Tuesday, March 1, 2016

INSIDE OUT

I want to begin this post with a review of Stephen C. Meyer's opus, 'Darwin's Doubt.'  Reviewing 'Darwin's Doubt' is no easy task.  The  book is so dense and thorough, that any summary of it would not do it justice and a respectful summary would have to include so much information that it would  make that synopses so dense as to be unnavigable, and I have already put my readers through some rough sledding already. So, there's no getting around it: you must read this book!

Meyer is a scientist of the highest order.  He starts with the Cambrian explosion, the sudden appearance in the fossil record 530 million years ago, of highly developed animals, containing the first representatives of the majority of phyla, or body plans, of all modern animals.  Evolutionary biologists have attempted to explain how this explosion in the fossil record could have possibly taken place given that Darwin's predictions would lead to precisely the opposite expectation.  In other words, instead of having some simple, almost featureless creature emerging as an ancestor to all animals, and very gradually, almost imperceptibly changing, mutation by mutation into different species, and species very gradually changing into different classes of animals, and classes changing very gradually into phyla; the Cambrian explosion turns Darwin on his head, with fossils from completely different phyla, with completely different body plans, completely different ways of organizing themselves genetically, embryologically and physically, suddenly appearing with absolutely no antecedents in the pre-Cambrian rocks save for a few microscopic sponges and, of course, bacteria.

Meyer carefully, methodically and relentlessly destroys every Darwinian attempt to explain this phenomena and then turns his laser focus on the problem of how neo-Darwinism could possibly account for any macro-evolutionary change at all.  Again, meticulously, he dissects and destroys every attempt to explain a materialist origin and materialist evolution of life with surgical precison, and this includes not just neo-Darwinian materialism, but such spin-offs of Darwinism as Eldridge and Gould's punctuated equilibrium; Kauffman and Newman's self organization theories, Goldshmidt's macromutations; Carroll and Schwartz's theories of evo-devo and mutations in morphogenetic and hox genes,  Lynch's neutral models of genetic drift , Jablonka's theories of epigenetic inheritance and Shapiro's natural genetic engineering.  Just the list itself seems formidable and it is.  But if you stick with it and are able to work your way through Darwin's Doubt, you will have a thorough understanding of why any purely materialistic approach to creation and evolution cannot possibly work.  I could not recommend the book more highly.

Dr. Meyer concludes that life was intelligently designed; that the agency of intelligence is the only cause capable of explaining the initiating complexity of life and the saltational pattern of the fossil record (rather than small almost imperceptible changes in animal form and structure, we see sudden  leaps with new body plans, new structures, new genes and proteins, suddenly arriving and working in coordinated synchronicity with each other).  The only explanation for this would be that they are aspects of the same idea coming from an Intelligent Designer (capitalized as Meyer capitalizes it).

He goes on to say that the method by which these ideas are impressed onto the material world is not known and perhaps may never be known.  He likens this historical mystery to another contemporary mystery, "At present no one has any idea how our thoughts-the decisions and choices that occur in our conscious minds-affect our material brains, nerves, and muscles, going on to instantiate our will in the material world of objects.  However, we know that is exactly what our thoughts do.  We have no mechanistic explanation for the mystery of consciousness, nor what is called the  'mind-body problem'-the enigma of how thought affects the material state of our brains, bodies, and the world that we affect with them.  Yet there is no doubt that we can-as the result of events in our conscious minds called decisions or choices-'will into existence' information-rich arrangements of matter or otherwise affect material states in the world."

So, Dr. Meyer is drawing a parallel between a Designer who created life from a design that was first conceived on some kind of mental plane and then transposed onto the material plane in terms of coded, specified information (genes) and mechanisms to store and read and translate that information into physical proteins and cells and body structures; and the way that we, human beings, have ideas and make choices on a mental plane which are then translated into highly organized and specified neuron firings and muscle contractions so that we can realize those choices in terms of behaviors, and the creation of material artifacts.

