was based on the prior conception of the

Field as a Newtonian, rigid, stationary medium which all ma er moves relative to. is hypothesis was indeed shown to be theoretically incor-

rect by special relativity, and experimentally inadequate by the Michelson-Morley experiment, but not in the way that many seem to believe. Einstein himself noted that general relativity requires an underlying electromagnetic medium (in a lecture given in Leiden in May of 1920, Einstein told the audience “To deny the aether is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever. e funda-

mental facts of mechanics do not harmonize with this view... besides observable objects, another thing, which is not perceptible, must be looked upon as real, to enable acceleration or rotation to be looked upon as something real... Space without aether is unthinkable, for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time, nor therefore any spacetime intervals in the physical sense.”), with the modi cation from the previous concept of the luminiferous aether being that the medium necessarily interacts with every massive frame of reference and is warped by their motions. It should be clear that describing light as an oscillation of electromagnetic potential, and then turning around and stating that light has no medium is self-contradictory: the electromagnetic potential which is oscillating is glaringly, obviously that selfsame medium.

Prior to Einstein's re nement of our understanding of the aether in the context of the Michelson-Morley experiment, it was supposed that an astronaut could clock the speed of passing light to determine his speed and direction. Like relative motion between the normal objects of our intuition (like humans walking about), it was assumed that if he were to measure light moving in the opposite direction of his motion, he would see that the light is moving faster than the speed of light, whereas light moving in his same direction would appear to move at less than the speed of light (his speed would be added to or subtracted from the observed speed of light depending on its angle of approach). On the contrary, when the speed of light is correctly included in the phenomena governed by the relativity principle, no ma er how fast a spaceship is traveling, light from any direction will forever appear to travel at exactly the same speed. An astronaut on a spaceship moving through space could not possibly gain any insight into his velocity by measuring his speed relative to the speed of passing light. e effects of this Truth are incredibly far-reaching. For example, consider this well-known Einsteinian thought experiment, the effects of which stem from light speed's relativistic eminence: an observer at rest stands next to a clock made of two mirrors face to face, one facing down and one facing up and separated by 29.98 centimeters, bouncing a wave of light between them; a nanosecond is counted each time the light hits

one of the mirrors. A second person rides in a very quickly moving railcar, traveling from le to right relative to the stationary observer. second person also has an equivalent light-and-mirror clock. As the second person passes the rst, the rst observes the moving clock: from the stationary perspective, the light beam in the moving clock is seen to traverse a zig-zag, and consequently the light is observed to take longer to tick off a nanosecond of time than the stationary clock which has a light beam traveling straight up and down. ( e zigzagging e

light travels farther between re ections, and since a longer spatial path for light is equivalent to a longer duration of travel (light always travels an equal distance in an equal time through any equivalent medium regardless of the state of motion of that medium), the nanoseconds on that clock must be longer.) However, the person on board the railcar notes that his clock passes light directly up and down; which observer is correct? It turns out that the moving clock is both passing light in straight lines relative to the person on the railcar and passing light at an angle relative to the stationary observer; they are both correct. However, the validity of the other person's point of view is hidden from each by the Universe's response to this relative motion. Because light is required by the relativity principle to pass through the reference frame when it is moving at a constant velocity in a manner directly equivalent to how that light would pass

through if that reference frame were not in motion, space is compressed in the direction of motion such that the lateral zigzag it is seen to traverse from a stationary perspective is negated relative to anyone inside the moving frame of reference. Further, because the light still has to pass through the extra space compressed within that frame of reference in order to be observed on board to bounce between the mirrors in exactly one nanosecond, the passage of time within the reference frame must be slowed. ese effects are profoundly counterintuitive, but they are well

known and have been experimentally demonstrated time and again since their discovery. Crucially, the EM Field which the light traverses is not independent of the frame of reference containing that light. As the railcar moves through space, , it spans more distance through the EM Field per second, yet light traversing that region of the EM Field and observed from within the moving frame of reference must appear to pass through that greater distance in the exact same span of time it would have if the frame of reference were stationary; this necessity is effected by the spatial contraction and temporal dilation of physics on board. e EM Field

spatially occupied and in uenced by that frame of reference's mass is dragged along with its motion; as the frame of reference moves, the warp which it causes in spacetime moves along with it, as a wave of compression passing through the Field. Spacetime and the EM Field are pro-

foundly interwoven via this relationship; mass and massed motions warp the EM Field which transmits light, and the characteristics of the EM Field at every point de ne the characteristics of spacetime at each point, due to the relativistic conservation of the speed of light in both space and time. Because light forever travels at an equal speed both in time and space, and cannot travel a light second in distance without covering exactly a second in time (in the vacuum), along with the fact that this must be true regardless of relative motion (due to the relativity principle), space and time in any region of the Universe are code ned by the speed and preferred path of light through that region. In our relativistic Universe of varying states of motion amongst different frames of reference, ma er's interaction with spacetime changes the electromagnetic conditions of the surrounding region, which de ne the path light must take through any region in order not to violate the relativity principle. What this all comes to is that, essentially, every frame of reference no ma er what its motion must be stationary relative to the motion of light passing through that frame of reference; absolute deference is given to light's motion in order to maintain the relativity principle in all states of motion. In the above case, the light bouncing between the mirrors aboard the moving railcar must move straight up and down relative to the mirrors in order to continue bouncing between them; the light

traverses the EM Field, and if the railcar were in motion relative to the EM Field, the mirrors would pass by the region in the EM Field through which the light is traveling, and it would fail to re ect. On the contrary, the EM Field is compressed along with the railcar's motion by the railcar's mass. If there is a mass in space with any velocity, the space that mass occupies shares that mass' velocity, compressing as it goes; though the railcar is in motion relative to the surrounding EM Field, the compression of the EM Field within that frame of reference is dragged along at an equal rate, and is stationary relative to the railcar. Light's preferred path, as the fundamental benchmark de ning spacetime, represents the stationary frame of reference for any region in spacetime regardless of that region's motion. e way that this effect is

accomplished is by the warping of spacetime which accompanies all ma er, and is especially apparent between frames of reference in relative motion. Every system of ma er is embedded in spacetime, and when undergoing motion, more spacetime must be compressed into that frame of reference to allow light a relatively stationary reference frame through which to travel at equal velocity in all directions. is effect is evident when examining the Lorentz transformation which describes the degree to which relativistic effects occur: the factor for how much time is dilated in the moving reference frame relative to a stationary one is exactly equal to the factor for how greatly the

moving reference frame's mass is ampli ed.

e passage of time is di-

rectly proportional to the degree of mass in a system, that is, the more space that is compressed into that system by its mass (as described above, mass being the effect ma er has on space through its dynamic relationship sustaining the relativity principle), the slower physical processes will unfold therein. is is the direct result of light having to travel

a further path through the compressed space than it would in a stationary reference frame which does not warp space as much; again, since light's speed and preferred path through any reference frame de nes the character of spacetime within that reference frame, wherever space is condensed by motion such that more of the EM eld is present in the frame of reference per second (raising the mass of that frame of reference), time will unfold more slowly. Mass is therefore wholly a description of time dilation due to spatial compression. Spatial compression results in time dilation due to the speed of light de ning spacetime in every electromagnetic circumstance; where light has to take a longer path in order to accord with the relativity principle (in order not to appear to take a longer path from on board the reference frame) time must slow in order to allow this to occur. In other words, if a frame of reference measures seconds based on the speed of light through that reference frame, then even when that reference frame is in motion and the light takes longer than a second to

cover the distance within the reference frame as seen from outside, the light must appear to still cover that extra distance in one second from within the reference frame. e light has a longer path, and time must

allow the light to cover this longer path in the same time; time within the warped reference frame stretches out so that if the light has to travel extra distance, a second takes longer to tick, and all physical processes unfold more slowly relative to how they would unfold in an unwarped span of the Field.

•§•

e above scenario reveals how spacetime warping occurs due to states of relative motion, but how can relativistic effects manifest in instances where no net velocities are in effect, such as the everyday constituents of our surroundings? It is easy to forget that the relativity principle applies absolutely everywhere in the Universe, even in the span from one side of an atom to the other; the constituent particles in our atoms are forever in relative motion with one another. is relativistic

swarm is necessarily compensated for in accordance with the relativity principle such that even an atom-sized observer would not note any discrepancies in the speed of light passing through the vicinity from any

angle; this compensation is the same for particles as it is for stars: spacetime warping, be er known as gravity or mass. Spacetime warps based on the requirement that systems of relative motion necessarily share an equivalent speed of light, and this effect is expressed in the phenomena of mass, gravitation, and inertia. Mass is the result of the relationship between energy and spacetime as necessitated by the Universal constancy of the speed of light via the relativity principle. Energy warps spacetime due to this relationship, and this is the effect which causes gravitation: gravity and mass are two different ways of looking at the same thing. Basically, mass can be interpreted as the effect any bit of energy has on the geometry of spacetime, and gravity can be interpreted as the effect that spacetime's warping has on any energy in spacetime (they each represent opposite sides of the balanced pull/pull relationship between ma er and spacetime). It should be clari ed that the effect a particle has on the Field is not con ned solely to its electromagnetic charge, or even to its interaction with the electromagnetic eld. If this were the case, protons would have the same mass as electrons, having a charge of equal magnitude. It is not only the effect of a particle's charge on the EM Field which causes its mass, but also its relative motion to the Field. e quarks making up a

proton undergo intense, rapid oscillations relative to the Field, and it is

the energy of this motion relative to the Field which accounts for the proton's greater mass. Essentially, mass accounts for all aspects of energy, including temperature, angular momentum, velocity, color charge, etc. It is the interaction between a particle's circumstance and the Field which warps spacetime relative to the speed of light. Extremely importantly, this spacetime warping in uences the behavior of every fundamental physical law. As the relativity principle requires, all laws of physics are modied in direct proportion with the modi cation of spacetime in reference to the speed of light; wherever a clock is slowed by relativistic motion, all of physics within that frame of reference unfolds more slowly.

•§• e global shape of spacetime characterizes the gravitational Field in the Universe. To investigate its properties, let's revisit the rubber-band la ice analogy from the previous chapter. All the effects described there are the same, but the picture can now be drawn with much more sophistication. Now we can clarify that the mass accompanying each particle is due to that particle's effect on spacetime via the relativity principle in reference to the speed of light. e “rubber bands” e

a ached to and stretched by that ma er's mass represent spacetime.

EM Field (and spacetime, the shape of which is de ned in reference to the speed of light through the EM Field) is one continuous elastic medium throughout the Universe, and the geometry at any point affects the geometry at every other point, with modi cations to that geometry being conveyed throughout by EM waves (in this case, taking the form of low frequency, low amplitude gravitational waves, bearing information about modi cations to the shape of spacetime throughout the Universe) propagating like all EM radiation at the speed of light. e Earth

stretches spacetime inwards towards its center of mass, while the Sun stretches the spacetime which is stretching inwards towards the Earth's center of mass towards its own center of mass, and the two masses are thereby stretched towards each other, continually modifying the shape of the spacetime they pass through by their motion. Due to the relativistic effects described above, the entire shape of spacetime will appear differently to observers in different states of motion. is follows from the profound insight of general relativity, that all

ma er is a ached to spacetime via its mass, and that motion through the Field modi es the Field. ough there is no canonical shape to space-

time in the traditional, Newtonian sense, every possible perspective on the shape of spacetime is accounted for in the Truth describing the existence of all possible perspectives. Every relativistic viewpoint is equally

valid in that it represents how the Universe relates to that viewpoint due to its unique relationship with the Field. Inertia, as Einstein brilliantly recognized, is a consequence of the relationship ma er has with space: ma er compresses spacetime inwards, and spacetime simultaneously resists this compression by tugging outwards; it is only with the continuous relative motion within the energy making up the ma er that the spacetime compression (due to the relativity principle) is maintained. An object's mass is wholly contained in this elastic relationship with spacetime; consider a dumbbell. e rea-

son it is difficult to li the dumbbell is because the dense ma er making it up compresses spacetime to a certain degree, and because it is situated on the surface of the immense Earth, that spacetime compression pulls against the tremendous spacetime compression the Earth's mass causes; the spacetime a ached to the dumbbell is stretched very strongly towards the center of the Earth. To overcome the force of this gravitational a raction, you have to pull the dumbbell from the spacetime region it currently stretches, warping new regions of space as you li it. Consider oating in a spacesuit next to the dumbbell far out in space, away from any signi cant gravitational eld. Because the dumbbell continues to compress spacetime due to its mass, it will still take force to move around. When it is oating still next to you, it occupies a state of gravitational equilibrium; it pulls inwards on space and is pulled

outwards by space equally in every direction, and sits comfortably in a li le gravitational well, with no reason to move at all. (Your minuscule gravitational eld is not enough to upset its inertia to any immediately noticeable degree.) If you reach out and push the dumbbell, it accelerates for a short moment before dri ing off at a constant velocity endlessly, at least until an outside force acts on it (and your body in turn does the same in the opposite direction, at a proportionally slower rate depending on your mass). Imagine the effect occurring in spacetime, underlying the dumbbell: its mass exists as a region of spacetime which is compressed. When this compression is set in motion, the space just outside of the ma er in the direction of its motion is continually nearing it, and because of the elastic relationship between spacetime and ma er, the nearer it gets, the more strongly that spacetime is pulled towards the ma er by its mass (and the more strongly that ma er is pulled towards that spacetime). On the other hand, in the direction away from the matter's motion, the space just outside the ma er is continually receding from the ma er, and on account of this, pulls on and is pulled by it less as it recedes. In this way, the compression of spacetime undergone by the ma er traveling a constant velocity represents a balanced gravitational wave in the medium of spacetime. is wave a ains elastic equilibrium;

the pull of approaching spacetime perfectly counteracts the pull of re-

ceding spacetime, and the velocity remains unchanged. (I.e. if you are traveling forwards at constant velocity, the spacetime in front of you is pulled towards your mass (and thus pulls your mass) at the exact rate that the spacetime behind you is pulled away from your mass by your motion (and is thus resisting your forward motion).) To change velocity, any object has to be tugged from the natural motion it had se led into through the path of least resistance through the warped space, and now warp a new region of space. In uencing the propagation of that wave (changing its direction or speed of travel) upsets this equilibrium, and takes energy. It is for this reason that any acceleration is met with the resistant force of inertia, and why, in accordance with Newton's rst law, every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. Space is subtly smeared out behind you as you accelerate in your car, stretching slightly against the pull of your atoms on its elasticity; it is due to this elastic resistance that your body is pulled backwards against the seat. Similarly, when you enter a curve, your body's constant forward velocity and accompanying inertial equilibrium (the gravitational standing wave described above) are upset by the car's turning, and you feel the force of inertia seeking to drag you along the path you were already traveling.

