The Essence Of Living Free In The Digital Era: Beyond The Industrial Age

Light within all living beingsSpirit to me is synonymous with essence; animals can have spirituality. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen animals regard me, look directly into my eyes, and really see me; they can know me on levels humans cannot, like through smell. They can smell everywhere I have been and know whether I am native to the woods or not. They can detect pheromones, the chemistry of my essence. Am I in fear? Am I predator? Am I not predator but dangerous? Have they encountered me before? All this knowledge attained in a whiff. Our essence, our spirit, exudes without our bodies. We are Spirit, Essence. Our moods, our humors, our emotions emanate from within. It is why someone can be said to be glowing and why beauty is beyond the skin (although skin can be beautiful, but true beauty is more than the physical).

meeting the black wholeSuperpowers–Mental acuity can be another way to denote superpowers. Superpowers can make for, what is called, an evil person, but superpowers themselves have no direction (i.e., no intrinsic implication of good or bad, right or wrong), it is the spirit that possesses them (by possess, I don’t mean in the sense of possession in need of a priest, but in a filling of space, to occupy or influence). Superpowers are very real, though. They are what humans can attain. Today’s protrusion of superpowers can be seen in autistic savants (some famous ones are Daniel Tammet, Kim Peeks, and Temple Grandin), or prodigal genius, or in synesthetes, or in people who have had some kind of head injury or have epilepsy and can perform great feats of calculation or memory. See, I think that humans, in general, are capable of these kinds of feats.

What’s more, these are not feats of the mind; I think that these are ‘normal’ processes, well within the faculties of mind. We are only talking about a kind of comprehension (or maybe apprehension), just a kind of quintessential conversation, a matter of substantial concentration, are we not? Once humans are able to exorcise the mind of unnecessary anxieties, stresses, dis-eases (those habits and grooves of the outgoing society and culture, wherein grooves conceptualize the habits, as well-worn ruts in the synaptic connections, like ditches in grey matter), than we can again realize our full abilities.

SphinxThe internet can be looked at as hive mind/collective consciousness made explicit, like an emergent consciousness arising from the intangible infrastructure of the World Wide Web. I think wireless technology can be perceived as modeled of energy and spirituality. That is (for example) email, web pages, or radio stations transmitting and being received like spiritual messages. You just tune to the frequency and get or give what you need. This is how I see wireless technology. I think Tesla’s idea of wireless technology is the same, he was a man who knew electricity, and if we are just talking about the movement of electrons, then messages are conveyed every time an electron is stimulated. I mean, talking is the same as wireless technology on a certain level. Sound waves received and transmitted as vibrations. What is vibrating? I do not think any thing is vibrating; just that the act of Vibrate exists. It is like saying that there is no driver of the car; we are driver, car, wheel, etc. Therefore, is not wireless technology a kind of telepathy?  Just as television was/is a kind of telepathy, there is a communication with the mind, a sympathetic vibration, an equilibrium, a harmony.

This is what I am most like when in nature, a harmony. This is what I think humans have also lost. Not that humans can ever return to indigenous tribes, but that we can reconnect with our environment at a new point. This is the way I think human suffering can be selected out.

space timeA question emerges: how then do we make sure not to let (or continue to let) the use of technology become a substitute for real intimacy and human connection? To not escape into fear of our own minds and selves — which is what we sometimes run from when we lose ourselves in a screen and if we cringe from human contact and the vulnerability and uncertainty in being seen and experiencing with another? This is what disturbs me most about the internet or about such online “games” as Second Life. Second Life, even the name gives me shivers. It is as if life itself can be replicated (and I do not mean in the sense of reproduction because that is not a replication. There is no copy, not a cloning. A child is an independent being of its parents, not an exact copy), like Frankenstein’s monster, a horrible attempt at mimicry. So, Second Life takes over real life, to the point that real life pales in comparison. Well, online, you can be anything (like a permanent Hallowe’en, save there is no unmasking), a permanent anonymity (or the illusion thereof). Therefore, people take bigger risks, because it seems as if there is no risk at all. This is the mistake of the internet. I think it is because we do not really understand the internet, or the World Wide Web, as we do not really understand ourselves. So, we play with fire. We play with What before we know Why. We are like children, humans, in the universe. Just because we inhabit terra firma does not mean we know everything. I think we fear the uncertainty.

It seems that people are afraid of freedom, really to let go. It is like jumping off a cliff and free falling, except the cliff and the jump were an illusion. I think the part in The Matrix where Morpheus tells Neo to jump from one building to another symbolizes our fear of freedom well. The jump is freedom, jumping into the unknown. The unknown is not the dark abyss that Nietzsche wrote of (at least I do not agree), it can be, but that is in the eye of the beholder. The unknown, to me, is a release, a relief, peaceful. That fighting is unnecessary and that really things are quite simple (thank you Occam’s razor). All the way down to the essence of being, and in all directions simultaneously. This is what humans have forgotten in our ever-pursuit of more, further updates, the next greatest gadget, and the like. We must first remember that we are born free before we can accept that we are consciousness, embodied.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Sphinx” by Eddi van W.
“meeting the black whole” by Eddi van W.
“space time” by Eddi van W.
“Light within all living beings” by Stefan Perneborg

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QOTD Hazrat Inayat Khan

QOTD Hazrat Inayat Khan*Source

Religion and Science

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and desire are the motive forces behind all human endeavour and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present itself to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions—fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connexions is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates for itself more or less analogous beings on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. One’s object now is to secure the favour of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed towards a mortal.