I agree with Meyer that "the method by which these ideas (both the Designer's ideas and human ideas) are impressed onto the material world is not known and may never be known," but we can speculate about it and possibly come up with some kind of framework for it that makes sense.  Here goes:

We humans design things with a goal in mind.  We want to accomplish something and we want to come up with the best design so that we can accomplish this thing, whatever it is, in the most efficient and/or the most beautiful way.  So there is this desire to accomplish something which quasi-materializes into a design on the mental level before it materializes into the actual thing.  In fact, with complex designs, there is often another, intermediate step.  The desire to accomplish something leads to an idea for a design which often leads to  a sketch, or blueprint, or outline, or recipe, or game plan, which are all extra intermediate steps in the materialization of the design idea before the actual construction or execution takes place.

In addition to these steps leading from desire to materialization there may be a prior step, or condition, that precedes desire.  Meyer talks about a mind/body problem, but there may be a step prior to mind.  Before there is desire there is desirelessness.  Desire is the engine of thought.  In a desireless state there are no thoughts; there is only pure consciousness, the total experience of what is without mental considerations of what could be, or should be.   Let's say we start with a perfect state of harmony and balance.  We are in a state of complete desirelessness and acceptance; experiencing everything as it is without any attempt to alter or improve whatever it is that we are experiencing.   Then this state of total peace and balance is perturbed.  It could be by the tiniest, most ineffable perturbation:  a tiny twitch, an imperceptible itch.   These kind of disturbances may be dealt with by a momentary shift in our position or a thoughtless scratch of that itch.  But if the disturbance continues, or deepens, then we go through a series of materializations.  The first is to figure out what and where is the source of our disturbance, and the second is to design a plan of action or, if the resolution needs an artifact of some kind, to find an artifact that has already been designed or to design a new artifact that could be used to put an end to this disturbance.  This requires thought, and thought, itself, as compared with the desirelessness and openness of pure consciousness, is a kind of materialization.  We talk about mental life, or a mental plane; but consciousness is not on a plane.  Consciousness is the context for everything else.  It is the blank canvas, the background from which emerges mental planes and physical planes and everything in between.  Mind comes into existence as we begin to deal with disturbances and goes out of existence, at least momentarily, when all disturbances are dealt with, or when we have the momentary realization that the world is perfect the way that it is and does not need to be disturbed.

So, on the subtlest level, mind, itself, is a kind of first materialization.  And there are disturbances that can be dealt with without any mind at all.  If we have a little itch, we scratch it.  If we are a little physically uncomfortable we switch our position.  These are physical, material, real world results, but they happen directly from consciousness to neurons and muscles without the necessary intercession of thought.  There is no pondering or planning required. And yet the response may be enormously complex.  At the molecular level, the thoughtless scratch of an itch requires whole cascades of precise and precisely timed chemical, physical and electrical reactions.

Bring some bread crumbs to the beach, throw them in the air and watch the seagulls turn in midflight, adjust the angle and flapping of their wings (an adjustment that  must take into account their velocity and direction and the velocity and direction of the wind and the velocity and direction of the bread crumb) and catch those crumbs in their beaks.  All of this requires enormous intelligence, but no thought.  The reaction is instantaneous.  The bird wants the bread crumb, an enormously complex reaction happens on the muscular level, an almost unfathomably complex reaction happens on the molecular level, and the crumb is caught without any mental intercession.  What I am saying is that thought is not a necessary component of intelligence.  Intelligence is the ability to realize intentions by manipulating one's environment in a specific way that guarantees that fulfillment, and thought may or may not be required.*