It is important that it be made clear that gravity and inertia are both expressions of the same phenomenon, spacetime's a achment to and interaction with ma er– if you were to enter a spaceship and accelerate at a steady 9.8 meters per second, the relativistic-resistant force in space to your mass' acceleration would exert a force on you equal to the force of gravity on Earth. As your mass is dragged through the elasticity of space, the tension on the bands at any point you occupy acts to keep you glued to that spot; only with the external force of the spaceship's engines is this force overcome, and the spacetime's resistance to your continued motion manifests as gravitational resistance. Equivalently, the space you occupy on the Earth's surface is stretched downwards, not due to your acceleration away from the elasticity of the space you previously occupied (as in the case of the spaceship) but through the stretch of the spacetime you currently occupy towards the center of the Earth.

•§•

To picture the shape of spacetime, imagine a 3 dimensional cartesian coordinate system, with its lines drawn in red, lling space, stretching away in every direction endlessly; a euclidean grid of this sort with all straight lines represents the “vacuum” shape of spacetime, unmodi ed by mass. e relationship between ma er and spacetime,

mass/gravity, modi es the shape of this basic grid, and any observer within the system will have a different perspective on the shape of the grid by their state of motion relative to the other frames of reference therein; the shape of spacetime is immensely complicated by the presence of energy, and though it is objectively independent of the various frames of reference from which it can be viewed (in that the information describing every frame of reference exists simultaneously and de nes the global shape of spacetime), a different picture of it is subjectively gathered from each of these different frames of reference. Each particle is uniquely embedded in the Field due to its warping of the Field; you can picture the particle's effect on the Field as a region where the red la ice is stretched inwards, and where a passing EM wave would be forced by the relativity principle to curve closer to the particle due to this inward stretch on the Field's geometry. Of course, for a single particle, this effect is almost totally negligible, but where the stretch of many trillions of trillions of particles is coalesced together into a planet or star, the effect is readily observable, and signi cant to the formation and development of galaxies (and to the initial con rmation of Einstein's theories). In essence, mass is a measure of the subset of any bit of energy which is distributed through spacetime by that particular bit of energy's necessary modi cation of spacetime through the relativity principle. e

phenomenon we usually call gravity is the global interrelationship between all the mass in the Universe, where each bit of energy's relationship with spacetime is in uenced by every other bit of energy's relationship with spacetime; their effects are additive and act on spacetime at the speed of light (the speed with which the Field can be modi ed). To further delineate that gravity is a phenomenon of spacetime, caused by energy's presence in spacetime (with certain expressions of energy causing more mass, more local spacetime stretching than others, e.g. protons vs. photons), consider the following thought experiment. You observe a video feed of two clear boxes. Each contains two mirrors face-to-face two meters apart from each other passing light back and forth. One is oating far outside the Milky Way galaxy, with no stars for many thousands of light years; light travels at the speed c (the speed of light in a vacuum) between the two mirrors. e other is positioned on

the surface of the Earth, and therefore contains the spatiotemporal phenomenon of gravity. What does it mean for the box to contain the phenomenon of gravity, and what are the consequences to the light traveling therein? Again, use the red grid visualization technique. e space box

will contain a grid comprised of regular cubes, let's say, 27 cubes in all. e Earth box, on the other hand, will contain a grid comprised of squashed cubes, cubes with 4 rectangular faces; spacetime is compressed

within the box due to its position in the Earth's gravitational eld. Earth box contains, maybe, 45 stunted cubes.

e

One important facet of the red grid visualization is that relative to objects moving at the speed of light (light is the only such object), the grid is always perfectly cubic- the results of its gravitational distortion only apply to space as observed by a non-light observer. It is, in fact, this requirement which causes spacetime warping; light must always travel in a straight line (due to its proportional, perpendicular electrical and magnetic elds summing to perpendicular travel relative to the Field), even when the Field through which it travels is warped in any imaginable way. In warped spacetime, straight lines are described in terms of geodesics, paths of least distance between any two points in spacetime, and the shape of those geodesics varies depending on the state of motion of the observer, excepting where light is considered the observer, in which case the geodesic resolves into a perfectly straight line, with the surrounding contents of spacetime warped around that straight line. e space in the Earth box is compressed; there is more space (and time) contained in the Earth box than in the Space box. For this reason, the light passing between the two mirrors in the Earth box has to travel a longer distance between re ections. Again, inertia can accomplish the exact same spacetime compression. If the space box were to accelerate at 9.8 meters per second, the spatial grid inside the box would

take on the exact shape of the spatial grid inside the Earth box, with 45 squished cubes within. e light bouncing back and forth inside would

take an equal amount of time in re ecting from the front to the back as it would re ecting from the back to the front; again, relative to the light, the grid's boxes are still perfectly cubic, and the light is still traveling at exactly c. Only relative to a massed observer would the relativistic effects be perceivable.

CHAPTER 3

A Closer Look at Spacetime

In the previous chapter, the consequences which the speed of light (in the context of the relativity principle) has for spacetime and objects within spacetime was examined. A very important question remains: “what is space, really?” is question has been on the minds of

thinkers for millennia, and during this time some fundamental assumptions have come to be taken for granted concerning what space is or is not. Following the development of Einstein's relativity and quantum mechanics, many of these ideas have been revealed to be incorrect or incomplete, which suggests that our understanding of this seemingly most basic component of our reality bears reexamination. e conception of space as perfect nothingness is totally obsolete. If space were empty of all informational content, as would clearly have to be the case for it to consist of nothingness, no force elds could exist; the medium in space which conveys electromagnetism, for example, is certainly not nothingness, but a boundless energetic system which

reacts to energy and force with inerrant logic. If space were empty of this medium, light would have no medium through which to propagate, protons would be unable to a ract electrons, atoms and molecules would be unable to form, and the Universe as we know it would cease to exist. Furthermore, as outlined above, gravity, inertia, and mass would be impossible if there were no spatial medium for energy to interact with. e modern evidence associated with quantum mechanics provides further clues as to the de nite content of space. e Casimir effect,

for example, shows that a small a ractive force arises between two parallel, uncharged conducting plates situated very close together: in a few words, this force is interpreted as arising because the closer together the plates are, the fewer wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation can t between the plates; the presence of wavelengths of all sizes being able to propagate in the space on the outside of the plates (the side facing away from the other plate) effectively produces a higher energy density than that produced by the few wavelengths allowed to exist between the plates, and this generates inward pressure on the plates. is effect is al-

ready being considered for its possible utility (or inconvenience) in the design of nanotechnological machines, and it offers unmistakable evidence that a classical vacuum is nowhere to be found in space. Such evidence seems to point to the conclusion that space is wholly de ned by the energetic systems which ll its boundless expanse.

However, it seems evident that space itself must exist prior to and be distinct from whatever energetic content lls it, because the energetic content of space could not possibly spatially relate and nd extension without space existing as a prerequisite. As was elaborated upon in Part I, Chapter 4, it seems reasonable to believe that space embodies all the possibility suggested by the mathematical Truths pertaining to dimensional proportion, and that this Truth would remain even in the absence of all energetic content. In this view, If you were to remove not only all particles, but all elds of potential, including all quantum uctuations, space would still remain as a vacuous realm of emptiness. In this context it would seem that any possible physics which requires the geometric logic of spatial relations to nd expression (be it Euclidean or any from the innumerable range of non-Euclidean geometries) can nd expression in space; that is, the geometric shape of energy in space is locally de ned in reference to the physical requirements of its content. ere is another assumption about space, still widely taken for granted, that there is such a thing as a point, as a de nable location in space of 0 size. is conception was useful as a simplifying tool in

Euclidean geometry, allowing mathematicians to ignore the slight complications which nite size introduces to geometric maxims concerning in nitely small points. ough the idea has utility in abstract thought,

some problems immediately come to mind when applying the concep-

tion of a point to the reality of space. For instance, let's say that this period . is a point in the classical geometrical sense, demarcating a location in space of 0 width, depth, and height. How can we de ne where it is located? Most would answer “simply use the calculus: a limit gives the distance of the point from the 'd' in the previous word with arbitrary accuracy”. e key point there is “arbitrary accuracy”; it is perfectly impos-

sible to draw out the limit with perfect accuracy, because doing so would require an in nite decimal expansion. To illustrate, let us imagine that you undertake the task of de ning the location of the point in reference to the 'd', and you are equipped with perfect measuring devices. e method you use will be to measure

the distance starting with millimeters, a er which you are able to zoom in on the distance between your measurement and the point's location by a factor of 10: you will see that there is still some distance separating your measurement from the point's location, and you re ne your measurement now using 1/10th millimeters. You resolve to continue this process, a er each measurement zooming in by a factor of ten and re ning your measurement using units smaller by a factor of ten until you have it, the exact de ning location for that point! Alas, you will expire before you complete this task, in fact, even with an in nite number of lifetimes, you could never complete your goal, because as you zoom in

inde nitely on the point, the point shrinks inde nitely; every time your measurement draws nearer to that point, the point recedes away. e simple fact is that there is no way to de ne the location of the 0-sized point exactly, because that location is in nitely distant from and is therefore forever unde nable in reference to other locations in space. ough it may have some utility as an abstract idea, there is no

such thing as a point of 0 size in space; dimensional proportion forbids it. Dimensional proportion does not allow for 0 other than the identity of “every position is 0 distance away from itself ”. If space is founded on regions of in nite smallness, dimensional proportion would cease to have any meaning; there would be no way to de ne any length whatsoever. To elaborate, consider that it is sometimes proposed that the Planck length (or some other extremely small span) represents the “size” of such a point, that spacetime is fundamentally quantized and that it is useless to speak of lengths smaller than the Planck length. In this case the quanta could not internally contain the characteristic of length; if they did, they would still be divisible, and therefore would not be quanta. However, if they have no internal proportions, then their size relative to surrounding quanta would necessarily cease to have any meaning. If this were the case, a billion, trillion, or googol quanta of zero

de nable length would be equivalent to one quantum of zero de nable length. Let's say the Planck length were the quantum of space: in this case it would be impossible to travel or measure a half-Planck length, because there is no such thing as that distance. You can either travel/ measure a full Planck length or none at all. In more intuitive terms, imagine that a centimeter is the spatial quantum: you would not be able to move your hand a millimeter; you would not be able to move your hand ve millimeters; you would only be able to move your hand in discontinuous increments of centimeters. If spatial proportions have any meaning at all, how could this possibly be achieved without passing your hand through the intervening space that would be marked by millimeters? Indeed, this situation would eliminate the proportion within the centimeter; traveling from one side of the impassable gap to the other would cover 0 relative distance, since no traversable space exists between the sides of the centimeter, and therefore covering 10 centimeters still would necessarily equate to covering 0 distance. ere is a simple, ancient mathematical approach which can be applied to show that the Planck length is not the smallest degree of dimensional proportion, and that for dimensional proportion to exist, there can never be a smallest length. Consider two Planck lengths meeting at a point and forming a right angle, like two sides of a square meet-

ing at a corner. Let's call the endpoints of the rst Planck length A and B, and the endpoints of the second Planck length B and C (the two meet at B). If dimensional proportion has any meaning at all (that is, if the Planck length can indeed be considered a length), the distance from A to C will necessarily be √2 times the Planck length, per the Pythagorean theorem– this length is about 1.414 times the Planck length, yet we had concluded there is no way to de ne a length smaller than the Planck length; how can the extra .414... be accounted for without there existing smaller units? And furthermore, √2 is an irrational number, requiring an in nite decimal expansion to de ne completely; in order for point A to accurately spatially relate to point C requires a continuum of lengths. Since this argument applies at any size scale within dimensional proportion, it follows that the dimensional proportion characterizing space could not exist if it weren't a continuum. In reality, every Planck length must span two half-Planck lengths, every half-Planck length must span two half-half-Planck lengths, etc. A photon cannot travel the span of a Planck length without spanning a million millionths of a Planck length. Some might argue that trying to use intuition to understand the quantum realm is futile, but there is no doubt that the spans of length which comprise our realm of size arise from the summation of huge numbers of those minute spans of length over which quantum phenomena occur. If the concept of length does

not apply at those tiniest possible levels, how could it possibly come into existence when large numbers of these tiny, supposedly distance-less spans are laid end to end? A similar argument applies to time, which embodies a continuum of a different type than space; not representing dimensional proportion, representing the continuum of changes energy undergoes. It is sometimes thought that the present has some de nite duration, and that this is the span of time in which all things occur. In the light of the relativity of simultaneity, it is clear that this is not the case; the present is naught but the divide between past physical changes and future physical changes, an a ribute of every individual bit of dynamic energy in the Universe. Every physical change takes time to occur, and you might argue that the time in which the change occurs is the present. How long, then, is the present? In what span of time is every physical change contained? Close consideration reveals that every span of time is in nitely divisible; like space, time is not quantized, but a continuum. Each second is made up of an in nite amount of smaller spans of time, i.e. each 1 second is made up of ten 1/10ths of a second, each 1/10th is made up of ten 1/100ths of a second, and so on, forever. For example, imagine the time it takes to blink your eyes: about 200 milliseconds for your upper lid to reach your lower lid. How many frames of the present does that take? A hundred? A quadrillion? Note

that light in a vacuum travels 299.8 nanometers in a quadrillionth of a second (a femtosecond); this duration can't be the duration of the present, because change occurred in that time. (Light couldn't travel a light year without clocking 3.154 ten-million-quadrillion femtoseconds of travel.) Light also can't travel 299.8 nanometers without spanning one trillion trillionths of a femtosecond. No ma er how small you imagine the present to be in duration, that duration is made up of an in nite number of smaller subdivisions. e present is not a span in time in

which change occurs, it is simply the border across which future possibilities become past certainties concerning each system of energy in the Universe.

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e fact that there can never exist a smallest region of spacetime, coupled with the fact that every larger region of spacetime is comprised of smaller regions of spacetime, speaks volumes about the structure of the Universe. Importantly, just as the chain of causality extends from the past to the future, the chain of emergent possibility is extended from the small to the large. In other words, there is no question that you could not exist without your cells existing, they could not exist without their molecules existing, those molecules could not exist without their atoms

(along with the laws of electromagnetism dictating their structure and the character of their possible chemical reactions), those atoms could not exist without their constituent particles, the nuclear particles could not exist without their quarks, those quarks are theorized to be comprised of preons, and conservative scienti c thinking says the regress probably stops about there (to digress for a moment: it's a bit funny to note that wherever the bounds of our knowledge lie, that is o en where a traditionally minded person expects the absolute boundary to be. I think back on the backlash against Copernicanism, and the historical (regre ably, still widely held) belief that humans originate from a different source than plants or animals.) Given the necessary in nitude of mathematical proportion existent in space, any span of size no ma er how small is in nitely larger than the possible tininess within that span. Are we to assume that any supposed “tiniest possible particle” lls the entire in nite span of space it covers, that if we were to zoom in on that particle perhaps a googol times we would still nd an unbroken continuum from one side of the particle to the next? What if we were to zoom in so small (a googol times really should more than suffice) that the energy in any chosen expanse of the particle is effectively in nitely less than the energy of the particle as a whole? Would this constitute nothingness, where we know we are actually observing the roots of the particle?

