Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I came across this unpublished post that I had written a year ago and publish it now.

BeYourself said...


"I don't see any reason to invent something "non-physical" to explain anything about our (or any animals) experience. In the past many "non material" ideas were invented to explain things; the rising sun, fire, plagues, death of the young, evil and on and on. Why not just say that, like the earth going around the sun, we just don't have the perspective to explain many complex things? A natural explanation may or may not come in the next 100 or 1,000 years. That does not in any way argue for a non natural cosmos. It is the many things that were considered supernatural that have come to have natural causes that have lead many of us to just go for the least complicated explanation for what is happening in the world."

BE YOURSELF is not the only reader of this blog that has confused these two notions: non-physical and non-natural. I described certain things (or non-things) as non-physical and he went from there to thinking that I was describing a non natural cosmos. What he has confused, I think, is what is physical or measurable with what is natural. And we, as a society, should get over this confusion quickly. Our astro-physicists are already telling us that at least 94% of the universe is not visible and that is only the neutrino plane of reality. Einstein postulated ten or eleven more planes that not only have no visible particles but have no mass either.

In our most natural, mundane, ever day, meat and potatoes reality, we deal with and

are surrounded by non-physical, immeasurable but perfectly real phenomena all the time. Do you think love is real? The only people that would doubt the existence of love would be psychopaths and Richard Dawkins (but perhaps I am being redundant!). But if love is real, where is it? Now please don't confuse the effects that something has on matter, including living bodies, with being physical. We often see, or think we see, the effects of love on various people and animals, but we cannot see that love directly. We experience it for ourselves, but we never can see it or measure it directly even when it is our own love that we are experiencing. What about desire? Now, if you think about it, desire is the underpinning of everything ever created by human beings. There is not a building or painting or shopping mall or book or symphony ever created that began without someone wanting to build or paint or write or compose that object. Yet, the wanting, the desire, is another thing or non-thing, just like love, that we all know from our experience and from our observations of its effect on others, but that cannot be directly observed. In this case even Richard Dawkins writes freely about desire, though he only limits himself to the desire to survive. But what is never acknowledged with Dawkins or in any of the evolutionary writings is that this desire to survive, this survival of the fittest, which is the underpinning of the entire theory of evolution (evolution could not move forward one inch or one second unless all the participants, all the living beings, were trying to survive). Although it effects the behavior of all of life and the biological processes of all of life, this desire, itself, cannot be seen or measured. Again, we can experience it. We all know what desire is, as an experience. But we cannot directly weigh it, see it, listen to it, taste it, or touch it. And beyond our experience, there are forces in the inanimate world whose effects we see all around us and yet we cannot see or measure these forces directly. What could be realer, especially for those skeptics who pooh-pooh the notion of anything invisible before they even think about it, than gravity? The effects of gravity on matter and on our bodies is obvious at every moment. Yet, where is it? How can we see gravity directly apart from the effects that it has on matter? What is this it that we call gravity and how can we observe or measure it directly? The answer is that we cannot and all these strong forces that are part of the every day ubiquitous fabric of our lives including love, desire and gravity are not seen directly and, although we recognize their effects on the physical world of living bodies and inanimate objects, they, themselves, are not things and are not part of the physical measurable world.

Intelligence, too, cannot be measured directly. Yes, you can take an IQ test which measures some intellectual abilities, and do very well. But when you go home after the test to play tag with your dog, you watch helplessly as your cockerspaniel makes a fool of you and runs you ragged as you desperately, and to no avail, try to catch him. Crows, in Tokyo, who are not known for acing the Stanford-Binet exam, wait for the WALK sign at busy intersections, quickly go out in the street and place nuts directly in the path of oncoming tires. At the next WALK sign they return to gather up their crushed nuts. These obvious signs of intelligence can be seen and appreciated, but, again, no one can observe or measure intelligence directly. And, as animal researchers are now finding out, intelligence does not correlate directly with any physical aspect of the brain. Migrating birds, with their little "bird brains," are capable of hiding supplies for the next season in over five hundred hiding places and retrieving them without a moment's hesitation one year later. So intelligence, too, although we see it's effects on living beings, is not part of the physical universe, and like love, desire and gravity, cannot be directly observed.