Certainly with many things, intelligent action requires no thought.  I have had some experience as an actor and I know that some, if not all, of the best discoveries in rehearsal come not as a result of an intellectual exercise, but as the spontaneous result of being engrossed in the desires of the character.  When you want what the character wants and pursue that objective with a full commitment, you 'find yourself' doing things that you never anticipated.  What we call talent is, I believe, precisely, this spontaneous, thoughtless intelligence.  Even when we have a thought about the role we are rehearsing, or the symphony we are conducting, or the book that we are writing, if it is truly an inspirational thought; the thought, itself, arrives without thought.  Yes, it is a thought, but it comes to us  whole.  The excitement of that insight has already happened in that brief moment before that inspiration materializes into a thought.  It happens spontaneously, inspirationally.  We take it in directly from consciousness.  If we are in the act of writing, or composing, or conducting or acting, then there may be no thought at all; the words or the notes or the behavior suddenly come out differently in the process of an 'inspired' performance.  Even in conversation, when we come up with a witty rejoinder or have a particularly insightful thing to say; the idea for verbalizing that thought comes to us whole in the moment before we say it.  We experience a momentary jolt of energy and confidence, of excitement, but it does not really become a thought, until the moment we say it.   When we are not actually writing, or composing, or acting, when we are thinking about a performance that has not yet taken place or thinking about improving a performance that has already taken place, then we may have a new thought which comes to us the moment after the inspiration.  We feel the inspiration first and  then the thought materializes. The thought is the inner verbalization of the inspiration that we already received,  just like in conversation the inspired comment is the outer verbalization of the inspiration that we already felt. Our greatest moments of wit, of insight, of bravery, of artistic or athletic expression, come to us directly from consciousness, as a  full, open response to the moment before and not, as Shakespeare told us, "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."

You may be wondering if I have overlooked the fact that there is always neuron firing activity in the brain and when we are having these 'supposedly' thoughtless moments, the brain, or at least many of the neurons within it, are still active.  True, but brain activity is not synonymous with thought.  Brain activity is electrical activity moving through neurons and axons and moving into other neurons and axons, which may or may not be connected to thought.  We all perceive the world in different ways.  Within the human species we each perceive the world in somewhat  different ways,  but each species perceives and defines the world in ways that are more dramatically different than the ways that members of a species perceive the world differently from each other.  A sparrow looks out at a sparrow world, a slug looks out at a slug world, and an oak tree, that doesn't look out, but that senses the world just the same, senses it in an oak tree way.  Species can and should be looked at as not only communities of shared traits and similar genomes, but as communities of shared understanding.  These species sensitive patterns of definition and organization of perceptions may be sustained by continual brain activity, linking information coming to us through our sense organs with clusters of neurons where these definitions are electronically stored, or by some other electro-chemical-physical activity as in plants.  But this is still not thought.  Our perception of the world around us may or may not provoke thought, depending on the moment.  Consciousnes is not thought; it is the background, the context of thought.  The activity in the so-called 'conscious' brain records our conscious experience, helps us organize and define our conscious experience; but it does not experience our conscious experience.  We do that and we are  non-physical consciousness attached to a physical body and brain.  We may have a brain, but what we are is consciousness.

This is also not a diatribe against thought.  Thought prepares us for inspiration.  An actor trains and learns her craft and thinks and dreams about the life circumstances of the character she is portraying.  By doing this, she puts herself in a place to receive an insightful, revealing and "brilliant' inspiration.  Although she has put a lot of sweat equity into preparing for this insight, the insight, itself, is not created by her, but received by her.  Einstein received the insight later called the Theory of Relativity.  He even wrote about the physical sensations that he experienced as that idea entered and moved up his body until it actually materialized, on the mental plane, as a thought.  But it was Einstein and not Grossman, the mail man who lived down the block, that received that inspiration.  Einstein was concerned about the discrepancies between Newtonian physics and recent scientific discoveries.  Grossman, the mail man, could have cared less.  Einstein had thought long and hard about time and space and acceleration.  Grossman had not.  Einstein received his inspiration because he desperately wanted to and he may have been the only person on the planet at that moment, who was capable of understanding it.  Our inspirations fit perfectly with the specific things we are striving for and that we are thinking about.  If they didn't, they would feel not like a gift but an invasion, a confusing, even terrifying, psychosis.

We, using our minds that work in space and time, assume that intelligence also works in space and time.  But what if intelligence, as exemplified by the seagull, does not exist in space and time, but comes directly from consciousness which is beyond space and time.  I don't speak the language of seagulls, and especially the inner language of seagulls, if there is such a thing.  But I think what happens is the seagull sees the crumb and then gets the crumb and the language, if there is any, would be something like 'want crumb,' 'got crumb.'  Now in between the desire and the acquisition is a myriad of the most breathtaking molecular reactions and synchronicities which, if they could be mapped, would require hours upon hours of the most complex computations based on a whole series of measurements that are so precise and so relevant only to that particular moment, that it seems doubtful that they could ever actually, in all their glorious detail,  be measured or deduced.  What I am saying is that measurements, detailed observations, computations and designs never took place.  What took place was "want crumb," "got crumb."  And the only reason there is even a two part sequence is because the execution of the plan takes place in time (the bird has to fly over some distance to reach the crumb), but the initiation of the plan happens simultaneously with 'want crumb."  The moment 'want crumb' exists, the entire plan to 'get crumb' also exists, although it will take a few more moments for the execution of the plan to complete itself.