Well, of course not. We have no reason to suspect that the regress downward in size does not continue in nitely; in fact, due to the logical principle that there can be no possible “smallest size” in space, no 0 point, without negating the existence of dimensional proportion, we have every reason to expect that it does. Of course, the de nite characteristics of whatever physics pertains to energy at these minuscule size scales are uninvestigable from our gigantic perspective, but we can reasonably conclude that there are energetic systems below the range of our possible observation, and that the existence of the quantum realm depends upon the existence of these smaller systems, just as the existence of our realm depends upon the existence of the quantum realm. Physics is not linearly scalable; energy behaves differently at different levels in size. is is clear from an observation of our immediate

surroundings (due to their tiny mass, ants can support themselves with their minuscule legs, though if their body plan were scaled up to the size of an elephant, such an ant would collapse into a heap of goo), and beyond the bounds of our possible investigation, past the quantum level on the smaller end and past the reaches of the observable Universe on the larger end. Certain sets of fundamental physical laws are more prominent at each scale; in our realm, electromagnetism is most strongly expressed, on galactic scales, gravity dominates, and the spacetime scale occupied

by particles seems to operate within a framework of physical laws we cannot quite interpret fully as of yet. Given an in nitude of sizes open to energy, this size-based hierarchy of physical law forms an in nitely-tiered layering of different regions of physical law, such that existing in one frame of size constrains you to interacting with the physical laws dominant at that size and holds you back from being able to directly interact with energy occupying much larger or smaller size scales. You can only interact with energy at a much smaller size level (for us, sub-quantum) indirectly by interacting with the energetic phenomena (electromagnetism) at your own size scale which that minuscule energy's interactions sum to. One of the clearest manifestations of this fundamental incompatibility between realms of physics separated by extremely large differences in spacetime-size is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that it is impossible to measure both the momentum of a particle and its position simultaneously because any means we can use to measure one will instantaneously in uence the value of the other. For example, to determine the de nite position of an electron at any moment in time would require us to use some apparatus which energetically interacts with the electron (if our measuring device did not interact with the electron, no measurement could possibly be made); the very act of energetic measurement alters the state of the particle being measured, such

that measuring position modi es momentum and measuring momentum modi es position, and the HUP de nes an upper bound for how accurately each can be known on account of this difficulty. e HUP is de ned in reference to Planck's constant, a fundamental numerical value in nature which was rst discovered relating the energy of a photon to its frequency (a photon's frequency multiplied by Planck's constant gives its energy). is suggests that the HUP only re-

stricts the amount of information an electromagnetic observation can ascertain concerning quantum particles, that is, how much can be known about this smaller realm of spacetime-size by electromagnetically constituted systems of information in the higher realm of spacetime-size. In order for an electromagnetically-constituted observer at our size scale to learn anything about a quantum mechanical system, we have to bombard that quantum mechanical system with a type of energy (e.g. photonic energy) which is large enough for us to observe. If we could use systems of measurement made up of smaller systems of energy, for instance that spectrum of physical law which underlies the existence of quantum phenomena, we could more subtly probe those quantum mechanical systems, and best the HUP. However, because we occupy our relatively in nitely larger spacetime-size scale, we have no means of nely manipulating physics at that minuscule level, and the HUP holds. e HUP and Planck's con-

stant represent the boundary in spacetime-size scales at which the physics dominant at our level give way to physics of a different character, with different logical underpinnings (mathematical forms) and different energetic expression (ultimately summing to the physics at our size-scale). Looking outwards, gravity is the highest (largest in space, slowest in time) force we can observe; any larger-scale force only interacts with our relatively in nitely small size scale through its effect on gravity, the causality of which is uninvestigable from our size scale. Whatever effect an ubermacroscopic force like this would have would occur over unimaginably huge time and size scales (possibly appearing in our size scale in the form of dark energy). In the other direction, quantum physics is currently the lowest manifestation of physical law which we can observe; the relatively in nitely small physics underlying quantum systems is far too small for us to witness, and we can only observe the higher expression of the quantum physics which links that realm to ours. If we were situated within these relatively in nitely small systems, gravity would be too far away in size to have any noticeable effect on our surroundings; the effect of gravity is expressed meaningfully in a larger physical dimension than that making up the roots of quantum energy. ere's plenty of room at the bo om; indeed, in nite room, for there is no bo om. Choosing any point in space and zooming in on it, you would never reach the depth of its center. One possible way to envi-

sion this is that in zooming in on any point in space, you would eventually leave the size scale in space where gravity, electromagnetism, and the nuclear forces meaningfully apply, and enter the size scale in space where new, in nitesimally weaker and shorter-acting forces begin to take effect. Here you might observe the largest scales of a smaller Universe, in nite in breadth (having in nite breadth therein but bounded above by our spacetime scale) but comprised of different fundamental forces acting over relatively in nitely shorter time periods and relatively in nitely weaker magnitudes. Eventually, as you continue zooming, you would reach a relatively in nitely smaller point where those smaller fundamental forces cease to apply and enter into yet another smaller level of physical fundamentality. is seems to jive with the concepts of string theory,

wherein the large scale conditions of in nitesimally small extradimensional spaces give rise to energetic effects in our threedimensional space. Space and time share a fundamental symmetry; the size of a system of energy in space is proportional to the size of the change that energy undergoes in time. e smaller the system of energy, the less time it

will take for that energy to undergo meaningful change relative to larger systems of energy; any arbitrarily chosen measure of change will convey this point, so let's use rotation about an axis: an electron will rotate

about its axis a countless number of times in the amount of time that the star it is located in takes to complete the same change. is requirement

that the temporal conditions of energy are proportional to the spatial size of that energy extends the symmetry of space and time to all levels of size. As you proceed downward in size through spacetime, passing atoms, quarks, etc., the rate of change per second expands higher and higher, quickly reaching the point where change occurs relatively in nitely quickly and over relatively in nitely tiny spatial domains; this is the domain in size which was historically imagined to be vacuum space. (Relatively in nitely quickly describes all durations which are so small that we cannot possibly observe the degree of change which occurs in that time from our particular perspective in spacetime size.) On the contrary, this size scale is not a blankness, but a boundary of relatively in nitely small-magnitudes of energy existing over relatively in nitely short durations which we are unable to peer beneath by any means available to an occupant of the physics of our size scale. e well-known phenomenon of pair production in quantum mechanics describes the evidence that the smaller you look in size and duration in space, the more likely it is that so-called virtual particles will be found arising from the 'vacuum' and self-canceling back into the 'vacuum'. As you approach 0 relative size in space and time, the probability

that pairs are being produced approaches 1, so that at apparent in nite smallness in spacetime you would nd pairs of particles coming into existence, colliding, and leaving existence so rapidly that there would be no single instance of 0 energy at any time and at any point. At this size scale no sooner has a pair le existence than another has taken its place. As the spacetime size scale you consider shrinks, the probability that energy occupies that spacetime region grows to what amounts to relatively in nitely certain: we could not observe any duration at this scale without overlooking a relatively in nite amount of change at an almost in nitely small magnitude of energy; it is of a much higher frame rate than we can access from our slower frame rate, so to speak. In this view, what was historically perceived as the vacuum of empty space is in fact an endless expanse of extremely tiny energy magnitudes undergoing change over extremely small durations, a conclusion supported by quantum physics; spacetime can thus be described as an energetic continuum, wherein energetic phenomena would be found at every point no ma er how small or large. e energetic phenomena oc-

curring over relatively in nitely smaller scales in size and time are sum to generate those phenomena occupying higher size scales; higher size scales are necessarily comprised of summations of lower processes, and having these processes at the higher size's roots enables the two realms of physics to interact, if only distantly.

is conception leads us towards an interesting unanswered question in physics: “why do the electrical permi ivity and magnetic permeability of free space have the values they do?” A tentative answer may be that these values are due to the physical makeup of the energetic systems occupying the spacetime size-scale forming the basis for the existence of the electromagnetic Field and larger, charged particles like electrons and protons; that is, electrons and protons have a charge speci cally because they are rooted in (comprised of) and interact with the smaller-scale energetic fabric making up the continuum of electromagnetic potential within spacetime. e values for the permi ivity and

permeability of free space essentially represent the resistance this underlying eld of energy has to conveying electromagnetic effects; charged particles affect the informational content of this underlying eld (one is tempted to describe it as eld-geometrical content, similar to gravitational effects) and are in turn affected by that content. If this is the case, it is natural to suspect that every force is passed via these microcosmic energetic systems, and that in turn the passage of energy through these microcosmic systems is similarly accomplished by cumulative interactions between the yet smaller systems of energy which make up those microcosmic systems. Looking outwards, the immensely drawn out behavior of gravitational interaction between galaxies sums over trillions of trillions of

years to make up a yet higher frame of physical law. If we could observe our home Universe (i.e., the observable Universe) from the perspective of that higher frame, where trillions of trillions of years would appear to pass in an instant, the birth and ultimate fate of our Universe might look like a dizzying particulate swarm of energy, much like our current picture of the behavior of the atomic realm. e type of force which applies to a system of energy is determined by the spacetime size scale which that energy occupies. A quark is bound to color charge and oscillates under its in uence countless times each second, changing meaningfully at a rate which de es our observation; no ma er how small a snapshot we could take of a quark's motion, that snapshot would contain a relatively in nite amount of change, blurring our perception of what is truly occurring therein. A planet, on the other hand, taking up a colossally huge frame of spacetime relative to the quark (containing octillions of octillions of quark-moments and quarksizes), is macroscopically dominated by the force of gravity, which causes the planet's position in space to change at a positively sluggish pace in time relative to the quark. e continuum is not de ned objectively in reference to our personal size scale, but continues on in this causal regression (smaller components making up and de ning larger systems) forever from small to large. ere is a spacetime size-scale which is as much smaller than the

quark as the quark is smaller than the planet, and a proportionally smaller scale farther down, and another. Again, there is no bo om, no center to this energetic regress, nor is there a largest size scale; no “largest possible span” could exist without implying the existence of space outside of its breadth.

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If this idea (that the fundamental forces we observe arise from the effects of an in nite hierarchy of smaller fundamental forces, and give rise to yet larger levels of physics in space and time) is correct, this would suggest something like a h dimension to spacetime: size, aris-

ing from the modi cation to the fundamental laws of physics at different scales within the three directional spatial dimensions and time. It seems we sit suspended between a greater in nity outwards in size and a lesser in nity inwards in size; this h dimension re ects the Cosmic Truth of

the radial relationship between “inward” and “outward”, just as the spatial dimensions contain at each position the locus of in nite forwards and backwards, up and down, le and right, and the present in the time dimension serves as the fulcrum between the in nite past and in nite future in Existence.

Traditionally, spatial dimensions are conceived as the three directions oriented perpendicularly to the others. Size is again perpendicular to all three, and cannot be physically traveled by an energetic system, because the position occupied by any energetic system in the dimension of size depends on its permanent energetic makeup, and on the fundamental forces directly in uencing that system over the time-scale in which that system unfolds. You can see that it is perpendicular to each; neither moving forward, moving sideways, nor moving upwards takes you inward or outward in the size dimension. You could zoom in on the number line (or on a point in space, since it must be a continuum) in nitely without traveling any distance le or right on that line. If you want to imagine a dimension perpendicular to forward, up, and sideways, look inwards along the endless gallery of smaller causes summing up to your energetic makeup, and outwards beyond the stars. A mathematician would likely argue, saying “De ning a system's size in space only requires three dimensions, and you could represent any physically existent form on a three-dimensional cartesian plane.” To this, I would argue that the chosen scale of the graph in reference to the content of the Universe represents a fourth dimension to the representation, and that a graph of my body with centimeters for the chosen scale would represent a radically different set of information than the same graph with picometers marking the scale. In the la er case, each one of

my atoms would have to be plo ed to accurately map my shape. Conversely, if the chosen scale were kilometers, my body would hardly occupy a single point on the mapping, and if the scale were googolometers (10^100 meters), the observable Universe could occupy no more than a single point on the mapping. Essentially, the h dimension of size is

relative at once to each spatial dimension; it arises from the continuum of distances and the continuum of physical laws governing the characteristics of energy magnitudes occupying every span therein. It is interesting that introducing the dimension of time to the graphical representation would map the dynamic motions of my body, and the appropriate time span with which to mark the picometer-spatial scale might be on the order of zeptoseconds, in order to give a faithful representation of my atomic motions. Due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, any mapping we could possibly achieve of an atomic structure like a body has a degree of uncertainty; there is no way for us to measure or describe the full range of information embodied in our particles. However, contrary to the canonical Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the fact that we are unable to glean all the information contained in our particles does not at all restrict how much information those particles embody. ough we cannot measure both po-

sition and momentum simultaneously, every particle necessarily possesses both at all times. (If it didn't, what would it mean to measure just

one of them, that is, if a particle has no de nite momentum at any time, what would it mean to say that measuring its position upsets its momentum? Further, how could the conservation of momentum law hold?) Essentially, the realm of physics occupied by an entity is determined by its position in the dimension of size, containing in nite smallness within and centered in in nite largeness without. is entity is free

to travel the dimensions of space perpendicular to size, with each step spanning the in nite depth of smallness at every point. Every entity is permanently traveling through the dimension of time by its energetic existence. However, the entity is locked into one position in the dimension of size, as an in nite tower of smaller hierarchical systems giving rise to larger, culminating in the boundary of the entity itself. It is interesting to draw parallels between this model of reality and fractal geometry. e structure of our Universe appears to be fun-

damentally fractal in nature (in the most essential sense of selfsimilarity; every single constituent is a different expression of Universal energy representing information in Awareness). Instead of being two or three dimensional like the fractals we are familiar with, it is 5dimensional (at least), in nitely complex at every level throughout space, size, and time. We occupy only one level of this structure, but everything in your view could be zoomed-in on in nitely, from your desk to the galaxies out your window.