I am speaking now of the religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases the leader or ruler whose position depends on other factors, or a privileged class, combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

The social feelings are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes, the God who, according to the width of the believer’s outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even life as such, the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing, who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, which is continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in a nation’s life. That primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that they are all intermediate types, with this reservation, that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. Only individuals of exceptional endowments and exceptionally high-minded communities, as a general rule, get in any real sense beyond this level. But there is a third state of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form, and which I will call cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to explain this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

The individual feels the nothingness of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. He looks upon individual existence as a sort of prison and wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear in earlier stages of development—e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learnt from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer especially, contains a much stronger element of it.

The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so that there can be no Church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with the highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as Atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are capable of it. We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one. When one views the matter historically one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events—that is, if he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man’s actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God’s eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it goes through. Hence science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear and punishment and hope of reward after death.

It is therefore easy to see why the Churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest incitement to scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion which pioneer work in theoretical science demands, can grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labour in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics!

Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a sceptical world, have shown the way to those like-minded with themselves, scattered through the earth and the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man strength of this sort. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.

You will hardly and one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a peculiar religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religion of the naive man. For the latter God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands to some extent in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe.

But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality, it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.

By Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, Secaucus, New Jersy: The Citadel Press, 1999, pp. 24-29.

Continual crisis, endless solutions…


“A Life Of Illusion”

Sometimes I can’t help the feeling that I’m
Living a life of illusion
And oh, why can’t we let it be
And see through the hole in this wall of confusion
I just can’t help the feeling I’m
Living a life of illusion

Pow! Right between the eyes
Oh, how nature loves her little surprises
Wow! It all seems so logical now
It’s just one of her better disguises
And it comes with no warning
Nature loves her little surprises
Continual crisis

Hey, don’t you know it’s a waste of your day
Caught up in endless solutions
That have no meaning, just another hunch
Based upon jumping conclusions
Caught up in endless solutions
Backed up against a wall of confusion
Living a life of illusion

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Knowing Something and Knowing the Name of Something

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. ~Richard Feynman

*Image Credit: “Richard Feynman — Paine Mansion Woods 1984” copyright Tamiko Thiel (used under CC license BY-SA-3.0)

Cosmic Consciousness

You are literally made of stardust and whatever becomes of you the particles from which you are made have been around since the dawn of time and will continue to live forever. ~Danny Scheinmann, Random Acts of Heroic Love

In other words, we are all a continuation of the big bang (if there was such a thing, but rather than looking at this as an actual event, let’s look at it as if it were the adjective about a particular event). Much the same as humans are conceived, and as thoughts are conceived, and as atoms collide, and as the earth peoples (like the apple tree apples–an idea borrowed from Alan Watts, but that is apropos I think), humans are.

TardezitaYes, no one can truly see the world the same way as another. Truly cannot see because each human has experienced his or her life, uniquely, through a unique set of happenstances and occurences and accidents and guidances etc; it is this uniqueness that establishes the subtle distinctions that can make each one of us a guru. In this way, all humans inherently possesses an infinity of probable potentialities. Each probability disappears or appears according to the conscious and willful choices made as human beings. These constitute the lovely differences between humans, which make it possible for humans to relate to one another on differing levels. When we find ourselves among greatness (whether that is a work of art, music composed, ballet, basketball game, graphic design, architecture, voice, etc.) we subjectively feel the meaning conveyed and we perceive that greatness wrapped up in a little piece of ourselves. . . so, in some ways we still experience it differently rather than the same. What we can all agree on is that as far as we know there does exist an external dimension, separate from us, yet somehow connected, called external reality (the amalgamation of all realizations, the collective mind). These are the genes of our sameness.

Fossil Sitting In Sun LightI, too, perceive in such a nondualistic manner. As the Winter leaves its cold tendrils in the early days of Spring, and as does one galaxy merges (not collides) with the other, passing through one another and leaving bits of each other within the makeup of the other, as is the nonduality in things. It can be difficult to distinguish one from the other, but only at certain levels of magnification. At one level, the distinction cannot be perceived, as a single point from which to begin or end cannot be perceived. Where do I end and Life begin?

The space around us is full of a living essence, which we are just beginning to understand. This essence is like a conduit that is affected by our thoughts. Like oscillations of a bowed string, the notes we play do matter. ~Shawn Hocking

It’s easy to travel down the nihilist path; I find myself doing this on occasion myself. Although, I don’t think of basing the why of things on their function constitutes nihilism. I think it’s a very realistic (no pun intended) way of perceiving the world about us. Nihilism only comes into play because this way does not include the existence of a god (as an anthropomorphic entity). Also, nihilism does not necessarily mean ending as in destruction. Even Nietzsche, the so-called father of nihilism, did not think this way, evident by his philosophy of the Superman. Nietzche was an evolutionist! He wanted a better kind of Man, as he was extremely displeased with the present lot.

Shawn Hocking ArtworkAnd so, that brings us to Love. Love, to me, is not an emotion, it is a way of being, a way of living in the world. Not so much with love, as *being* love’ in this way with every action, with every motion and with every will and want of your being embodies love, which is the natural tendency in humans. Love is a form of consciousness/conscience, and without them love cannot be experienced. And no, love is not only a human trait. The iconization and commodification of love is a human trait, yes. It is obvious that animals and other organisms love. Observe the cow, the lion, the cat, the dog, the deer, the elephant, the dolphin, the whale, the penguin, as well as the flower, the rock, the sea, and the desert.

Are we not all the embodiment of Life and Love, a cosmic consciousness?

[Cosmic Consciousness]*Image Credits (artwork used with permission through CC license and with express permission from Shawn Hocking)–
“Yin Yang Sky Earth — Illustration” by DonkeyHotey
“Fossil Sitting In Sun Light” by A Guy Taking Pictures
“Tardezita” by Eduardo Amorim
[Cosmic Consciousness] by Shawn Hocking
[Untitled] by Shawn Hocking