Using other language, the seagull's process does not resemble the following scenario:  I would like to get a certain result.  I consider all the possible ways of getting that result and conjure up some designs or plans for achieving that result.  I even try out, or test, some of these designs or plans, until I narrow it down, weighing the pros and cons of each design, and finally make my decision.  What the seagull's process does resemble perfectly is the following scenario, "And God said, Let there be light, And there was light." 

Whatever that intention was that brought things to life, an intention so important that I will capitalize it and refer to it as the Intention, that Intention and the transcendentally brilliant design and manipulations to  realize that Intention, happened simultaneously with the Intention.  The plan may have taken billions of years to unfold; it may still be unfolding; but the Plan, which I will also capitalize, has been in existence since the very moment of the Intention.

Is the true source of our own inspiration the same consciousness, the same Cosmic Consciousness, the same Designer, that instantiates our intentions into cascades of electrical and chemical and mechanical reactions that allow us to materialize our intentions in the physical world at each moment of our waking existence?  Is this Designer, also the same Designer that instantiated His, Her, It's Intention into the transcendentally complex and transcendentally precise shapes and relationships between shapes of nucleotides and amino acids, between genes and proteins, that resulted in a living being capable of digestion, and metabolism and reproduction and homeostasis?  And if this is the Designer that both created the initiating complexity of life and that assists us at every moment of our existence in translating our intentions into actions and translating the electrical information coming in through our sense organs into recognized and defined experiences; in other words, if the Designer was  initiating a process of unfathomable (to us) complexity, which not only brought an entire organism to life but which contained a process so that organism would replicate into new organisms, which would continue to replicate for billions of years into countless organisms, and each of these organisms would be utterly dependent on the Designer for them to be able to fulfill their intentions in the material world, and to be able to experience a world of stability and sense, a world defined in terms of safety and danger, of friends and enemies, of attractive food and water sources, and repellent poisons and predators; a world, in other words, where it is possible to live an orderly, consistent and meaningful life;  then why did the Designer do this?  What was and is the Designer's Intention?

Neo-Darwinist theories and their off-shoots, evo-devo, punctuated equilibrium, genetic drift, etc., all agree that there was no intention; that life is completely devoid of meaning and that the only reason that living bodies replicate is because of physical/chemical reactions that were accidentally set into motion.  Another agreed upon premise of these theoreticians is that they do not include in their thinking any thoughts related to consciousness.  But if we just take a moment to search, rather than research, to look in rather than look out, we will come to the simple, obvious conclusion (obvious once we are looking inward) that life, whatever life form we are considering, is whatever one experiences moment to moment.  That is one's real life as experienced from the inside out, rather than observed from the outside in.  From the outside in we see a living organism; a measurable, observable physical body and physical equipment of staggering complexity that can be studied and has been studied for centuries by scientists, who are now called biologists, of different stripes.  And although the ability of these scientists to observe the organism at deeper and deeper levels has improved exponentially, and although they have discovered complexities within complexities that earlier scientists had never dreamed of; these new discoveries have arrived as the result of landmark improvements in optics, in their abilities to measure and observe, but they have not changed their basic understanding of living bodies and their understanding  of the experience of living bodies much, if at all.

Consciousness, which I would define as the ability to experience, or the non-physical context of experience, which is at the very root of life, is never scientifically considered.  This is because consciousness, which, although it is the most tangible fact of our existence, is not a thing, and cannot be measured or observed or objectively compared or quantified or analyzed in a laboratory, does not lend itself to laws or equations, and therefore does not make its appearance felt or even known in the annals of scientific literature or scientific theories about life and especially about its evolution and development.  Not that people don't try.  It's just that the people that try are not scientists.  The entire world of art and literature, in all it's manifestations, are ways of describing either one's experience or the imagined experience of others.