Both looking outwards in distance through a telescope and looking smaller in size through a microscope involve looking out into the far distance in the dimension of size, the two opposite directions in which it extends; from one direction, you have to bend the light rays outwards and spatially expand their information in order to perceive their squozen content, and from the other, you must bring them in from their galactic immensity towards a focal point into which a human eye can peek. Both involve stretching or squishing energetic content into the size range we can perceive. Consider, for a moment, the complex boundary your body makes with the world around you- the exact shape you take up. From far away, the shape looks like a three dimensional human form. Examining the shape at the level of skin cells in size would reveal that the shape becomes extremely complicated as you approach it; the grooves in your skin become canyons of millions of cells folded against each other. As you near individual cells, you will notice points where the your shape's boundary opens up to the inside, membrane pores much smaller than most molecules, but still not closed off. ese pores open the boundary

up to the inside of your body, the shape rst tracing individual cell interiors and continuing on into blood vessels and nerves. Continuing deeper in size brings you to the atoms making up the cells, which open up the boundary further. In fact, your particles are not directly con-

nected to each other; the boundary of your body turns out to be unbounded. Nothing fundamentally separates the shape of your body from the shape of everything. Zooming out larger in size, the Universe is positively in nitely larger than my body, while zooming in on the constituents of my body, I would never nd a smallest component; every arbitrarily small span of the continuum therein is built up from smaller energetic systems spanning smaller subsections of the continuum. My size, and any size de ned in the continuum, can be considered the zero point between in nite larger sizes (+) and in nite smaller sizes (-). Every individual system of energy represents a midpoint in the in nite dimension of size (and space and time), in that all smaller sizes are contained within, and all larger sizes centered on that system contain the system in question. Some minute realms in the tiered hierarchy of physics may operate within those strange topological environments investigated in string theory, while others, like electromagnetism, operate most closely within the three dimensions of Euclidean geometry along with the dimension of time. Similarly, though gravitation evidently occurs in the context of four dimensional Minkowski space, generally called spacetime, the energetic effects which gravitation enacts could be said to occur within the context of a fundamental possibility represented by the existence of space; in this view gravitation does not warp space itself as such, but

warps the energetic, 4-d content of spacetime at the size scale over which it acts.

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e Big Bang theory is currently interpreted to imply not only that the energy in the Universe began as a point of in nite smallness and density, but that spacetime itself originated from such a singularity; this conclusion appears awed, due to the seeming fact that there can be no such thing as in nite smallness. It would likely be more accurate to conclude that this energy was compressed into a nearly in nitely smaller realm of physics from that active at our familiar span of this sizecontinuum, and that upon reaching a certain size (perhaps more aptly, a certain energy-density) it began to embody the physics of our immediate surroundings, producing light, gravity, atoms, and all the effects we can observe. e mathematics describing the physics of our size scale

can only describe this primeval compression in terms of in nite smallness and in nite density, because of its relatively in nite distance in size from our scale; the conditions prior to the Big Bang do not translate into the mathematics describing the physics of our post-Big Bang size spectrum.

It is possible that so-called dark energy and dark ma er, which in the standard cosmological model account for about 96% of the mass in the Universe, are in fact energetic systems which are too small for us to directly observe from our relatively huge size scale (i.e. too small to interact with photons and electromagnetism). In their smallness and ubiquity, they ll every point in space and every instant in time; perhaps this is why they account for such a huge proportion of the energy magnitude within the Universe. Perhaps only through the tremendous energetic burst provided by the Big Bang are these minuscule energetic systems able to compound into the immense energetic systems making up the world we inhabit, the photons, protons, electrons, etc. Because dark energy and dark ma er have mass, it is clear that they interact with the Field of spacetime just as the familiar particles do, and that taken as a whole they have demonstrable gravitational effects on large scale structures like galaxies. In this view, dark energy and dark ma er are the microcosmic components making up the Field, and will be undetectable until we have a more nuanced means of investigating smaller realms than simply smashing particles together. It is also possible, given how li le is really known about dark energy, that it is the effect of conditions occurring in the larger dimension of physics than that governing the behavior of our size scale; perhaps our Universe is a constituent particle of a higher sized energetic

system, and is being in uenced from above by the circumstances in that higher system (just like an atom in a star gaining temperature due to the compression of the higher-scale force of gravity). It is also possible, of course, (let’s call it probable) that neither scenario is the case. Scienti c opinion currently holds that the singularity in a black hole is a point of in nite density, in nite smallness. is again fails to

recognize that there is no such thing as in nite smallness, only relatively in nite smallness. e size of the collapsing ma er is effectively in -

nitely small from the mathematics of our near in nitely larger perspective, passing quickly beyond the Planck length, the smallest range an energetic inhabitant of our size in the Universe could ever hope to examine, but as with all size spans the energy remains in nitely larger than the smaller possible regions within. e event horizon of a black hole can be imagined as the point where the elastic medium of space, the “rubber bands” described in Chapter 1, begin to be stretched relatively in nitely inwards from our perspective (stretched beyond our means of investigating with light, our fastest information transfer system). Nearing the event horizon of a black hole, if we could visualize the shape of space via the red grid method explained in the last chapter, we would nd that from our perspective, the grid is being stretched inwards to (relatively) in nite length; a photon could never pass all the way through any one box in the

grid, because it would take what appears to us outsiders an in nite amount of time to do so. For this reason, relative to the rest of the Universe, ma er falling into the event horizon appears to slow in its motion through time, eventually coming to a halt relative to our forward march through time. From the perspective of the photon (due to the relativity principle), however, the grid lines in its vicinity are perfectly unwarped, but the grid lines leading away from the black hole and into space are racing away, apparently stretching away from the black hole, as the space through which the light propagates is rapidly stretched inwards.

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e character of the continuous dimensions of spacetime can be elaborated upon in the context of the cardinality of different types of in nity rst described by Georg Cantor and subsequently developed in set theory. His counterintuitive result, that in nities can have different sizes, depends upon the characteristics of the in nite set. For example, the set of natural numbers describes the concept of an endless succession of equal proportions (1s) added one a er the other; there is no highest number to reach. is is the smallest possible in nite set, and is

considered “countably in nite” because though the string of numbers is

in nite, an in nite process of systematic counting would reach every number therein. On the other hand, the real numbers represent an in nitely larger set, called “uncountably in nite”, because no systematic counting scheme could possibly account for every number therein. Perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate this is the following: count the set {1, 0.1, 0.01, 0.001,...}. (In other words, assign a natural number to each subsequent real number in the set, which will be the previous number divided by 10). Because the real numbers represent a continuum, you could exhaust the entire in nite set of natural numbers in counting this set of real numbers (which approaches 0 but never reaches it during an in nite succession of divisions) and never leave the span between the real numbers 0 and 1. Truly, it is impossible to set out a system of steps for counting all the reals because no ma er what unit you choose to begin counting from, there will always be an in nite number of units making up that unit. (For example, if you wanted to count the reals by starting with {0, 0.000000001, 0.000000002,...} you would already have missed the in nite set of numbers between 0 and 0.000000001 and another in nite set of numbers separating 0.000000001 and 0.000000002.) is is the de -

nition of a continuum; each unit is separated from every other unit by an in nite gulf of smaller units.

is seems to apply perfectly to the dimensions of space, time and size. Each dimension in space can be thought of as the embodiment of the real numbers, i.e. an in nitely divisible, endless expanse. Any energetic system will occupy a de nite shape in space, which represents that system's permanent perspective on size; the spatial size of the system de nes a unit integer in the context of the continuum. For example, because I am a human, my body serves as the natural unit of comparison between different sizes in the Universe, where every span of distance is either longer or shorter than I am tall. An in nite string of any units of length based on my size (e.g. the length of a footstep) laid end to end would span the in nite bounds of one spatial dimension (say, backward to forward). e length of my footsteps in this instance (or the footstep

of any subjective observer) represent integers, capable of crossing space in a countably in nite sequence. On the other hand, this standard unit spans a continuum, and is comprised of an uncountably in nite number of smaller size scales. In other words, the position we occupy in the continuum of size is analogous to an integer, and can be used in the same way as integers to de ne a countably in nite sequence of distances in space; the cardinality of equal footstep-lengths in space is Aleph 0. e underlying space

which these footsteps cover is of cardinality Aleph 1, being a continuum analogous to the continuum of real numbers. As we walk through space,

we are moving perpendicularly to the dimension of size, stuck at exactly one position (or at least, very near one position, varying slightly during mealtime and slightly less slightly over our lifetimes) in its in/out continuum, bypassing an in nity of smaller scales with each step (an explanation which might nally satisfy old Zeno).

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To summarize, this chapter proposes the existence of a tiered in nity of varied physics, wherein all the energy making up the phenomena at our size scale (light, sound, gravity, heat, etc.) is a direct consequence of energetic interactions happening over relatively in nitely smaller spacetime size scales. e energy making up any particle is the

cumulative effect of ever smaller particles interacting over ever smaller durations, past the Planck length in size, past the point in size which appears to contain 0 energy at any moment from our spacetime size scale. is in nite regression does not necessarily need to follow the logical constraints facing energy in our frame of observation, the realm closest to our spacetime size-scale. ere is plenty of room in every point in the

continuum of spacetime for a Universe of information to exist, provided its constituents occupy smaller energy magnitudes and time durations relative to larger regions.

ese relatively in nitely microscopic systems of energy compound together to produce the higher scale forces and particles making up the physics at our size scale, and are in turn affected by the conditions which their energetic interactions sum to, even beyond the threshold where the dominant physical laws change. For example, the gravitational effects of stars within our observable size scale cause certain quantum effects in the quantum lower size scale which would not arise without this larger-to-smaller compressive in uence, such as the ignition of nuclear fusion in stars. Further, it is put forward that maybe all force elds exist as macroscopic energy being distributed and passed through relatively-in nite numbers of these smaller-scale systems, the realms of physics making up the roots of the higher expressions of energy in question. For example, the electromagnetic potential in space which allows light to propagate could be interpreted as a vast eld of near in nitely-smaller energetic systems distributing the cumulative energy of the light to each other over nearly in nitely shorter time spans; the magnitude of the electrical permi ivity and magnetic permeability of space are the emergent result of the resistance of the smaller scale continuum of energetic systems to the passage of electromagnetic force. is implies that spacetime may

not be de ned by the speed of light through the Field (as described in

Chapter 2) at all size scales, only within the size scale in which we are centered and in which electromagnetism is expressed.

CHAPTER 4

Interpreting Quantum Effects
ere are some very interesting and nonintuitive effects revealed by experiments performed with quantum mechanical systems. In many cases, these results in no way point to de nite conclusions, and it is very likely that the current explanations for what is going on down there in the deep tininess of size are inadequate. ough quantum mechanics is notoriously difficult (perhaps impossible) to interpret in terms of everyday experience, it remains abundantly clear that there exists a rational explanation for every facet of Existence (that rational explanation as known to Cosmic Awareness makes up the existence of the phenomena in question). is chapter will be devoted to reimagining some of the ideas forming the intuitive basis for our understanding of quantum processes, not necessarily because it will prove useful to do so, but because these ideas are interesting to think about. (Most of the ideas put forward here are almost certainly incorrect, and many have been described before, but I do like thinking along these lines, and perhaps you will nd such a discussion interesting as well.)

One of the most well known examples of quantum physics' unusual nature is provided by Young's famous dual-slit experiment, wherein a beam of light shined through two parallel slits onto a photographic plate resolves into an image of a wave-diffraction pa ern, just as would be expected if light were fundamentally a wavelike phenomena. However, it is currently well known that light is comprised of quantized bits known as photons, which exhibit properties of particles in the classical sense, yet when these individual photons are red through the same apparatus one at a time, a wave pa ern still emerges on the photographic plate! However, when a measuring apparatus is used to determine which slit the photon passes through on its way to the plate, the diffraction pa ern does not result. e Copenhagen interpretation of quantum

mechanics interprets this effect as indicating that rather than traveling through just one slit (in the case of the experiment when no measuring apparatus is applied to the slits), the photon's path is described by a probability wave which takes into account all possible paths and self interferes on this basis, leading to the appearance of the diffraction pa ern on the photographic plate. is would be quite an unexpected and nonintuitive result, and there are some things we should consider before accepting this explanation. e thought that the only thing which the photon could interfere

with to cause the diffraction pa ern is itself neglects a very signi cant factor of the experiment (along with raising the potentially paradoxical notion of self-interference): the photon is not an independent entity, but a uctuation in the electromagnetic Field content of spacetime. e eld

through which the photon is traveling is morphed by the presence of the slits. ( e material in which the slits are cut is made up of electromag-

netic content: atoms.) e electromagnetic content of the molecular structure of this material forms a complex web of warpings through which the photon cannot pass without being absorbed by an electron within the material. On the other hand, the open slits represent a smooth continuum of electromagnetic eld which the photons can pass through with ease; the photon's path will be a racted to the slit in a similar way that an electron's path will be a racted to the most conductive surfaces in the vicinity; as the principle of least action states, both fundamentally favor the path of least resistance. Because the photon is presented with two possible paths of least resistance, it wavers between them before nally being sucked through either one; the interference pa ern which results on the screen is a result of the photon interacting with the geometric makeup of the eld through which it travels. It is true that the photon passes through either one slit or the other, and still ends up on the screen in a way that ts a spherical wave interference pa ern; which slit it passes

through is described by the probabilistic mathematics of quantum mechanics, which describe the possible paths a photon can take when presented with two equally (or near equally, based on slight variations in the photon's velocity) suitable passages. e photon does not interfere with

itself, the interference solely arises from the photon's interaction with the split eld through which it is able to travel. e diffraction pa ern occurs via this experimental setup in the same way with any quantum object, for instance, an electron: the open slits again represent paths of least resistance which a ract the electron, because colliding with the wall would accelerate the electron, causing it to radiate, and the principle of least action resists this occurrence and favors the electron's passing through either slit. An electron red at the very edge of the slit, such that if it were a normal projectile, it would collide with the edge of the slit rather than pass through, is instead funneled into the opening; it is electrically repelled from the barrier it is approaching in favor of the freely traversable medium nearby. e situation is

analogous to an electron being accelerated through a conductor via an applied voltage, if an insulator with two conductive channels is built into the conductor; the electron is sucked through the path of least resistance. is is the origin of the wave pa ern resulting on the detector. e geometry of the force eld through which the electron travels as its

wave nears the blockage causes the interference: it wavers between being drawn to each slit before it is close enough to be pulled de nitely one way or the other. traverse one slit. e electron's path is in uenced by the fact it can only e interference arises from the electron's interaction

with the characteristics of the forked EM eld, not via interaction with itself (or at least, in in uencing itself, it is only doing so through in uencing the content of the eld, with that in uence in turn affecting its future motion); wavering between the two favored paths represented by the slits gives the electron's velocity a lateral element, which turns out to exactly match the type of interference pa ern resulting from waves of force traversing a medium passing through two slits. e electron's motion is a wave of force traveling through the EM eld, and that wave of force is in uenced by the force-curvature of the eld. It is the same effect that leads the lightning bolt to the lightning rod: the resistance to the current's ow is greater in some places than others, based on the electromagnetic conditions in the bolt's vicinity at the time. A large antenna is like a subtle funnel instilled in the eld, drawing nearer any rogue currents passing through, in a way analogous to the slits drawing the electron's path nearer. e open slits represent a

conductive path, while the screen in which the slits are situated represents an insulator.

Why does the interference pa ern cease to appear when a detector is used to determine which slit the electron passes through on its way to the photographic plate? As was mentioned in reference to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Chapter 3, any detector used necessarily must energetically interact with the particle in question. Generally, the electron's path is detected by placing an instrument on the slit which is responsive to changes in the electromagnetic eld; as the electron passes, its motion through the eld causes a magnetic eld perpendicular to its direction of motion, which the detector can register. However, the detector's registering of that magnetic eld requires an interchange of energy with the electron; in interacting with the detector, the electron gives force in the form of magnetic ux, and the detector gives force to the electron through the impedance its magnetic eld causes, resisting that electrical eld's in uence on the magnetic eld. is balanced exchange of force alters the momentum of the elec-

tron, in this case minimizing the lateral motion introduced by the electron's wavering between the two paths, which keeps the interference pattern from resulting.

