God and Order

Our world is ruled by disorder. Ask a physicist why time is perceived as flowing in a direction and they will say it is due to entropy, which merely is a scientific way of saying disorder.

The universe is increasing in disorder (entropy), thus time appears to flow in the direction of past to future. In the past, there was less entropy and, therefore, more order. In the future, there is an increasing amount of disorder.

Take this from a cognitive perspective for a second. Your past is comprised of events that happened. They feel more concrete and solidly grounded in existence, because we know (or believe ourselves to know) that these certain events did in fact occur. Now, go the opposite direction and think towards the future. The future is ruled by probability. Thinking of the future from the present is like running probability simulations of what is likely, or possible, to happen in our lives.

The real question becomes: Why was there order to begin with?

In the opening lines of the Bible, it gives rise to the notion that, before there was light, there was a great void, formless and dark. In this primordial state, we find a state of complete individualization — even all the particles are in isolation, as to have yet formed a connective bond to one another.

It is this initial bond that fulfills the verse of “‘Let there be Light'” (Genesis 1:3).

A non-Biblical analogy is the science of your brain. Think to that first neural connection forming in a burst of energy. This initial burst of life cannot be understood, nor meaningfully explained. And, even if we somehow could meaningfully describe life itself, it would encapsulate all the words that have ever used to describe life. It would be all that ever was. Regardless of the mechanism of how, the result was that your brain formed neural connections and has continued to do so throughout your life forming neural networks.

 

A Man’s Role in Social Change

Tony Porter references “the man box” as a list of assumed characteristics of a man that are imposed upon men through socialization. He talks throughout the video about this stereotype of men that they cannot show weakness because this shows vulnerability, and this leaves the individual’s identity susceptible to attack. Therefore, the remedy provided by this stereotype is to stuff down emotions repress them, and the repression of emotion is a prized characteristic among men; it illustrates what means to be a ‘man’ because it is supposed to illustrate strength. However, I believe it does quite the opposite.

Suppressing emotion does not show strength, it shows cowardice. The acceptance of emotions and walking out into the uncharted waters of vulnerability show courage and bravery. Real strength lies in the ability to be comfortable and secure, while simultaneously being vulnerable. I believe we should be fostering the traits of resiliency, sensitivity, hardiness and adaptive self-regulation in both men and women. However, the dominant narrative self-perpetuates through culture.

My mom was the strongest caregiver of my life and my most influential role model. She encouraged the idea that there are times to be tough and there are times to sensitive. But toughness was not strength and sensitivity was not weakness. Instead, she prized perseverance as strength. It was not about never having problems or being invincible to struggles; it was about addressing them and handling them properly. It was not about not having fear; it was about handling fear with courage.

However, I still have to work to overcome what feels like a built in script of this “man box.” It serves as a point of reference – a template for ‘manliness.’ A template that I believe has largely been impressed upon me through a combination of cultural influence and socialization. I think much of this idea of “manhood” is transmitted unconsciously and, therefore, only resolved through awareness. However, awareness alone is not enough to uproot erroneous world views. It also requires action. Tony Porter’s uses his horrific anecdote to demonstrate how all men take part in this “collective socialization” which allows for violence against women. Therefore, it is the impetus of all men to change this social paradigm.

Reference: https://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men

Placing A Focus

All nature passes away with time. But we are not mere nature. We are also spirit. And through this spirit we can transcend to another realm of life devoid of nature. But this is only attained if while living here in a dualistic world we choose to place our focus and our energy into the part of ourselves capable of enduring time; that is, only spirit. We become what we dwell upon and if we dwell upon the material, that is what we become; and nothing material can transcend. Therefore, we should fix our eyes on the intangibles like love, mercy, grace and beauty letting these aspects of life consume us so that we may transcend through them.

A Prayer of Communion

Jesus of Nazareth
Christ our Lord
Hallowed by thy name
“I am the Way,
The Truth
And the Life.”
The Way
He who is the Gate
Through which to enter
“Flesh and blood will not inherit God’s Kingdom,”
Only through the flesh and blood of Christ
May one pass through the Door.
“One who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood does not have life within.”
So, eat this for it is the flesh and Word of life.
And, drink this for it is the blood and Spirit of life.
No one can meet the King while naked
But only through the flesh and blood of the Son of Man
Are we clothed
Amen.

God Is Everywhere

I am a node in a sea of God.
God flows around me
And I float in Him.
The flow of God pulses through me;
And I do with it what I please.
But I do not control the flow.
I am a subject of God
To help manifest awareness of our utter dependence on God.
God is the intangible connection which binds us all.
God is the source of life that springs from within.
It is our job to bring forth Life to this life.
It is our job to become aware of our inseparable connection to God.

The Impossible Question

“Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”

Thoughts?

Comments?

Rethinking Time

Time is something we live by everyday, but what really is time? Can we touch it or see it? No, of course not. We use scales and reference points to get a sense for this notion of time. But, fundamentally, time is the of things changing. Without change, there could be no time.