Life is not understandable without it.  One can lose an eye, an arm; one can even lose a heart and get it replaced without losing one's life.  We can even lose, through accidents and strokes, and do lose, through aging, much of our brains without losing our lives.  But to permanently lose one's consciousness is the very definition of death.  We keep a comatose person on life support in the hopes that he may still be conscious or may be able to regain consciousness.  If we can prove that a comatose person is no longer conscious, and that his body is no longer capable of supporting consciousness, then that person is declared dead, the plug is pulled, and that is the end of that.  Yet we have all these scientists speculating about the origin of life and the purpose of life and the development of life, without considering for a moment the central fact of life, which is consciousness.

Yet how can consciousness, say the scientists, figure into the origin or development of life if consciousness wasn't there at the beginning of life; if consciousness was a much later evolutionary development of the animal kingdom?  More nonsense!  Every life form, every single one, is conscious.  If you will take your evolutionary blinders off for a moment, I will prove it to you. 

It is suggested that, as opposed to consciousness, simpler animals have instincts, which are, supposedly, automatic behaviors without consciousness.  But consciousness is not the ability to recognize oneself, as in a kind of self-consciousness; or some mental ability, like memory or thought, but something much more basic.  Consciousness is simply and profoundly the ground of experience, that which experiences. So then how could you have an instinct without consciousness?  Take the fight or flight instinct, which is supposed to be an 'evolved' survival instinct.  Fighters are not always fighting and fleers are not always fleeing.  If they were that wouldn't be much of a survival instinct!  If I were constantly fighting, fighting my friends as well as enemies, fighting my food sources as well as my predators, fighting my relatives and fighting inanimate objects, for that matter; I would probably drop dead of thirst, hunger and exhaustion on my first day of existence.  And the same holds true for fleers.  If I were fleeing from everything I came in contact with, I would be running in circles or, perhaps, leaping in circles, since even contact with the ground would be terrifying,  until I also expired from thirst, hunger and exhaustion.  Fight or flight 'instinct' works only if it is used in response to an accurate perception of a threat; and how could you perceive a threat, how could you perceive anything without consciousness?  Fight and flight instincts are also executed with consciousness.  They proceed moment to moment as a series of reactions to what the attacker is doing, or what the prey is doing, to the obstacles imposed by the terrain, etc.  Success at fight or flight depends as much on alertness and quickness of response, in other words consciousness, as it does on brute strength, speed or physical equipment.  And I should mention that fight and flight are considered survival behaviors that 'evolved.'  If they did evolve then they must have evolved from animals that had no fight or flight instinct; that either had no response in the face of threats, or had not even an  awareness of a threat when they were faced with one.  And please don't bring up plants.  I refer you to Michael Pollan's 'The Intelligent Life of Plants,' New Yorker magazine,  December 2013, where you will learn that plants produce, on average, three thousand different chemicals, in response to threats that they are warding off, or helpers that they are attracting.

What about hunger?  Is hunger the result of an evolved 'hunger instinct?'  What is hunger but the experience of wanting food?  What is thirst but the experience of wanting water?  Every organism expends energy in order to get the nutrients it needs; but 'need' is an observable, physical, chemical fact.  You can observe what happens to an organism when it doesn't get the nutrients it needs.  It dies.  But that does not explain why living organisms expend energy to attract, or move toward, or grow toward, needed nutrients.  Even humans, those of us who haven't studied biology, don't know, in terms of nutrients, what it is that we need.  What we know is what we want; and knowing what we want, we do what we want:  we eat what we hunger for and when we hunger for it; we drink what we want to drink and when we want to drink it; we move away from too much heat when we experience being hot;  attempt to shelter ourselves from cold when we experience cold; have sex with members of the opposite sex of our same species, when we want sex; rest when we experience being tired; and in this manner, being completely ignorant of our needs, but completely aware of our desires, we have survived for almost four billion years; thank you very much.