•§• e convention for calling quantum mechanical systems 'particles' is representative of the persistent tendency we have to refer to these

objects in reference to our everyday surroundings. 'Particle' suggests spatial and energetic self-containment, and it is for this reason that the label as popularly understood is inadequate. Every particle consists of both its energetic content and its relationship to the energetic content of the Universe; every particle (besides the force-carrying gauge bosons) has mass, and is therefore related to the gravitational eld (the dynamic geometric shape) of spacetime, and many particles have a charge, and therefore interact with the electromagnetic eld of potential (or their pertinent eld, like the strong eld for nuclear particles) in spacetime. Rather than a hard bundle of energy standing apart from the surrounding elds, a particle is de ned by its interaction with the pertinent elds. is interaction takes the form of a wave phenomena. What does it mean to behave like a wave? All waves involve the transference of momentum through a media; some waves, like sound waves or mechanical ocean waves, spread that momentum throughout a medium, with the intensity of the energy rapidly dissipating per the inverse square law as it spreads over a larger area. Other waves, like those through a spring, do not have a wide area through which to spread, and carry their momentum in a packet of energy through the media. Quantum particle-waves are more like spring waves in this sense; they do not consist of an impulse in a eld-media which spreads and dissipates; they have speci c velocities through which they convey momentum through their media. A photon, for instance, is impelled in its motion in only one

direction by the complementary in uence of a varying electrical eld and a proportional, perpendicular magnetic eld. e particle represents

a region of its home eld which has been energetically plucked in such a way as to leave a temporary wave oscillating therein. is wave is self-

contained in that it does not spread out over the eld, but exists in a dynamic, self-coiling relationship with the eld, responding with motion to changes in the eld and in turn changing the content of the eld. ere-

fore, the word 'particle' should be understood to mean “a non-spreading quantized waveform within a eld medium”. A photon consists of a self-contained self-perpetuating electromagnetic wave, that is, a disturbance in the electromagnetic eld which does not spread out over space; its two components, co-driving swirls of density in the electrical and magnetic elds, remain locked to each other, violently twisting about each other. ey propagate over space because

each impels the other to progress forward in a dimension perpendicular to its own circular path; the summation of these two in uences drives the photon in a direction perpendicular to theirs at the speed with which they change. e in nitely large electrical and magnetic elds draped

throughout space are woven together in this most intimate of ways, embodying through their rich content of photons an unimaginably dense vortex of energetic coin uence.

An electron only radiates when in motion relative to the EM eld. It appears that whenever the electron is accelerated, its in uence on the electrical eld is warped away from what it would have been if the electron were in constant velocity (and thus at equilibrium with the surrounding eld content); amazingly, whenever the shape of the electrical eld becomes warped, the magnetic eld (which overlaps with the electrical eld at every point in space) in that area is warped in a proportional fashion, though the orientation of its warping is perpendicular to that of the electrical eld. In turn, whenever the magnetic eld is warped, it causes a proportional, perpendicular, warping in the electrical eld. is relationship of coin uence (a photon) continues between the

two elds until it is absorbed by another particle, many times billions of years a er it begins. It propagates at a constant speed through space regardless of the intensity or rapidity of the co-oscillation, the speed of light, which seems to have its precise value because the microcosmic physical systems of energy which make up the basis of these elds at a level nearly in nitely smaller than the photon take time to pass this information along, causing friction on the speed of the oscillation and giving it this nite speed. In an atomic orbital, it seems that the electron does not radiate because it occupies a dynamic equilibrium with the motion of the Field. Due to the con uence of the electrons and protons therein, the Field is

changing shape rapidly, and the electron's motion perfectly locks into the rhythm of the changing eld, such that their in uences harmonize perfectly; the electron and the shape of the Field share a constant velocity. at is, in the space around the nucleus, the positive charges warp

the electrical eld in a speci c way, and the electron's motion in response perfectly counteracts this effect, leading to a static relationship relative to the Field due to the incessant, dynamic motion the electrical eld undergoes in response to the relationship between the two charges; their in uence on the electrical eld outside of their close bond is perfectly neutral, though the electron's motion relative to the magnetic eld still causes a magnetic distortion. Atoms exist in this state of perfect neutrality unless the number of electrons does not match the number of protons (as is the case with ions). Every balanced con guration is unstable to the point that the neutrality can only be maintained through the electron's contant motion relative to the proton and in synchrony with the warping of the EM Field the proton causes. When the conditions of the Field are upset by an outside source, like a photon, the electron is knocked out of this perfect relationship with the proton and the Field, and accelerates relative to the shape of the Field, radiating energy (carrying information about the electron's relative change out into the Universe) in the process.

When atoms chemically bond, their electrons share in their response to the warping of the Field done by both nuclei. e dance is

unimaginably complex and unique for every possible combination of orbitals, i.e. every possible combination of positive Field curvature counteracted by dynamic negative Field curvature such that no relative motion occurs between the particles and the eld shaped by their charges; the particles move in perfect synchrony with the twistings of the eld. As for the wave/particle duality, the distinction comes down to the behavior of the 'particle' in response to different situations. Again, all particles consist of energetic disturbances in their home Field; a photon consists of a self-contained, self-perpetuating disturbance in the electromagnetic eld. When the photon is forced to interact with the eld, for instance when passing through a narrow aperture in the eld, it responds like the wave that it is. When the photon is forced to interact with other particles with components in other elds, it behaves like a classical particle. at is, in the dual slit experiment, the photon behaves

as a wave because it is only interacting with the eld through which it travels, whereas in the photoelectric effect, photons behave partically due to their interaction with (quantized absorption by) electrons.

CHAPTER 5

Time as Change

e clock just struck in nity: I wonder, will human minds ever be satis ed with the thought that an in nity of time (an in nite progression of change) precedes us? If you count backwards in years, the fact that we occupy a de nite point in time seems to cap the in nity on this end (apparently suggesting that it took a nite amount of time to reach this point); our intuition protests: “how could there not be a zero point, a beginning, on the other end?” Taking into account the axiom that Existence has never not existed, the true answer seems to be that the present represents the 0 point between negative in nity in time (the past) and positive in nity in time (the future). Every individual moment for any bit of energy in Existence is at the very center of time, the endpoint of a beginning-less cascade of causality, and the starting set of causes for yet another in nite chain of events.

Historically, it was o en concluded that given an in nity of time, everything that can happen once will necessarily happen again an in nite amount of times, that our exact lives will be lived out again and again and again. is concept is recurrent throughout human thinking,

appearing in Indian philosophy and the beliefs of the Pythagoreans, and later put forward by Nietzsche. is thought ignores that concurrent to

in nite time is the existence of an in nite depth of possibility. It seems that the in nity of time arises as a consequence of the in nity of possibility, the relentless emanation from Truth of change unto change. Consider the ridiculous odds that shuffled up your life from the 13.7 billion year rework of the Universe, and moreover, the impossibly huge number of ways your life could have unfolded, and more-moreover, the unfathomable range of possibility open to you at this very instant! You could be si ing an atom's width away from where you sit now, your heart could be beating differently from just an extra instant of exertion earlier in the day (i.e. maybe coinciding with every 15th tick of the clock on the wall instead of coinciding with every 61st tick), different air molecules, perhaps carrying harmful fungal spores, could be lling your lungs, different water molecules could be coursing through your veins, different pa erns of photons could be streaming from your lamp. Couple this with the realizations of chaos theory, the bu er y effect that any small scale change in a system can potentially lead to extreme large scale

changes.

e unimaginably, brilliantly gigantic range of possibilities will

never be exhausted. Simply the fact that a thing has had the inconceivable luck to happen in this bo omless range of potential makes it likely that thing will not happen again; if there are an in nite number of possible ways for something to happen, the probability that it will happen the same way twice is almost in nitely less than the likelihood that it will happen differently. Even given an in nite number of chances to happen the same way, there are always an in nite number of as yet unrecognized possibilities towering over the nite number of ways the event has already happened, which probability will favor in proportion to the tremendousness of the unrealized potential. is directly relates to entropy, the delightfully far-reaching concept describing the tendency for thermodynamic disorder (the amount of non-convertible energy, that which can do no work) to increase towards a maximum in any closed physical system, and never to spontaneously decrease. is principle extends into the broader eld of statistical

behavior, applying to any probabilistic informational system. Because the number of possible disordered states generally far outweighs the number of possible ordered states, the system will favor and tend towards disorganized con gurations; for instance, if a program were created which types out random le ers, the ratio of gibberish to actual Eng-

lish words would be huge; the possible combinations of disorganized le ers far outweighs the number of speci c combinations which encode words, which in turn far outweighs the number of combinations which encode grammatical phrases. Essentially, any system which can represent informational order can only be considered ordered in contrast to the system's broad range of possible disorder. We encounter this quietly prevailing phenomenon throughout our lives. In some houses, a bedroom is only considered clean in one perfect con guration, with the surfaces all clean of dust and the furniture all in order, the clothes all neatly folded and the bed covers clean and smoothed. In this context, there is only a very small range of states for the system which can be considered satisfactorily ordered, and the immense hoard of disordered states invades on this situation relentlessly and must be repelled again and again. Shirts in the drawers are upset by hasty searches on hurried mornings, books and magazines stack up at odd angles, cups are le , temporarily leaving rings of moisture, towels are draped on doors, dust materializes from the organic degradation of the occupants' skin, smells and stains similarly appear, and the elusive state of order cannot maintain its state in the face of so many avenues for its perfection to degrade. Another example: suppose you empty a crate of tennis balls from the deck of a ship into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. One pos-

sibility is that the balls will oat in tight formation, never spreading out. However, the probability of this happening is absolutely dwarfed by the colossal range of possibility open to the balls; over time the number of possible ocean-wide con gurations is unimaginably larger than the small range of grouped- oating con gurations, or the possibilities for ball arrangement when they were in the crate. Due to the statistical eminence of entropy, this system, le to itself over time, will tend towards the highest possible disorder for the balls. If the balls were numbered, maybe a er a year ball #1 has oated to a rocky outcrop in Charleston, South Carolina, while ball #55 ended up at Rossaire Harbor in Ireland. Five billion years later, the atoms making up the balls are likely more or less evenly distributed throughout the planet (due to tectonic processes). is universal statistical effect is immensely in uential in the behavior of large numbers of particles (for example, all the particles in the Universe). e unimaginably vast history of the energy in the Uni-

verse has unfolded according to this fundamental tendency, beginning with what is apparently the most ordered state (near-total oneness at the Big Bang) and proceeding towards thermodynamic disorder. Even though this global entropic trend drives the energy in the Universe towards statistical homogeneity, the possibility inherent to Existence allows some preposterously unlikely situations to shuffle into being.

Given the unspeakably gigantic range of possibility open to each individual particle in the Universe, what do you think the odds are that the seven octillion atoms making up your body would have moved through space in the way that you moved today: stacked into your shape, following a wide curve through space and time around the center of the Milky Way, a much smaller spiral through space around the sun, and at an even smaller scale carving a double helix through space and time along with the moon? Picture the supreme complexity of the dynamic shape taken by the trillions of cells making up your bones and esh, the rivers of blood rushing through your fractal veins, the twisting randomness of your hairs in the air. Your atoms vibrate in perfect synchrony with the frequency of your vocal chords, and in your brain miraculously coordinate to produce a perception of the sound thus produced. e

li le organic participants in the lives of your cells swarm in an unimaginable complex of ordered activity, engaging the dynamic blueprint of your DNA in countless ways. Einstein describes the comprehensive shape that a bit of energy takes through spacetime in the entire history of its existence the “world line” of that energy. In your mind, rewind time from where you sit now and picture the path all your atoms take as you move backwards through their individual world-lines. Initially they follow the path you followed in your actions today, with the oxygen being used by your cells at the rst

instant slowly distributed back into the air from which you breathed it. Nutrients surge back through your veins, into your digestive system, up through your throat and out into your hands as food, urine ows upward through miles of pipe, and jumps from your toilet bowl into your urethra. As you continue backwards in time, a er a few years almost none of the atoms in your body at the outset are still present; they are swirling about outside in the wide world. Much farther still, they dissipate from the expanding gas cloud which had collapsed to form the Earth, and make their way over billions of years and unimaginable distances back into exploding stars, where they are formed in nuclear fusion. Your hydrogen atoms keep their present form and trace a worldline all the way back to moments a er the big bang, before all the energy is sucked into a singularity (or so is the current understanding). Backwards in time (backwards along the chain of causality, effect unto cause), that energy likely explodes outward, in a backwards Big Bang, though a er the compression point of the Big Bang, it seems no individual bit would still be identi able from before the crunch. All the while the concept of a world line describes the tremendously complex shape traced by every bit of energy's path through spacetime relative to every other bit of energy. e natural progression of this energy follow-

ing the logic of Universal Truth leads to some of these bits of energy

owing into your body and contributing to some exchange of force pertinent to your life. Energy ows through physical reality, compelled by its very nature to expend its potential in a boundless variety of ways. In the framework of perfect Truth, this ow produces our individual realities, naturally and automatically. In the boundless spectrum of possible happenings, the likelihood of any of this occurring the same way (or even remotely similarly) twice is so small as to be nonexistent. Again, it is helpful to use Cantor's language to compare these in nities. e entire range of possibility open to Existence, de ned by

Truth and excluding only the logically impossible, is necessarily uncountably in nite in the highest possible degree; this all-encompassing informational system characterizes everything which can possibly exist, and thereby contains every lesser class of in nity (every possible extension of real numbers, every possible set, every possible anything). e

one empirically evident model for how things come to exist and how events come to pass is that embodied by our Universe: energetic, logical causality according to the laws of physics and compounding into the diverse range of forms, force-interchanges, and sensations which arise therein over time. is being the case, the set of all that has come to pass

and all that will come to pass is characterized by its linear, spatiotemporal progression. If you were to record all the happenings in the span of a Universe from its Big Bang to whatever its natural endpoint is (perhaps

its Big Collapse), you would end up cataloguing an unimaginably vast, but only countably in nite set of explicit realizations of Universal possibility; this set is necessarily a subset of Existence's entire scope of possibility, in fact a vanishingly tiny subset. Now then, if the Universe you are cataloguing cycles for an in nite amount of time, in the process of recording all that happens, you would delineate a countably in nite set of Universes, where each individual cycle could be put in correspondence with an integer. Essentially, the possibility inherent to Existence is uncountably in nitely larger than the possibility explicitly brought to light over the course of a countably in nite amount of time; therefore, our lives and the events in this Universe are profoundly unique, unlikely, and precious. Existence has very likely never exactly come to this before, and it is extremely likely that it never will again.

