Francis, Francis, Francis.....if a man thinks he is a refrigerator he is still a man; a deluded man, but still a man. Delusions don't change what you actually are; they merely change the way that you behave in and experience the world, and they always cause pain. The ugly duckling suffered greatly under his delusion even though he was never actually an ugly duckling. He was always a swan and he never achieved happiness until he realized who he truly was.
Is that what we are, neurons? Really? Neurons, or nerve cells, that make up the brain and nervous system, are the transmitters of electrical current. They all have almost the identical structure with almost the identical electric current moving through them when they are fired. These nerve cells do not think, they just transmit. They are brilliantly programmed, but they do not know they are brilliantly programmed. They do not even know they are transmitting; they do not even know they are nerve cells; they do not even know that they are part of something that we call the brain; they do not know anything at all. They have no knowledge, no will, no desires and no preferences. A brain is like any other machine. It follows orders, not eagerly and not reluctantly, but blindly, automatically and unconsciously.
And what are these orders that the brain follows? Regarding the conscious brain, the orders are your desires; your non-physical, non-measurable, but experienced desires. Our desires are so ubiquitous and so continuous, that they often occur without the intercession of thought. The thoughtless scratch of an itch requires the initiation of a precise pattern of millions of neurons leading through a path of current through millions more neurons to the precise muscle cells and at the precise intensities and precise sequences that make the successful scratching of that itch possible.
Canadian doctor, Adrian Owen, has found a way to determine whether or not totally paralyzed, comatose patients are still conscious. He hooks them up to an fMRI brain scan and asks them two questions. First he asks them, mind you, having no idea at this point whether his words are being heard or not; he asks them to imagine playing a vigorous athletic game, like tennis. Somewhat later he asks them to imagine being back in their homes and to attempt to recall the details of each room of their house. If the patient is not conscious, the instructions are not heard and there is no difference in the scans. But if the patients are conscious, then amazing things start to happen. When these totally paralyzed patients imagine playing tennis, more blood starts to flow to the premotor cortex, which in a healthy body would divert more blood and energy to the legs and arms. When they imagine being back in their homes, more blood starts to flow to the parahypocampal gyrus, that part of the brain associated with memory and feeling.
Isn't this proof that the brain is responding to what you want to do, to your moment to moment intentions and desires? We don't do what our neurons want us to do. Our neurons are matter; they don't want us to do anything. We do what we, conscious beings, want to do. We are consciousness and consciousness is the milieu of desire and experience. Neurons are the servants of desire and experience. They are designed to fire in the most precise patterns at every waking moment to enable us to do with our bodies and our brains whatever it is that we want to do and what ever it is that we want to mentally focus on. We are not the servant of our neurons. Our neurons are the servants of us.
I was trying to explain to one of them the difference between a firing neuron and the experience of a firing neuron. "Is an apple the same as the experience of eating an apple?" I asked. "Is a CD the same as the experience of listening to a CD?" He replied that they were interconnected, that you couldn't have one without the other, so you couldn't exist without neurons. "Yet there are two hundred billion neurons and only one unitary consciousness, which is you. It is the same consciousness, whether you are looking, listening, smelling, tasting, thinking, or remembering. Each of those tasks is related to the firing of different sets of neurons, but whatever neurons are firing, you, the experiencer of your experience, is always the same. How could there be two hundred billion different neurons, with different sets of them firing at every moment, and each set yielding a different experience, when there is still only one unchanging you, one unitary consciousness, one identical, but non-physical, context for all that varied experience? How could this unity emanate from this multitude? Doesn't it make more sense to think of the multitude as emanating from the unity?"
The eminent biologists who have come to these strange conclusions have been diligently observing and measuring the world for years. What they have not measured or observed, not even thought about, is 'the observer.' Just who or what is it that is making all these observations? And, of course, that would be you. These conclusions have been reached after years of diligent research, but no search; no looking within, no contemplation. You are not a thing. You are context, not content. If I asked you to bring your awareness to your foot, or inside your mouth, or to your eye or your ear, what is moving is you. You are your awareness. When your awareness leaves your body you are dead. When your awareness enters your body you are born. Awareness is never seen directly. It cannot be measured or observed. It is you. It is not a that, but a 'that which.' It is that which experiences. It is not what you experience but the experiencer. Not what you see, but the seer. Not what you hear but the listener. What you are is the ground of your own experience.
When you 'seem' to be experiencing sights from just behind the lens of your eye, that is precisely what you are doing. What moves to that spot just behind the lens is you. You are your awareness. You are your focus. The optic nerve and all the apparatus that converts light into electricity does that because everything that you observe is recorded in the brain, not experienced in the brain. This recorded experience is then organized so that if you are a human you attribute a human meaning to what you see and if you are a mosquito you attribute a mosquito meaning to what you see, etc. Each species defines its experience in its own way through the particular organization of its species specific sensory organs and species specific nervous systems; and each individual within a species defines their species bounded experience in a particular unique way, depending on that individual's inheritance, and the unique features of the environment in which it has existed up until that point.
Over and over again, materialists tell us that we are deluded; that we experience things as taking place where they are not taking place, that we experience things as brilliantly designed when they are really arrived at simply by the natural processes of mutation and natural selection, and that we are nothing more than a collection of particles. At the same time quantum physicists are telling us that these very same particles (which materialist biologists tell us form the foundation of the universe, and the essence of who we are) only exist when they are being observed; that unobserved particles are not particles at all, but are fluid waves, that their 'particleness' their solidity, their definition, only comes into being when they are being experienced. If there is an 'objective reality' separate from how we experience things, as the materialists insist that there is, it is certainly not made up of particles. In fact, what makes most sense to me, is that the physical world exists only as wave potential for living beings to experience it; the multitude of living beings with their separate organisms and separate genomes, experiencing it in a multitude of different ways. It has been designed for our experience, and it is beautiful only if we perceive it as beautiful. It is ugly only if we perceive it as ugly. Who am I to tell the dung beetle that the meal that he is relishing is really disgusting? The particular object we are perceiving has no existence as a particular object unless we are perceiving it. There is no 'objective reality' where real truth and real beauty and the real physical universe exist. If you experience something as beautiful, or inspiring, or delicious, or transcendent, or life changing, then that is what it is. It is beautiful if we think it is beautiful. It is ugly if we think that it is ugly. And it is transcendent if it we experience it as transcendent.
Through extremely sophisticated optical equipment, research scientists have observed and measured many things that we have never observed or measured; but if they do not know how to deeply reflect inward, if they do not pray, if they do not chant or meditate, then they have never experienced transcendence. We may have not observed what they have observed, but we have experienced what they have either never experienced, or have experienced and suppressed that experience because it does not comport with their materialist view of the universe.
We cannot continue to let materialist scientists who always look outward and never look inward, define who we are. They may be connoisseurs of the material world, but they are spiritual imbeciles. They can tell us how our bodies work and we welcome and are grateful for that information, but when they start speculating about who we 'really' are and how the world 'really' is, and how the world got to be the way that it is, then they are speaking way out of their area of expertise. Biologists study and describe the equipment through which we conscious beings experience the world. Questions about who we are, why we are here and how we got to be here, are way above their pay grade.
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