Do you think, you neo-Darwinists, that we were preceded by thirstless, hungerless creatures? That hunger and thirst were the result of  fortuitous and random mutations?  Do you imagine countless generations of species surviving without thirst or hunger?  Every living being is born with a series of innate desires that are brilliantly designed to coordinate with the needs of their organism.  The pursuit of those desires guarantees the survival of that organism, or at least a decent chance for that organism to survive and procreate.  Do you think that before there were 'maternal instincts' that mothers abandoned their babies?  That parents did not provide whatever it is that their newborns needed?  Do you think that mammals were first born without a thirst for milk?  For their own mother's milk?  Without any knowledge of how and where to suck to get that milk?  Did the mothers have no desire to nurse their babies?  How many generations of starving babies could we imagine living into the age of sexual maturity before the 'sucking instinct' evolved and evolved randomly yet miraculously in perfect harmony with the random evolution of the mother's maternal 'nursing instinct'?  It's all such idiotic nonsense.  We, all living organisms, from the first inception of life, arrive here with an organism of unfathomable complexity (and, of course, that includes bacteria, too) and a perfectly designed set of desires so that we want from our environment the very things we need for the survival of our organism.  And an unexperienced desire, a desire without consciousness, is absolutely meaningless.  So if you want to concoct some chemical/physical theory of the random, accidental origin of life, you'd better include in that concoction a consciousness driven by a set of exquisitely tuned desires that is  completely aligned with the needs of that organism.  Do you think you will be able to come up with a formula that will include those elements in your test tubes or computer programs?

Darwin, Dawkins and others conclude that life is meaningless, that is has no purpose; that the only purpose is to continue to replicate; that we are survival machines who succeed, if we are able to leave copies (offspring) of ourselves and fail if we are not, and the only reason that purpose exists is because a random, arbitrary chemical/physical process was set in motion that is beyond our control.  We, willy nilly, find ourselves on this reproductive treadmill whether we want to be there or not.   But, this is insane.  If a biological organism is a machine, then why build a machine if it's only purpose is to survive?  Yes, if I build a machine I build it in a way so that it will survive at least long enough so that  I can use it at least once, but always for a purpose other than survival.  To build a machine solely for survival is inane (inane and insane!).  That machine may as well have never been built.

Even if I build an immobile object, I build it so that someone, myself or others, will have the experience of enjoying it or using it in some way.  And if I had the power (which I do not and no human ever will have) to build something that could, itself, experience things, then I would want to build it in a way that made that experience as rich and interesting as possible.  

The purpose of life, the purpose of biological organisms, is to provide an experience; a moment to moment experience of a particular kind of life with a particular set of experienced desires, which means that we experience, somehow, both the frustration of those desires and the fulfillment of those desires.  But who is it that is having these experiences?  This being, according to modern biologists, does not exist.  With enormous dilligence and care, with remarkable instruments of measurement, scientists describe all the incredible biological equipment that we use and possess, but they do not spend a word describing, or attempting to describe, the user of that equipment!  Who is enjoying and getting their desires met through the medium of that equipment?  What biologists are describing is a house but not a home.  No one is living in it.  No one is eating the food in the refrigerator.  No one is sleeping on the comfortable bed.  No one is watching the television, or reading the books.  All of this fabulous biological equipment is described and re-described every year with greater and greater complexity and specificity, but the one who uses the equipment, the being that occupies this house, is never described or even alluded to.  Who is the user of your biological equipment?  Who is the being that is satisfying your desires through the use of your sense organs and musculature and brain?  Why it's you, of course, but, unbelievably, you, the experiencer of your experience, the desirer of your desires, is nowhere to be found in biology textbooks.  And this is why Darwin and Dawkins conclude that life is meaningless, which, of course, it would be, if you had all this transcendentally brilliant, synchronized and coordinated equipment and no one to use it.  It's a fully loaded automobile without a driver.  A fully furnished and stocked home without a resident.  A five course meal without a diner.  A biological organism with no one living in it; no one using it to experience the joy and pain of fulfilling and not fulfilling and fulfilling again a specific set of desires that are exquisitely designed to be satisfied or attempted to be satisfied by the being which uses all this equipment, which is you.