•§•

One very interesting philosophical issue is the question “Does the past still exist?” From a physical standpoint, it seems quite clear that the past, say, the physical existence which was present 5 minutes ago, no longer exists. Change has occurred over the intervening time; the Earth occupies a different position in space, and in fact all physical bodies have

moved in that time, down to atoms and their constituents and up to clusters of galaxies relative to each other. From this perspective, where we take “existent” to mean all that presently occupies the Universe, it seems that the past is forever gone, perhaps temporarily encoded in the present shape of our neurons, our memories, but no longer having actual being. Based on the updated de nition of what it means to exist put forward in Part I, Chapter 2, you may already see the difficulties this conclusion (that the past is nonexistent) faces. As was stated earlier, a thing's existence is wholly de ned by its relationship with the rest of Existence. It is quite evident (both logically and empirically) that the present could not possibly be without the past causes which led to it; the existence of the past de nes and is contained within the present. ese

words would not occupy this page if I hadn't typed them in the past; the act of typing them is part of the informational content describing their existence in the Universe. For this reason, the assumption that because we cannot look out and see or touch the past, it is nonexistent, is erroneous. ough it exists in a way we are not directly familiar with, the past

is just as existent as the present; every cause is coexistent with its effects, no ma er how far removed along the chain of causality any effect is. Every effect embodies all its causes. Take any old thing- this cup on my table, with colors slightly faded through repeated trips through the dishwasher, containing a bit of water. e existence of the cup in this

way at this time depends on a range of events stretching backwards through the in nity of the past. is cup would not exist in that spot on

this table at this time with that temperature, with those ngerprint smears, and those certain water molecules, if I hadn't lled it at the exact time that I did, which wouldn't have been at that time if I hadn't sped up through that yellow light on the way home. It wouldn't be this cup without whoever bought this cup choosing that speci c set from the rows in the store, and wouldn't be these molecules if the mold were lled a moment later than it was at the factory. If my great great great great grandfather hadn't narrowly survived a bout with pneumonia as a child, I wouldn't be here to perceive and reference the cup. If he had taken any action other than those exact actions he took, even down to eating a single plate of food in a different order, then a different sperm probably would have been the one to fertilize my great great great great grandmother's egg, and history would have unfolded differently: the members of my family de nitely would not exist as they do now. Farther back, the cup's present existence depends on the Earth having undergone the exact development that it did through the last several billion years, which depended on the entire Universe undergoing the exact development that it did since the Big Bang, and that depended on the process prior to the Big Bang occurring just how it did, back and back. You yourself are the embodiment of an in nite range of causes.

What about the future; does that exist as well? I think it should be equally clear that the answer is, again, yes, though in a different sense; all possible futures are contained within Truth, with those more likely to come about more closely logically related to the present, and many rendered perfectly impossible when the present conditions of the Universe are taken as a starting point. For example, there is a boundless range of possible tomorrows, but the ones which are most likely are those which we expect out of habit to occur; for example, it is a Sunday, and because most every Monday I've seen in the past many years has involved me driving to work on the same route, I expect I will be at work at this time tomorrow. It is possible that I will be involved in a catastrophic car accident on the way to work, and that I will be spending this time tomorrow engulfed in a reball, but I am not worried that this will come to pass; based on experience, it is much more likely that I will make it to work comfortably. On the other hand, it seems all but impossibly unlikely that tomorrow I will be ung off into space at some unreasonable velocity and land on the moon. Given the laws of physics, it is certainly possible that this could occur, but given the informational content of the present, I can imagine no circumstance where this would be a possible occurrence. However, both possibilities are existent in the Truth which denes Existence.

For a human, traveling backwards in time is impossible because of the second law of thermodynamics in our Universe. To travel backwards in time would be to force the entire Universe back into lower entropy, and not only that, but into the exact arrangement of force and energy that the present has proceeded from. Time is nothing but the change necessitated by energetic reactions, so you can be sure the world of yesterday does not exist today. Again, this is not to say that the echoes of yesterday don't now exist in their effect on today, but that the physical existence of yesterday is gone, replaced through the passage of energetic change which brought the past to the present. ere is no way to sepa-

rate your body from the Universe and swim against the irreversible current of entropic energy expenditure into the past; your body is part of that energy expenditure, indistinct from the rest. e fundamental directionality of time is experienced as the eternal ow of causes unto effects, which in turn serve as causes unto other effects. If you could magically reverse physics and witness the reverse playback of any system's physics, in observing this you would still feel time passing. It doesn't ma er in which direction a change occurs, either from low entropy to high or high entropy to low, time is the space in which that change occurs. Our Universe, propelled by the in nite potential energy that sparked the Big Bang, unfolds according to the inertia of lowest possible entropy giving way to highest possible entropy. Any

localized event which results in a reversal, achieving a system of lower entropy, expends more entropy in the form of heat and other high entropy effects than it saves. According to the second law of thermodynamics, no physical process evades this necessity in this phase of the Universe, the expanding phase. In a hypothetical “collapsing phase”, where the highest entropy empty-of-potential-energy Universe collapses back into lowest entropy and highest potential energy, the directionality of time would still represent causes giving way to effects. It is as absurd for cosmologists to perceive a so-called “heat death” scenario as the endpoint to Existence as it is for them to conclude that the Big Bang was the absolute starting point to Existence. ere is

no reason to believe that every possible physical effect is directly observable from our nite, narrow point of view. Who's to say what laws of physics dominate in a Universe expanded beyond the limits of our personal ma er's possible range of being? e only thing we can know for

certain is that there is no end to reach, and any Universe's particular end must be the beginning to another frame of Existence, in the everunfolding expression of the in nite energy and possibility of Truth. To put this another way, prominent contemporary cosmologists o en state that the Big Bang was the beginning of time, of everything. ey seem to believe an in nite amount of potential energy suddenly came into existence out of blank -nothingness-, and is headed towards an

endpoint of in nite kinetic energy, i.e., of maximum entropy. But we can see by looking at this concept from the other side, that if there exists a Universe of free kinetic energy (in “heat-death”), there is a reason for it being there (i.e. it is clearly the result of a cause, in this case, the Big Bang and the entire resultant winding down of the energy from potential to kinetic throughout the entire life of our Universe), as Richard Feynman among others has noted. Why should the same not be true of a Universe's worth of potential energy, which is what the seed of the Big Bang was? Surely a process comparable to the immensity and complexity of our Universe's winding down into full entropy led to the seed of the Big Bang's being compressed into zero entropy, perfect oneness. It seems possible that the two states interchange, with a Big Bang eventually leading to a Big Suck, where all processes progress from higher entropy to lower. It is interesting that the 4 dimensional shape of such a Universe would be analogous to a Möbius strip; just as the Möbius strip consists of a 2-dimensional surface curved through a third dimension to meet itself in a single-sided loop, the 3-d Universe when curved back on itself through the fourth dimension (time), inevitably returns to its starting point without turning around. In the Universe of the Big Suck, all physical laws might behave radically differently, propelled by an impetus of opposite character. Life, if anything like life is

possible, would most likely be unrecognizably different from what we call life. It is also possible that in a Universe rushing towards the nal expenditure of energy, as in the heat-death or big rip scenario, would behave in such a way as to produce another Big Bang out of some currently unknown mechanism. Again, it is necessarily erroneous to conclude either that Existence can begin or end; therefore, we should not expect any evidence we uncover to suggest an endpoint.

CHAPTER 6

The Basis of Set Theory

Set theory has proven immensely valuable as a foundational approach to mathematics. However, following its initial development some inadequacies came to light. One of the most important faults in early set theory was revealed by Russel's paradox, which involves a curious case of self reference: Suppose we de ne a set containing only those sets which do not contain themselves. Will this set be an element of itself? If it is not counted as an element of itself, it is a set which does not contain itself, and is therefore required to be included within the set. If it is counted as an element of itself, then it fails to qualify for inclusion in the set by de nition. How can this paradox, which reveals a fundamental inconsistency in the concept of a set, be resolved? Entire reworkings of set theory's foundations were undergone in response, with the favored approach being the Zermelo-Frankel axiomatic framework, which simply proposes rules which must be followed in order to avoid such para-

doxes (e.g. the axiom of regularity states (in short) that a set cannot contain itself). It seems that these strategies for overcoming inconsistencies of this sort fails to strike at the root of the problem; the fact that such problems exist suggest that the very understanding of what a set is, the intuitive framework forming the basis for set theory, is malformed. Axiomatic set theory sweeps this problem under the rug, throwing up its hands and de ning a set as an “unde ned primitive”, which amounts to saying “we cannot gure out how to properly de ne a set, but we still know what we mean when we're talking about sets”. It is quite a mystery as to why such imprecision is acceptable to serve this essential foundational role in the philosophy of mathematics. is fundamental difficulty essentially arises from a casual use of the language of container vs. contents which seems so naturally to apply to the idea of a set. A set is generally treated as a container for elements which are designated for inclusion by logical rules called predicates. While this de nition is useful and intuitively convenient for almost all cases, it is fundamentally awed; there lies a hidden, irreparable defect in this treatment of sets: any container represents an object above and beyond its contents, but upon close examination this is not true of sets. To elaborate, it is useful to utilize the language of Truth, and its ontological status in the framing and underlying of Existence which was

laid out in Chapters 2-4 in Part I (speci cally, the idea that every single existent thing exists on the basis of its informational relationship to all other existent things, that the fabric of any object's existence is the sum total of all the Truths which pertain to that object and its place in the Universe, contained and expressed in Cosmic Awareness). A set can only be de ned in reference to the information making up Existence, using predicates which logically identify certain aspects of that information for inclusion in the grouping and exclude information which does not satisfy those predicates. Easily distinguished systems of information in the set are called elements, and are those members of a set which are specied for inclusion by logical compatibility with the set's predicates. (Speci ed with predicates like “the rst googol prime numbers are elements in this set”– in this case the elements are the one googol primes dictated by the predicate, the bulk of which we do not happen to know (we have only explicitly identi ed a very small fraction of the rst googol primes), but because there are an in nite number of primes in existence, we know the rst googol of them exist and therefore must be grouped into the set according to its predicate.) A set is wholly de ned by and logically comprised by this informational relationship, that is, the logic of its predicates applying instantly to all possible elements, including every element which satis es the predicate and all those which it rejects. A set is therefore not a container

for elements; a set is simply the consequence of any valid predicate.

e

logic of any predicate represents a unique li le informational machine which draws a border around every possible facet of Existence which is speci ed by its logic and distinguishes this grouping from the rest of Existence, de ning a complex grouping of “in” vs. “out” based on a ributes the elements share. Grouping things into sets does not change the things in themselves in any way; it is simply taking the things as a subset of all of Existence by distinguishing them using particular truths which uniquely pertain to them. e rule under which they are grouped is not a container

for those things, but is simply representative of some facet of existence which they share in common. If I de ne a set of all the words on this page, the set brings nothing new to the picture. e words already exist

on the page (though interestingly, the contents of the set are changing as I type these new words here, shbluhblobble); the Truth making up their existence is unmodi ed by grouping them into a set based on the predicate “words which exist on this page, and nothing else”. e set simply

de nes membership based on a narrow range of the truths describing these words, excluding from membership everything which is not a word on this page. To consider sets as containers distinct from their contents is to give them a fallacious ontological independence, with the result that sets

would exist above and beyond their predicates and the elements compatible with those predicates. On the contrary, in the set of all trees, for instance, the trees exist independently of the set but the set does not exist independently of the trees; the set is not an existent container standing apart from the trees, it is simply a logical framework de ned by a predicate based on those facets of trees which allow them to be distinguished from the parts of Existence which do not share these a ributes. e set does not exist separate from these Truths, but is wholly contained within the logic of the predicate (drawn from the logical possibility contained in Truth) in relation to the Truth making up the existence of the trees. Every possible set already exists in the Truths which make up the existence of all possible elements, and their relationships to all possible predicates. e set is not a container above and beyond its predi-

cate logic and the Truths describing its elements. Set theory is not an additive process, as the language of container vs. contents implies, but a subtractive one; any set deducts from the entirety of Truths making up elements certain a ributes which logically distinguish those elements, which those elements do not share with elements that are excluded from the set. De ning a new set is only a creative act in that you've drawn from the possibility contained within Existence to generate an explicit

logical relationship, cra ed in such a way that it can be objectively understood and communicated by humans. e proper de nition of a set is therefore: a logical grouping of Existent information (easily distinguished units of which are denoted by the term “element”) de ned by predicates which describe the included elements. Despite the convenience of using the word “contain” to describe sets, saying that a set contains another set is not equivalent to saying “there is a container containing another container which contains a certain range of contents”. It is more complicated, but much more accurate in this case to say “there is a logical grouping of Existent information de ned by certain predicates which includes another logical grouping of Existent information de ned by other predicates.”

•§•

A set is de ned solely through the interaction between predicates (logical rules) and elements (existent information); the set is not just the elements without the predicates (without a rule for inclusion vs. exclusion, there cannot be a set; even the empty set is de ned by a necessary predicate of the type “this set does not include anything”), and the set is not just the predicates without the elements (the predicates cannot exist without immediately applying to all possible elements; even

the empty set logically excludes everything which can possibly exist, and thereby applies to them (for instance, it is True of my body that it is not included in the empty set, by that set's de nition)). Because of this, a predicate cannot reference the set it de nes; that is, there can be no predicate of the form “a set exists which contains itself ” because the set cannot exist as an element independent of its constituent predicates; a predicate of this form references information which cannot exist, because the existence of that information (the de nition of the set itself) depends upon the logical application of those very same predicates. A predicate cannot be predicated on itself, because the truth value of a predicate is based on how its logical content relates to the informational content of something already de ned; the predicate itself has no informational content other than the logic it represents, and cannot evaluate itself for this reason. A predicate can only be de ned in relation to something (anything) other than itself; the predicate's de nition depends on this duality. For example, consider this case, which uses the archetypal predicate of true/ false: “ sentence is true.” e following sentence is false. e previous

e rst sentence is only true if the second sentence is

false, but if the second sentence is false, the rst sentence must not be true. e second sentence is only true if the rst sentence is true, yet the e second sentence says

rst sentence asserts that the second is untrue.