What about you? Can you be seen? Of course I can see your body, but can I see you? Are you and your body one and the same or are they distinguishable? Are you your body or are you that which experiences your body? Researchers have been able to distinguish which animals can recognize themselves in mirrors and which cannot. So what? Are these animals seeing themselves in the mirror or are they seeing the surface of their bodies? Are they recognizing themselves or are they recognizing what other people or animals see when they look at them? You have probably heard that "primitive" people do not like to have their picture taken because they think that it will rob them to some degree of their soul. Is this reflective of their silly superstitions or do they realize something that we just don't get? Is their fear not that some 'demon' hidden in the camera will cast an evil spell on them but that they will become identified with that photographic image and begin to think that that is what they are, the outer surface of their bodies, and forget that they are the spaceless, timeless soul that dwells within and through it? We have to decide if we are a boundless spiritual being, an inextricable part of the spiritual fabric of the universe, or if we are that little two dimensional nitwit staring back at us in the mirror.

The first time I had a colonoscopy my dogged gastro-enterologist insisted that I look at the pictures that he had taken of the inside of my large intestine. I had absolutely no interest in anything colon-related after a full day of depriving that part of my anatomy of any food, purging it with industrial strength laxatives and then having it probed by a two foot scope. When I did relent and finally looked at his camera work, I had absolutely no way of knowing, without him telling me, that those pictures were, in fact, my large intestine. It could have been anyone's. It could have been a picture of the landscape of Venus for all I knew. Did I feel ashamed, at that moment, because of my lack of self-knowledge? Of course not. I related to that picture as a picture, not of me, but of my equipment. Now I don't want to seem cavalier about it. I realize that I depend, vitally, on this equipment. If my doctor tells me tomorrow that I need another colonoscopy I will get another colonoscopy and I will get one tomorrow. I rely on that large intestine and I know that any abnormality in it will have a major impact on my life. But I am not my large intestine. And if I am not my large intestine, which is part of the more personal, interior of my body, why should I consider myself to be my face which is on the surface of my body? No, my only conclusion is that I am the non-physical being who expresses myself through my face, but I am not my face.

Most contemporary scientists will tell me that I am confusing my brain with my self. That, although it seems like I am thinking and feeling and experiencing the world around me, it is really my brain rather that is doing that for me. Further, that my entire sense of a 'self' is a projection of that brain, something that grew out of the complexity of it, and that survived as a projection because it assisted my ancestors in their survival more than those less fortunate competitors that did not have a sense of self to protect them. But, of course, I am not talking about a 'sense of self,' I am talking about the self that has a sense of self. If I didn't have a self who is it that is being fooled by the idea that I have a self? Who is it that is harboring this delusion? (Please see my post, SELF vs. SENSE OF SELF). And these competitors, lost in the dust of biological history, the ones that didn't have a sense of self, did they not even have a self? Were they merely automatons randomly pushed and pulled through their environment by gravity and electro-magnetism with no judgement or discernment? How are we to imagine such creatures? These animals that cannot recognize themselves in mirrors, do they not have selves? Do they not know the contours of their bodies, and can they not navigate through their environments, through dense brush and reefs and air currents every bit as well as those animals that do have a 'sense of self'? Do they not know what it is that they need to eat, where to find it, who their appropriate mates are when it is time to reproduce, and who their offspring are and how to care for them when they do reproduce? Do you see such animals getting confused and forgetting which group they belong to? Putting the story of 'The Ugly Duckling' aside for a moment, have you ever seen an ant wander off with a group of cockroaches, or a herring abandoning its mates and joining a school of sardines? To say that mirror recognition has anything to do with the 'self' is as shallow as saying that the image that you see in the mirror is your self.

In conclusion, I must share with BE YOURSELF some words from William Shakespeare:

"There are more things in this heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


First let me apologize for neglecting this blog for so long. I am working on a very detailed post that should be ready in a week or two. In the mean time let me get a couple of things off my chest. First, understand that I am neither a professional scientist nor a professional spiritualist. I have no plans to have a career in either of those areas and I am too old to do anything but speak my mind. So if I come off as being too aggressive or pugnacious for a person who promotes himself as being spiritually enlightened, sorry! Maybe I am not enlightened. For the purposes of this blog it really doesn't matter. What matters is that I see the world in a way that makes sense, and, at least to me, such obvious sense, that it's hard to tolerate the arrogance and superiority with which people of an atheistic/materialistic/scientific/ Victorian-Darwinian perspective make the most inane, shallow and perposterous statements.

I just heard someone on television, a scientist, say that 'we'(as in the entire scientific community) see no 'purpose' in the natural world; just atoms and molecules following inevitable and inviolable laws. See, a statement like that just drives me up the wall. Instead of screaming at the television I will scream here.