The physical world, including the inanimate physical world of planets and galaxies and stars and super novas and black holes, was created; and the organic physical world of organisms, and systems and proteins and the nucleotide/amino acid code and the system for reading and translating that code, was also created.  But the consciousness that occupies each organism was not created.  As I have said before, consciousness is not a thing; consciousness Is.  Consciousness has no beginning and no end and it has no parts.  It is not in time and space, but transcends time and space. The Intention, the one that materialized into an organism and eventually all the  organisms that we see today, is a way of giving Consciousness, which is inseparable,  the illusion of a separate existence. A self is Consciousness committed to a certain brain/body.  Organisms are designed so that these separate experiences of mind/body continue as long as possible,  but not just to survive for survival's sake, but to be able to provide this way, this opportunity for the being, the consciousness, that occupies this mind/body, to  experience this world and enjoy and learn something from this experience, for as long as possible.  To this end every biological system is designed to prolong this survival but, again, for experience's sake and not just for survival's sake.  

On our end, we inherit a set of biological desires that insures that survival, but that is not the end of the story.  We are, after all, consciousness.  Committment to a mortal organism gives us the illusion of separation for a period of time, but the Intention of the Infinite, of the Cosmic Consciousness, is not just for us to pursue desires from a separate point of view, but to have moments where we are not pursuing desires, where we lose that desire driven focus on ourselves and realize who we are.  Of course we cannot and do not usually say it in so many words.  Most of us (living creatures) have no words.  But we all have moments of desirelessness where we see the world as perfect as it is.  We live in an ocean of the Divine.  The Divine is both like a subconscious (below the Freudian subconcious of forbidden desires, if there is such a thing) and a super conscious (above the Freudian super conscious of parental admonitions, if there is such a thing).  In those moments of desirelessness, we both sink into the Divine and expand out into the Divine.  In that peace we, all living beings, are simultaneously deepened in love and expanded in awe.  We, which is consciousness, float,  as a little drop, in an ocean of Divine Consciousness.

The Designer is not a separate being who designs and leaves and comes back again to tinker with His Design.  The Designer is beyond space and time.  The Designer cannot leave.  The Designer is everywhere.  At the same time the Designer is not a thing, so is not in space in any detectable way.  Besides the physical universe, there is no trace of the Designer.  And the Designer has no brain, so the Designer has no separate memory.  The Designer's memory is the universe itself.  You know how, when you become an expert in any field, you can look at the present condition of any object in a field where you have some expertise, and make reasonable conclusions about how that thing got to be in the condition that it is presently in?  An interior decorator can look at a piece of furniture and know something about where and when it was made, and how it was made.  A geologist can look at rock formations and make reasonable guesses about ancient events that got those rocks to be in the current condition that they are presently in; therapists can tell something about a patient's past, and how that patient has been  treated, by her here and now behaviors and statements and body language.  But the Designer, who put in place all those processes that created matter and caused matter to change over time, who created and oversaw every moment of all those processes, can see not only the entire past in the present, but the future as well, including what the future would look like without the Designer's intervention and what it would look like with the Designer's intervention.

I should also say that thoughts and 'designs' which exist as intermediaries between inspiration and action are not present in the Designer's Consciousness.  There is no need for a quasi materialization between inspiration and action.  And the Designer, not having a body or a brain, has nothing with which to support a mental life of It's own.  Yes, living beings were designed, but not designed in the way we usually think of designing, with the mental consideration of various possibilities and the gradual refinement and choice of the perfect one.  The Designer does not live in time and space, but transcends time and space.  Intention happens simultaneously with realization.  The realization happens on the physical plane and then lives out its existence in space and time, so the Designer gives assistance at each moment of that existence, but the assistance is also not given in time.  The assistance comes instantaneously, out of time, from the Designer who is not in time to the living being who is, in essence, also not in time, but whose mind and body are in time  and whose need for assistance occurs in time.