Buddha famously stated that life is constant change, and I continually to agree more and more.

But, before we look more into time, lets think about existence itself.

Rene Descartes was a 1600 French philosopher and is considered the father of modern western philosophy. Descartes was a radical skeptic and on his pursuit of truth he concluded only one thing that he could be certain of, “I think, therefore I am.”

This was a radical thought, but it left out certainty on the physical world existing.

Enter German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant thinks more deeply about the idea of existing and the nature of time. He realized that by saying something exists, you are really saying something exists at a precise point in time. Furthermore, he concluded that if you are existing in time, then there must be some external world that contains the notion of time.

But, how do we perceive time? You might say that we perceive it hours, months, years, and so forth, or in minutes and seconds, or whatever scale you use its really just some interval we choose to denote as “time.”

According to Webster’s dictionary, time is defined as:

“the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”

Regarded as whole is the point I want to emphasize because this comes back to how we perceive time.

Here is an example. If I ask you want time it is, you might say 12 o’clock. If I say that is wrong and I keep asking you enough times, you might, eventually, say it is “now.” That is the answer I was really looking for. No numbers or quantitative entities.

The real lesson comes though when I keep asking you. You continually answer me that it is now and you are completely right. But, surely there is a difference between your first now response and your last. Likely, inside of you, you are now annoyed and frustrated by me.

But, the “nows” aren’t the same, yet we continually perceive that we are living in the now moment. Our whole life we do this. Every moment, we perceive ourselves to be at the forefront of our existence. Of course, then that disappears and we perceive a new moment as the new forefront of our existence. Were we wrong the first time when we said we were living in the forefront of our existence? Of course not! Were we wrong the second time, or the third or fourth time — no.

We have all heard the idea of living in the present moment but physicist Julian Barbour takes it very literally. He claims that each moment exists in its own right and that time is just simply change between these “now” moments. More can be read here:

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/apr/25-3-theories-that-might-blow-up-the-big-bang

I like to think of this theory by reflecting on TV. Most people have seen something on TV and it seems like the people are moving and speaking in real time. In reality though, TV pictures are moving about 24 frames per second. All the motion we perceive is simply small still frames speed up really quickly.

So what though? Let us say that time truly is just a series of “nows” and it is just an illusion. How does this change any part of my life?

This is where I am stuck and where I hope one of you has more of an insight.

Learning & Experience

What am I but a self? But where did ‘I’ come from? Was I born thinking myself apart from the world, or did I learn it through methods of learning like conditioning and reinforcements?

I do believe there to be sufficient evidence to support the notion that we did learn our idea of self and was not innately born thinking ourselves separate from the world. This was the first major divide.

After all, we know for certain that it takes time for us to learn that objects remain even if they disappear from our field of vision. Understanding that objects exist even when we are not perceiving them is a fundamental part to understanding the world. But yet this too, we learn and is known as object permanence.

But how much have I truly learned about the world? I have learned a lot more about the world than I have experienced firsthand. Think of all the facts that you know about the body, the countries in the world, or the solar system, yet you have never experienced many of those things.

Moreover, there are many things I will never experience, nor do I even have the faculties to experience some things that are just too immense. Understanding the complexities of space in the form of mathematics and language is one thing, but to experience the reality of those equations is and entirely different thing.

So, as you go about your daily routine, think about what you know. Where did it come from? Your experiences? Or other’s words and theories and accounts?

 

Self-Reflections: Day 3

Today is a good day. The past couple of weeks have been good. It is a stark turn around from where I was before. I can’t be sure what the ultimate cause was, and it was likely multiple factors. I know for certain the discontinuation of  the horrid Zyprexa had an influence, as well as the addition of Lamictal which, as of right now, seems to be a step in the right direction.

Regardless of the cause, I am left feeling different. I can’t put my figure on it or boil it down into words, but I feel better. I feel a sense of faith and confidence in myself, even though my outside life really hasn’t changed. I still don’t know what I am going to do once I graduate college here in the next couple of months. I still am grinding through the daily struggles of my course work. I am still experiencing daily stresses and missing my girlfriend — but something is different.

I feel a sense of faith. A faith that you truly believe but cannot put into words, as opposed to my former faith which was all about logic and reason but left a gaping hole in my chest where my intuition was meant to be. I didn’t think I would, but I actually like this feeling better.

If asked about my belief, I really couldn’t describe it, but it is not for other people; it’s just for me. I truly believe in and trust in my views of life and the world and that is something that I have searched high and low for, for years.

I just never thought it would come in the form of nothingness, really. Nothingness in the sense that it is not words, or ideas, philosophies, or material things, it’s just a feeling. But it is also more than a feeling. It is a true and candid belief that the world as we know it is not what it seems and there is more beyond my perception. Whatever that more is I truly do not know, but I know it is out there and I yearn to get closer.