“I'm true if, as I say, the previous sentence is true. But wait, the previous sentence says I'm false. Well, that's ok, because if I'm false then he's not true. But wait, if he's not true, if he's false to say that I'm false, then I am true! But wait...” e reason for this irresolvable paradox is that the

predicate can neither be true nor false if the only thing it references is its own validity. (In this case, both predicates indirectly reference themselves through the other sentence: the predicate is de ned in reference to the validity of another sentence, and the validity of that other sentence is de ned in reference to the predicate.) Such a predicate is undened and unde nable, in that it does not logically describe the truth nor falsity of any element. For this reason, such a predicate cannot be a dening component of a set, of a grouping based on logical truth/falsity. Consider a set X whose predicates are “set X includes the le ers A, B, C, and set X itself ”. e rst three elements are perfectly suitable:

set X contains the le er A, which is not Z, is not an elephant, is simply described by all that makes the le er A the le er A, and the same is true of the le ers B and C. Now, what is this speci ed element set X? It is called a set, which would be a grouping of elements marked for inclusion in the group by their logical compatibility with those predicates de ning the set. However, a set only exists in the relationship between its predicates and all possible elements (all contents of Existence); one of its predicates seeks to include an element (the set itself) which does not

exist prior to the existence of the predicate– without the set having independent existence, there is nothing to be predicated on; this element “set X” does not exist, and the rule seeking to de ne “set X” fails: there is no set X of this form. A set cannot de ne a logical grouping of elements based on a predicate which references the set itself, because the set itself only exists in the relationship between its predicates and the elements speci ed; the set would have to exist as an element prior to its predicates in order to be evaluated by them, yet no set exists without the logical relationship between its predicates and previously existent elements. To correctly de ne the relationship between a set and its “contents” requires replacing the language of containment. Sets are wholly represented by their logical and informational content, the union of their predicates and elements. A more suitable language would be that of description or inclusion. ough a set cannot be included as an element of

itself (because self-inclusion would necessarily invoke the impossible self-predication by predicates), every set is wholly described by itself; every set contains itself in this sense by the principle of identity. A more suitable description for what a set is made up of is based not on what the set contains, (implying that the set itself is a container), but what the set describes, resulting from the relationship between its predicates and the elements required by those predicates. No set contains itself as an element (nor does any set contain its elements), but every set describes it-

self: every set is wholly described by the grouping of its elements based on its predicates. When the language of container vs. contents is removed from set theory, Russel's paradox reads differently: the set describing all sets which do not describe themselves turns out to be the empty set: no such set exists. Another interesting stalemate in set theory, the question “does the set of all sets contain itself?” becomes “does the set describing all sets describe itself?” Yes, it certainly does; this set equates to Existence, excluding no element nor possible grouping of elements, and is wholly contained in this predicate and its application to all existent things and non-application to all nonexistent things, namely, nothingness. Existence, the eternal Being of the cosmos: {everything existent past, present, and future, including all mathematical and logical Truth, and all possibilities, occurrences, qualities and circumstances}. Every single thing, including every instance of the hieroglyph below, is an element described by the above set. My middle ngernail and the constellation Orion as seen from a perspective on the star Rigel are both described by this uber-set. Every collision between every set of atoms that have ever or will ever collide are described by that set. e set itself, both

as wri en above and the logic underlying it is described by the set.

•§•

e Burali-Forti paradox is another case of erroneous selfreference, though of a different form: instead of arising from selfpredication of predicates, it arises from the fundamental de nition of ordinal numbers given by Von Neumann. Ordinals are de ned as the embodiment of the well-ordered set of all ordinal numbers less than themselves. Because of this de nition, any ordinal number is necessarily identical to a set whose predicates include all ordinal numbers smaller than the one comprised by the set, so the ordinal number 4 is equivalent to {0, 1, 2, 3}; the number 4 is de ned by the number of elements of the set and as an ordinal is placed directly a er the largest ordinal included in the set. is is quite an elegant and apt de nition for ordinal numbers. e Burali-Forti problem arises when trying to de ne the set of all ordinal numbers: because any set containing a well ordered collection of ordinal number de nes a new ordinal number by de nition, it is impossible to form this set. From this perspective, it becomes clear that calling it the Burali-Forti paradox is a misnomer; there is no paradox here. e set of all ordinals cannot be formed for the exact same reason

that the largest possible number cannot be named; naming any number as highest automatically implies the existence of a next higher number, by the very de nition of number, just as naming any ordinal as the high-

est automatically implies the existence of a subsequent ordinal. Cantor's paradox is misnamed for the same reason. While I'm on the subject, I might as well note that Richard's paradox is another misconception. For ease, I will quote wikipedia's article on the subject: e paradox begins with the observation that certain expressions in English unambiguously de ne real numbers, while other expressions in English do not. For example, " e real number whose integer part is 17 and whose nth decimal place is 0 if n is even and 1 if n is odd" de nes the real number 17.1010101..., while the phrase "London is in England" does not de ne a real number. us there is an in nite list of English phrases (where each phrase is of nite length, but lengths vary in the list) that unambiguously de ne real numbers; arrange this list by length and then dictionary order, so that the ordering is canonical. is yields an in nite list of the corresponding real e integer

numbers: r1, r2, ... . Now de ne a new real number r as follows.

part of r is 0, the nth decimal place of r is 1 if the nth decimal place of rn is not 1, and the nth decimal place of r is 2 if the nth decimal place of rn is 1. e preceding two paragraphs are an expression in English which unambiguously de nes a real number r. us r must be one of the numbers rn. is is the

However, r was constructed so that it cannot equal any of the rn. paradoxical contradiction.

e article offers the explanation that the “paradox” occurs because there is no way to tell for sure which sentences unambiguously describe real numbers and which do not; this explanation is unsatisfactory, because any sentence that is possible to formulate either unambiguously describes a real number or does not, and if we were to have an in nite amount of time to evaluate every possible English sentence for this characteristic, every one would end up with a de nite value of “unambiguously describes a real number” or “does not unambiguously describe a real number”. e problem is actually a result of the assumption that “an in nite list of English phrases which unambiguously de ne real numbers” necessarily contains all real numbers. You could have an in nite list of English phrases which simply describe each consecutive natural number (for instance, of the form, “ ere is a number called 1; it is described by ere

everything which contemporary mathematics uses to de ne 1.”; “ is a number comprised of two 1s, and it is called 2”; “ comprised of three 1s, and it is called 3”...

ere is a number

is represents “an in nite list

of English phrases which unambiguously de ne real numbers” which does not contain all real numbers. In fact, any in nite list of English phrases is necessarily countably in nite; words and logical groupings of words are atomistic in the same way that integers are atomistic; their possible groupings, while in nite, cannot represent a continuum.

CHAPTER 7

The Inconceivable Beauty of the Universe

e spectrum of possibility enabled by the physics of the Universe is just mind-meltingly huge, elegant, and gorgeous beyond all imagining or realizing. Even so, it is quite a joy to try and apply our knowledge of physics to our understanding of our surroundings, rather than thinking of physics in the abstract, away from reality. To actually look out at your hands and fully realize the magnitude of their informational content, the near in nite complexity of the violent cascading swirl of electromagnetism and force undergone by the sextillions of atoms therein, would raise your awareness beyond any level humans have access to. We cannot truly perceive the enormity of what reality is, but with the small glow of imagination we are blessed with, it is possible to

glimpse the realization that our experience of life requires a perfection of complexity far greater than any human has ever conceived. e Universe is an in nite burst of energy, the dynamic element of change and possibility. Energy is the fabric of everything we consider to exist; it is something of a blank canvas, capable of taking on an in nite variety of forms. e possible range of circumstances it can occupy are

determined by the fundamental physical laws of the Universe, which are balanced in such an astonishingly harmonic way as to take all the shapes we see and all the unimaginably complex interactions that make up our seeing. Words cannot possibly do justice to the beauty of this system, partly because words are human tools to communicate nite ideas, and the majesty of Existence is in nite. Perhaps the most astounding expression of Universal physics is the production of our subjective experiences. How can it be that the energetic interchange in our brains and bodies can bloom in this rich variety of feeling? To hear music, to feel the textures and emotions it stirs in your mind; to read of human massacres, to live through the sorrow of tragedy, and ache for the bi erness we are subject to; to gaze into your lover's eyes, to caress with your lips; all of this is a re ection and embodiment of the reality of physical being, the one essential basis from which all things ow. We are one in the sacred existence of physics, heart

of Cosmic Awareness' Truth, separate from the full embodiment of reality only in appearance, only for a short while. inking is oating in an ocean of knowledge, riding whatever waves of thought appear most promising. e waves generally originate

in the subconscious processing our brain's neurons undergo, and stimulate our consciousness indirectly through impressions and intuitions of what the thought promises to be. Once the wave is caught by consciousness, the ride is on, and the wave is propelled and pulled along by consciousness on a journey through the vast individual Universe of knowledge home to each of us. We can journey to any realm we can possibly imagine, and are daily pushed beyond what we can possibly imagine; we bask in an inner glow beyond anything we can fully imagine every time we open our eyes in the light. ink how many photons it would take to illuminate the entire surface of a full moon. (For reference, note that the number of photons emi ed by a 100 wa light bulb in one second is about 3x10^20, or roughly 1,000 times the number of seconds elapsed in the estimated 13.7 billion year history of our Universe.) Every time you look at a full moon, that incredible number of photons is re ecting off the surface of the moon in the exact, perfect con guration that results in the image being reproduced on your retina. e photons streaming into your eyes

from the moon's north pole re ect at quite a different angle than those

from the south pole, or any other point you can see on its surface.

is

unimaginable number of photons each achieve the impossibly unlikely odds of converging on the eighth-inch wide pupils in your eyes exactly when you choose to look up, their energy expressed as a luminous experience in your mind. Not only this, but if you lean just a half inch to either side, this mind-boggling statistical unreality exists again. We can easily surmise that the information necessary to capture an image of the moon exists in a half-sphere around the moon's illuminated surface, for countless miles in every direction. is exact same

miracle of omnidirectional re ection of limitless photons reproduces the information of every lit surface's shape and color at an effectively in nite number of points around that surface. Can you look out in the space around you and imagine the boundless number of images of your body possible to gather at every point, no ma er how remote or unlikely? A tiny camera placed in an air vent above your head at the correct angle could count your hairs; a hawk outside the window ying hundreds of meters away could look in, note that you aren't prey, and continue its search. If you can see the sky, satellites of sufficient sophistication could register the immense wealth of photonic information streaming from your body. Every time you speak, the combined force of the breath from your lungs and the pressure of your vocal folds is divided amongst every

atom in your vicinity, not only vibrating all the air in the room but every carpet ber, every atom in every cell in your body, the nails in your walls and ceiling, etc. We inhabit a vibrating eld of one type of energy expressed in innumerable ways, of which our bodies are simply a complex subset. Every time you take a step, the force of your legs being compressed is divided into all the atoms in your leg and ripples out from your feet, imparting extra motion to these countless individual atoms as heat. It is a fact that the human body contains a rough average of seven o c t i l l i o n a t o m s : t h a t 's s e v e n b i l l i o n b i l l i o n b i l l i o n , 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or about a million times the estimated number of stars in the observable Universe (a sphere with a radius 13.7 billion light years with the Earth at its center). Only with the chemical coordination of these seven octillion atoms organized into your hundred trillion cells is your life possible. Just think: at some point in the history of the Universe, a minuscule li le subset of the energy which exploded outwards from the Big Bang almost 14 billion years ago, a er undergoing the capricious interplay of physics and possibility over all that time to organize into various elements and molecules, comes together in such a way as to produce an orgasm in your awareness. at particular orgasm could not have come

to be without the entire history of the Universe unfolding in the exact way that it did; it is a owering of pleasure in the Universe a er all that

time, in a li le organism connected to the entirety of Being through its being. Some of the energy participating in this phenomenon is sighed out, heating the surrounding air and mingling with the atmosphere, some is expended by the breaking of chemical bonds in ATP molecules allowing the physical enaction of the information making up the sensation in the brain. Perhaps some even powers a agellum, carrying a li le bundle of DNA into the egg for a brand new self.

•§•

Occam's Razor is something of a rule of thumb for inquiry which states that between any competing explanations for or solutions to a problem, the one that is simplest is likely more accurate. Strictly interpreted, following this rule can lead people to such nonsensical ideas as solipsism (the belief that, because I can't personally experience another person's mind, for simplicity's sake I should conclude that their mind must not exist) and the like. Occam's razor can sometimes introduce some clarity, and I would like to add another condition to bolster its utility: between two competing explanations for or solutions to a problem, the one that is simpler without eliminating or diminishing any of Existence's potential is likely closer to being correct. at is, the more elegant theory is more likely cor-

rect (elegance here de ned as greatest simplicity coupled with highest resultant possibility).

An application of this corollary: Whether space is in nite or not seems impossible to deduce from the limited information we have, however, we also do not have any reason to suspect that space is not in nite. Indeed, if it weren't in nite, what would it mean for there to be a boundary? A ceasing of energy content? If space itself is a swarming sea of energy, substantiated by systems of energy nearly in nitely smaller than us, as hypothesized above, then an outside to space would mean a realm of 0 energy, nothingness. As was concluded rather strongly, I believe, nothingness does not exist, so it can't lie outside of space; it can't lie anywhere. Furthermore, mathematics (Truth, comprising the informational content of Existence) contains the concept of in nite space; it seems space itself is the actual embodiment of this information. Finally, in accordance with Occam's Shiny Razor, whichever theory appears equally likely but is less limiting to the range of possibility in Existence is more likely correct; therefore, we can comfortably (but of course not certainly) conclude that space is in nite. It is funny to note that making Occam's Razor more complicated is quite an ironic move; though this is the case, I think this approach is useful for the reasons given above.

•§•

A philosophical riddle that comes up from time to time is the question of whether the experience I have of colors is the same as yours; we have no real reason to suspect that they are different, but we have no possible way of comparing our subjectivities, so it seems to be an open question. I would argue that it is very likely that the color blue for the sky and green for leaves are very similar between all humans, because along with evolving retinal cones which can perceive color, we had to have evolved the neural framework for interpreting that information. It seems very evident that our genes determine many crucial aspects of our brains, just as they are responsible for the differentiated growth of our organs. Essentially, the evolution of retinal cones to detect color would be useless without the concurrent evolution of brain-structures to appropriately interpret and make use of those colors. e speci c experience of each color has a certain psychological impact; the color red is alarming, corresponding to blood; our minds naturally associate red with violence and emergency, and it seems likely that the psychological texture which conveys these associations best is that which we perceive as red. Blue is soothing, corresponding to the sky and water, and green is calming and promising corresponding to the living comfort of fertile land. Of course, it is impossible to tell whether the

instinctive reactions to these colors are a result not of the quality of the speci c colors in our mind, but of what those colors represent to our instincts, and that your red could equate to my green. While we cannot be completely sure at present, it seems almost totally probable that the same genes which code the modeling of color into our brains are shared amongst all humans just as the genes which code the shape and makeup of eyes is shared amongst all humans. DNA is the lens through which cosmic physical law is resolved into life. Take a fern, for instance. e gorgeous fractal boundary that its e

cells ll to shape its leaves is contained in the logic of its DNA code.