So why does the Designer design?  Why would the Designer create multitudes of organisms that are completely dependent on the Designer?  Why didn't the Designer just leave everything the way that it was?  Because the way that it was was nothing, or no things.  The Designer was love without anything to love.  The Designer creates and loves and cares for the Designer's creations.  That's all the Designer does.  The Designer has no personal memories.  The Designer has no ego. The Designer has no mental life.  The Designer lovingly does all the things that are necessary to enable us to experience this life. The Designer loves us because we, limited consciousness, are of a piece, a part of the Designer, unlimited consciousness.  As a loving parent does, the Designer provides opportunities but does not dictate outcomes.  The Designer gives us an organism with a set of desires and allows us the freedom and the adventure and the thrill and the mystery of pursuing those desires by ourselves, using our own strength and will and talents and abilities.  

Some times the experience is not a happy one.  How could this be?  Because we are looking at it from a limited perspective.  We are looking at it from the perspective of what we think we are: a mind and a body and not from the perspective of what we actually are:  consciousness which is only temporarily occupying this mind/body.  Do we, in life, always choose the absolutely most comfortable, most pleasant, unchallenging experience?  Of course not!  We challenge ourselves.  We give ourselves gigantic obstacles.  When we go to an amusement park, do we just sit there eating ice cream and cotton candy?  No!  We can't wait to get on the roller coaster.  A roller coaster is a kind of torture, but because it is survivable and short-lived we eagerly endure it as a kind of thrill.  We commit, for those five roller coaster minutes, to a life of terror and physical pain.  Would we make such a commitment if it was for our entire lives?  Of course not.  We do it because it is short and it is survivable.  Guess what?  From the perspective of consciousness, beyond space and time, which is what we actually are, every life is always eye blink short, and every life is always survivable.

Does God intervene?  Of course.  Every time we receive an inspiration, every time we say, "it just came to me,"  where do you think it came from?   Every time we  feel that we are on the wrong path, that the path we are on is leading to unhappiness for ourselves and others, and an entirely different path is suddenly revealed to us, that is a Divine intervention.  But again, this is not the intervention of a stranger who suddenly appears in your room.  The Divine transcends the entire universe and is closer than your breath.  Life changing inspiration wells up from deep within, or from without when we see someone whose life, whose true happiness, whose capacity to love and give love,  resonates with us and we realize that we should follow a path that emulates, in spirit, that person's path.  We have chosen to separate from unlimited consciousness to have the adventure of striking out on our own.  But when we get too far from our true selves, too far into narrow and selfish pursuits, too far from remembering or experiencing our conscious connection to others and to the universe; the pain of that intense isolation and alienation brings us back to a place where we are ready for a deep, life-changing spiritual inspiration.

The rhythm of our particular lives is a microcosm of the rhythm of the entire universe.  If we are fortunate, we have a happy childhood, thanks to the selfless sacrifice of our parents, which inspires us to selflessly sacrifice for our children.  As children we love being loved and as parents we love loving.  So it is as we wend our way back, perhaps through many, many life times, to unlimited consciousness; but only when we are ready to completely love, to completely serve, with no separate thoughts or even separate existence;  only then are we ready to merge back into the Godhead and serve as we have been served.  Some of us long to do this; to get back to the selflessness of God and some of us have a whole lot of desires to work through, which, of course, is exactly the way it should be.  Life is continually replenished by beings that are thrilled to explore new sets of desires and the Infinite is replenished by beings that have had enough of serving their own desires and are thrilled to be able to serve and love and provide opportunities for those new beings.

Peace!

*Intelligence as distinct from intellect.  Intellect is the ability to understand the workings of an environment, real or imagined, that one is not currently in.  Few plants or animals may possess intellect, but all beings possess, or at least have access to, intelligence.



I am not sure why I am receiving so few comments lately.  I know these posts are being read a lot, every day.  If you have any theories about the lack of comments or if you would like to make a comment about this post, you are more than welcome to do that.  Thanks.


















2 comments:

Richard Oboczky said...

I enjoy and try to thoroughly ponder you posts to gain insight that I can't obtain elsewhere. This path shows you don't seem to be afraid to go where mainstream thinking dares not tread for reasons of ridicule and loss of grant dollars.

As for the lack of response, I think that responding to your thought provoking insight causes much effort in responding in a intelligent meaningful way.

Matt Chait said...

Richard,
Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me to know that somewhere, somehow, these words are being understood and even appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.