If you see no purpose in the natural world; do you see a purpose in the man-made world? If you look at a machine do you "see" the purpose of the machine? Can purpose be observed? The machine was obviously made for a purpose, but how do we know that? We know it because we deduce it from the design of the machine; from what it actually does. Where did this purpose begin? It began in the consciousness of the inventor of the machine who knew what he wanted to accomplish and got an idea (the idea consisting of the shape and the materials) for a machine that would accomplish that purpose. That purpose was also there in the consciousness of the builder of the machine who tested the machine to make sure that it fulfilled the purpose that the inventor intended for it. That purpose is also there in the consciousness of the user of the machine who uses it to enjoy the purpose that the inventor intended when he thought of it, and the purpose of the builder when he built it. At no time is the purpose directly observed. It is deduced and OBVIOUSLY deduced from the design of the machine and from watching what it actually does.

Now, does a machine just naturally obey the laws of nature? No. It doesn't VIOLATE the laws of nature, but every machine has a way of gathering energy and focussing it in a way that OVERCOMES the natural forces of gravity, inertia, etc. to deliver that purposeful outcome in spite of those laws. That is what inventing a machine is all about: finding a way to gather enough energy and focus it so that it will fulfill a purpose by overcoming these natural forces.

Living beings are also machines. They gather energy, which in living creatures is called metabolism, and focus it in a way that does not violate, but overcomes natural forces to deliver an objective. In fact in a living being there are many, many machines (each protein molecule, and there are hundreds of thousands in every cell and countless numbers in the blood stream and digestive tract, is a machine) and each of these machines has its own purpose and all of these feed the larger purpose of the whole organism. Again, these purposes are not directly observable, but they are OBVIOUSLY deduced from the design of the protein molecules and the organelles and the cells and the organs and the tissues and the various systems of the entire organism; and are obviously deduced from the whole organism itself.

A biological organism is designed to survive. That doesn't mean that the organism, the observable body, wants to survive. Machines don't want to survive. Machines don't care if they function or not. A car doesn't care whether you get to your destination or not. A can opener doesn't care whether you open a can or not. The inventor and the builder care that the car is capable of getting you someplace and capable of opening a can; and certainly the user cares about whether he gets where he wants to go and is able to access the contents of the can. But the car and the can opener could care less. Why? Because a car, a can opener, or any machine (including biological machines) are matter, are part of the material world. And purposes, and caring about achieving purposes, are in the non-physical, unobservable world of consciousness.

So the purpose of a biological organism is to survive; all of the countless number of biological machines in every organism are all synchronized to deliver this result. But that purpose is not 'in' the body. The body does not want to survive. The body is matter, and so is the brain, and neither the cells nor the proteins nor the genes (nucleic acids) nor the streams of electrons coursing through your nervous system and brain nor any other visible part of the body could care less about whether it 'survived' as an in tact organism or not. The inventor of all of these synchronized and exquisitely designed machines cares (call that inventor what you will) and the user of all these machines (that would be you) cares, but the machine itself does not. (By the way, in the case of biological machines, the inventor is so brilliant that he/she has invented not just the machine, but a way of building new machines, so that the inventor and the builder are really one, and not to get too far ahead of myself, but I should mention that the ultimate purpose, not of the biological machine, but of the user of the biological machine, is to realize that the user and the inventor are also really one, that all separation is really an illusion).

Now one more thing that drives me up the wall, one thing to get off my chest so I can concentrate on my next, more elaborate post, is that you are not your brain. If I hear that idiocy one more time I may explode. You are consciousness. Consciousness is not the brain. Consciousness is the context within which you experience your brain and your entire life. You have a brain. You use your brain. But you, that which uses and experiences the brain, is not the brain. Electrons flowing through your brain are not thoughts. They may be necessary for thoughts; they may be the precursors of thoughts, they may be recording thoughts, but they are not thoughts. They are streams of electrons. There are streams of electrons flowing through your telephone when you are having a conversation. Are those streams of electrons necessary for you to be having a phone conversation? Of course. Are those streams of electrons the same identical thing as the phone conversation? Of course not. Is an apple the same as the experience of eating an apple? Is a CD the same as the experience of listening to the CD? Of course not. They are two completely different planes of existence. One is physical, measurable and directly observable. The other is none of those things.

A thing may be necessary to have an experience of a thing (but may be not: don't we all dream?), but to say that the thing and the experience are one and the same is exactly as idiotic as saying that the electrons flowing through your brain and your consciousness are the same.

Anyway, again, I apologize for the long hiatus. Please stay tuned for my next post which will be called "The Limitations of Biological Research."

As ever, your comments are welcome.