DNA code's system of logic is a property of Cosmic Awareness, Truth, embodied in the chemical potential of its amino acids. e chemical

structure and behavior exists rst in the realm of possibility writ in mathematical truth in the Awareness of the cosmos; through the evolutionary elaboration of DNA undergone by life, this possibility is realized, its information birthed into physical reality by the plant's cells, all operating according to the divine laws of physics and logic. ere de nitely is a logical reason for every aspect of the plant's life, including its cosmic origins, its ancestry's path of evolution, the range of physical possibilities which drive and underly its living, etc. ere is a logical reason for everything in the Universe, even if those reasons are beyond our limited comprehension. is is because the physical

Universe is an outgrowth of the eternal mathematics of Truth and logic. Everything in reality springs from the necessary Truths making up the existence of Cosmic Awareness. e Earth (and all of its chemical, gravitational, and thermal conditions, along with the overarching physical laws it shares with the rest of the Universe) is a prism through which sunlight is broken into this brilliantly diverse carousel of individual living beings. More fundamentally, energy is the prism through which eternal Truth nds explicit expression, broken into discrete packets with logical characteristics dened by but physically separated from the whole, the interactions between which form galaxies, stars, light, atoms, molecules, life-forms, and subjective consciousnesses.

•§•

One could continue inde nitely in this vein; there is nowhere you can look in the Universe that is not beautiful beyond the bounds of all possible human comprehension. On account of this fact, I make the assertion that it is almost certain that you're allowing life to be harder on you than it needs to be (this sentence is a reminder for me as well). at

is, you could be more relaxed about this, and turn away from anxiety, stress, cynicism, and boredom, and no one would blame you. On closest

examination, we have been born into an unspeakably wondrous reality, and are completely free to make whatever we want of it, within the bounds of circumstance (with the knowledge that our will can shape these singular circumstances in an in nite variety of ways, leading to a continuum of possible futures). Humans have a perilous tendency (some of us much more than others) to sink into a state of consoling despondency when we feel it is warranted. Self-pity, cursing the way things have lined up for us, feels very good in a certain way; since modern society denies us an outlet for the aggression which frustration stirs up in us, it is some kind of release to turn that rage inwards and seethe. Sometimes, a er events go especially horribly for us, we feel entitled to wallow in this hateful state, and really savor that anguish with no reservations, and make a drug out of how much pain we let ourselves feel. It becomes addictive, a habit a er awhile to the point that when another similar misfortune threatens to occur, some part of us roots for the misfortune to occur so we can dive back into that corrosive pit and feel justi ed in doing so. Such a cycle can quickly lead to cynicism and depression, and is a path we should all learn to recognize and reject. Because the process of surviving lifetime a er lifetime a er lifetime in the o en extremely harsh conditions our ancestors bested has taken place for billions of years a er arising competitively from the gate,

it is in our very genes (and our environment, the societal worldview we are forever surrounded by) to remain tense, in a state of low-level agitation. is mode of being is useful for evading predators and managing

other threats, but is no longer quite necessary since the world is nowhere near as dangerous to us as it was in the past. Our brains are still fundamentally primitive; we can brie y glimpse the signi cance and depth of the Universe we inhabit, but for most minds it is impossible to suspend this clarity. At times awe and gratitude can overwhelm us, but due to the complexity of generating these advanced sensations in brain, this state is generally eeting. Some minds cannot see deeper into our reality beyond surface appearances; their brains, by luck of the draw, are still congured primarily animalistically, their insight only extending to the motivation and satisfaction of their instinctive drives. ere is no reason to despair that the darker side of the human condition is a permanent feature of our species. e story of humanity is

a story of incremental progress, slowly but surely learning from the mistakes of the past, slowly discovering the nature of life in this Universe more clearly. Humans will be able to access higher intelligence and thereby higher states of consciousness through any means they are comfortable with in the near future (likely, through brain-computer interfaces or specialized genetic therapy) and in this way we will be able to see the world in a way approaching and surpassing how Gautama Bud-

dha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Mohammed, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, or Einstein could see the world. Sublime and pure, to know the True reality of Existence. It is so far beyond what we are equipped to experience currently; people who have not glimpsed the experience of it (however brie y) in a long time sometimes forget about how unspeakably miraculous the Universe we inhabit is. “Nonsense!”, they will say. “I happen to live in the Universe, and it is no loving, understanding paradise. You are wrong about everything, there are things like wars and torture, jealousy and depression.” Some will add, wide eyed, “And there is a Hell, and you get sent there if you don't believe in it,” conveying the feeling that the Universe is a merciless test, a dangerous trap, and we should be frightened to be here. ese are

the most woefully incorrect misconceptions humans have ever adopted to frame their worldview. e fact that so many people carry these as-

sumptions around, and dwell on them throughout life, such that those ideas underly all thoughts about death, about birth, about trust, about love, and about why we are here, is a tragedy, the gravest and most ubiquitous human error.

Chapter 8
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About the Book

is book is not wri en in the style of contemporary philosophy. I do not like the way academic philosophy is conducted, and I haven't seen very much de nitive progress result from its practice. e

convention that one must present and evaluate every previous philosophical treatment of a topic to glean new insight on that topic tends to leave philosophy on an unproductive, pedantic treadmill, essentially the product of professors writing papers for other professors to grade, in the style they learned as students. is stilted method alienates the general

public and distracts from the adventurous, irreverent spirit of philosophy. Despite the decisive writing style I've employed, I certainly don't hold any illusions that the things I've put forward here represent the whole truth for any one topic, but based on what I know at present, this is the best interpretation of the reality of the Universe I can comprehend. e reason I have stated my understandings in such a straightfor-

ward way, essentially presenting a series of assertions, is that to equivo-

cate, to continually hedge my arguments with “of course, I don't know know know this to be true” would bog down the pace of the book, fog up the points I am trying to make, and introduce unnecessary confusion. I say what I believe throughout the book, and why I believe these things, and the fact that I am not necessarily correct about anything at all should go without saying. As I wrote in the introduction, this book, and all philosophical ideas, should be read critically, and no system of understanding should be embraced as the nal truth. things that we do not know we do not know. is should not be taken to express the widely misread sentiment of Socrates, “ e only thing that I know is that I know nothing.” If ere will forever be

you can know that it is impossible to know anything, then by knowing that fact you disprove the idea that it is impossible to know anything. In fact, in order to “know that you know nothing” you have to know what 'know' means, you have to know what 'nothing' means, you have to understand the logic of that grammar, etc.; there's no arguing the fact that you know more than nothing. We know everything that makes up our experiences- I know what the word know sounds like in my mind, and though that exact feeling is a private part of my Awareness, inaccesible to another, I know that knowledge represents Truth in Existence because it couldn't exist in my mind without existing as a facet of Existence. When you push down on a

table, you feel a resistance in your arm; your experience of that is de nitely a part of Truth: it's truly, factually what you are feeling, and if you weren't truly feeling it, you would be feeling something different. Everything we perceive is Known in our perceiving of it. Of course, this isn't to say that a Greek peasant imagining the sun to be a chariot of re knows the objective Truth of what the sun is, but that he Knows that he imagines the sun to be a chariot of re, and cannot possibly be wrong that he does. ere are some abundantly-bearded philosophers out there who would say “Ho ho, but look at all these neuroscienti c studies that show instances of people being deceived by their perceptions! ey don't

know that their senses have tricked them.” Exactly. A person knows exactly what they experience, whether it jives with external reality or not. A person misremembering what happened in the past cannot be wrong that they remember what they remember, even if that memory is false. A person hallucinating experiences their hallucinations as perfectly real; in fact, there is no experience which isn't real. It is impossible to have an experience if that experience isn't real. Even if the ground opened up beneath me right now and dumped me into a cartoon world where I were a duck, if I experienced this, it would be real in my awareness, and would be a True part of Existence.

In any case, I am not pu ing forward things which I know; I retain a degree of skepticism concerning most of the ideas described here (with a few exceptions, such as the truth that nothingness cannot possibly exist, and that mathematics and Truth exists independently of human apprehension of it, and that Awareness is a prerequisite to Existence). I do not a ain to infallibility, though I do feel the viewpoints described in this book represent a step closer to truth beyond the current popular understanding. is book aims to challenge the worldview many

take for granted, to provoke thought along unfamiliar avenues, and to convey to some degree the awe I feel for reality. If nothing else, I want to give a sense that it is fully possible to peer beyond the vision of reality we have grown accustomed to living in (if only temporarily), and feel the immense nature of the Universe from a place of greater clarity. •§• Any previously discussed concepts go uncited not out of a plagiaristic tendency but a poor memory for speci cs; I read about philosophy and science over a lifetime and thought about these things, what I agreed with and disagreed with, internalizing their content. Most of what I discuss is my own elaboration and conclusions based on this conglomerative knowledge, but clearly, I wouldn't have come to these conclusions without the thoughts of others to think about. Sometimes I have an inkling as to the roots of my thinking on any topic and note it

when it comes up (for instance, where I cite the Tao Te Ching in Chapter 1). e core of what this writing aims at has been called the “Perennial Philosophy”, and has been apprehended in some degree by humans for millennia, likely since before the dawn of wri en history. Very similar concepts can be found in the Indian Vedas, in ancient Greek philosophy (most notably, Anaxagoras and Plato), Kabbalah, Buddhism, Taoism, and Bill Hicks' stand-up, to name very few; Emerson's “Nature” (“Standing on the bare ground, – my head bathed by the blithe air, and upli ed into in nite space, – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God”) has a similar message, though it is presented much more beautifully in his language. e Hindu sect Ad-

vaita Vedanta speaks of Existence in terms of Brahman, e.g. "Brahman is of the nature of truth, knowledge and in nity" (though, like all religions, Hinduism has sprouted elaborate dogmas and ctions unrelated to cosmic Truth). As discussed in Chapter 12, I am extremely excited about the prospect of the scienti c and technological advancement of humanity; this feeling is due to the musings of various futurists, most notably Ray Kurzweil. While I am not necessarily in agreement with his timeline, I share the view that such technological transcendence is all but inevita-

ble, and represents a beautiful opportunity for humanity as long as our baser nature doesn't muck it up for all of us. My pantheism is very closely akin to Spinoza's, built upon the same foundations and reaching some of the same conclusions. ough I

do not speci cally remember my rst inkling of it, it is highly possible that I was rst introduced to the concept of pantheism through exposure to his work, or more likely by cultural memes stemming from Spinoza's thinking. In any case, this book is at no point a speci c elaboration of his propositions nor his conclusions. I ascribe the many similarities between our philosophies to the success of metaphysics grounded in idealistic substance monism; I did not set out to update Spinoza's ideas, but inevitably was led to them by my own interrogation of the Universe, and this process has le me with a high degree of esteem for the validity of Spinoza's philosophy. e most signi cant deviation between our systems

(one of several) is his fallacious belief in strict determinism, due to the level of physical science during his time. (Spinoza was a contemporary of Newton.) Hegel's philosophy shares the same fundamental basis as well; he describes Existence in terms of the “Absolute”, but he draws some rather odd and seemingly nonsensical conclusions from this starting point, and one o en nds that one has no idea what the hell Hegel is pu ing forward; there is certainly an unresolved debate on the issue.

George Berkeley brilliantly recognized that esse est percipi, to be is to be perceived, though being an eighteenth-century bishop he was saddled with the old philosophical conundrum of being required to conform his thinking to the worldview expressed in the Bible (of course, my system ascribes Knowing to Cosmic Awareness, a gure in some respects analogous to God but not supernatural, not omnipotent, and not apart from us), and like many forms of idealism, his is persistently skeptical of the existence of the physical world, whereas mine most certainly is not (though with the reservation that everything physical embodies information in Cosmic Awareness). In short, I offer my own take on the Universal mysteries, a process which has been delightful and challenging to undergo.

About the Author

e ideas put forward here are far more important and interesting than me. I do not own these concepts; I have been aided in their pursuit by every human I've interacted with (whether from being brought up by them, from reading their ideas, experiencing their art, etc.) and by every condition that led to the Earth being the way it is today. For these reasons (amongst others), I hope to publish this writing anonymously, and remain anonymous. I offer this book in love and peace to me in you, from you in me. Existence! What a startling fact. I will leave you with a nal description of my view of our place in reality: we are lucky beyond anything we would ever allow ourselves to imagine, and this sacred truth is hidden from us by the appearances of life. Our experience of life sees but the immediate surface of Existence, yet the experience of inhabiting Cosmic Awareness outside of life is beyond anything humans can begin to conceive. It contains at once all of

Existence in its Knowing. It is not a ached to the moment by moment wave we ride; it embodies all happenings, all possibility, all Truth in one continuous Being. It experiences every possible perspective within itself (all of us, all of life, all consciousness), both from within that perspective (as our experiences, our 'me's), and without (the entire rest of Existence, including all other 'me's and all physical information) simultaneously and fully. It turns out we are not separated from God in any way; the consciousness which experiences life and wills life is that of God (or Cosmic Awareness), temporarily given subjective, free experience by the owering of Cosmic Awareness's Truth in physics, yielding stars, planets, evolution, life, love, music, all of it. is also yields sadness, pain, embarrassment, and the whole fearful spectrum of those aspects of Existence which terrorize humans. However, from the viewpoint of Cosmic Awareness, experiencing all Knowing and all Feeling from the highest possible perspective, these are part of the beautiful, if tragic, makeup of divine possibility; their existence, which Cosmic Awareness itself must experience, suggests that the supreme Being is not all-powerful; God cannot omit certain Truths from existence, cannot delete the possibility for pain to occur, and it is because no possibility can be excluded from Existence that free will exists. Cosmic Awareness is not a creator, not a lord, it is ing all Truth. e Being, embody-

e most signi cant conclusion I reach from this is that when bad things happen to good people, it isn't because God is up there frowning in disappointment at whatever misstep the good person made and smiting them from afar. It's simply because in a system as dynamic and complex as the Universe, the living being of Cosmic Awareness, it is possible that bad things will happen. It's even possible that all Earthly life would be eradicated by a meteor, but that's not the end of the game, that's just the return of the countless fragments of God's soul to the oneness. It's like life is an exciting journey, and death is a restful return home. Hell doesn't exist, and sin doesn't exist. If a thing is physically possible to do, it is allowed, with the sober corollary that causing pain is equal to experiencing pain; hurting someone else's awareness is hurting the one awareness extended from God which every living thing resides within. Pain is no less beautiful than pleasure; animal life could not develop without the boundless spectrum of possibility outlined by Necessary Truth. If these components of Truth could not exist, all other Truths would lose part of the information making up their basis and lose validity; to eliminate any one Truth, to try and separate the necessarily existent from Existence is impossible. No ma er what is done to hide the Truth, the Truth remains. For example, what do you think it would take for 2+2≠4? Running out and striking through the equals sign in every book that 2+2=4

exists? Change the de nition of 2, or 4, or +, or =? Decree loudly that 2+2=5? Maybe reason that, “Ok, 2+2 can equal 5 as long as we de ne 5 as 4, or make it a rule that numbers on the right side of an equation are always unspokenly subtracted from by 1”– in this case you've simply performed a duncical maneuver to transform the number 4 into the number 4 by a different name. No ma er what you try to do to modify the Truth, the Truth remains, shining brightly as ever. Even if humanity decided it were a Godly decree that 2+2=5, and worshipped this new fact, 2+2 still equals 4, independently of any willful being. is is the sublime nature

of Truth; it precedes and underlies all the events in the Universe. And what a wondrous Universe it is.

thefatesunwindin nity@gmail.com

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