“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ Say not, ‘I have found the path of the soul.’ Say rather, ‘I have met the soul walking upon my path.'” -Kahlil Gibran
In terms of dealing with reality, Gibran is wrong.
The line demarcating that which is true from that which is not didn’t appear in our own civilization overnight; rather, it developed gradually in Western philosophical thought. The issues of truth and falsehood have occupied many eminent thinkers and until postmodernism was thrust upon us by pathological thinking, truth and falsehood were, at least in theory, understood?
With postmodernism holding sway over our culture, the idea that no boundaries exist between ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ penetrates our lives in a way that is unhealthy and unwholesome. There are many contrasts in our symbolic/moral universes (our personal, mutual and collective realities), some of them more profound than others so that the effect of postmodernism on our thinking can produce greater or lesser stress in our lives depending on where and how it is applied. A few of these contrasts are things like black vs. white, day vs. night, sea vs. land, mountains vs. valley, moving into abstract contrasts like good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, justice vs. injustice, and, of course, truth vs. lies.
The view that anything goes, that everything is a real, but different, version of reality has led to a form of cultural schizophrenia from which we must emerge if we are to survive in a world that is changing as rapidly as ours. History plays a big part in this schizophrenic reality. There are a great many versions of reality and numerous narratives that have some sort of value, but then we come to the challenge of examining everything and determining which is morally, or more importantly, empirically correct. As Nachman Ben-Yehuda comments in his book, Sacrificing Truth, “putting the Nazi version of reality on the same level with those of Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr, or Mahatma Gandhi is empirically false and morally impossible, though I do concede that morality is a contestable and negotiable variable.”
As a historian, I have to say that there are versions of reality which are inconsistent with, even contradictory to, the facts. The problem is to really discover what the facts are or were. Phillip Knightley’s book, The First Casualty, gives many modern examples of media deception and misinformation. Ben-Yehuda comments: “Taking different versions of reality as they are, without contrasting them and trying to find out which one is closer to the observable and known facts, will leave us in a haze of eternal uncertainties, a shadowy ‘reality’ where nothing is true or false. Living in such a universe cannot be easy. … Adhering to social realities which are based on incorrect empirical facts and false information is – evidently – possible, but carries a heavy price tag in terms of a genuine understanding of the world in which we live.” We are presently facing the results of living in a social reality based on lies right in the Gulf of Mexico! History and current affairs –which are just ‘history in the making’ – really are that important! Our lives may depend on knowing the Truth, or as close to it as we can get considering how much documentation has been destroyed or falsified. Ultimately, as Biblical lscholar George Bradford Caird wrote:
“All history is an attempt to find pattern and meaning in a section of human experience, and every historian worthy of the name raises questions about man’s ultimate destiny and the meaning of all history to which, as history, he can provide no answers. The answers belong to the realm of theology.”
How can anybody be sure of anything in this day and time when the world seems to have gone mad and we find ourselves collectively in the position of the hero/heroine of the horror movie who hears a noise. Indeed, the audience can see that the monster is lurking in the bushes (no pun intended) just outside the door, the soundtrack is heavy with ominous portent, and with innocent naivete and a handy flashlight, the star of the movie puts his or her hand on the doorknob. The audience groans with the agony of knowing and collectively shouts “DON’T OPEN THE DOOR!” But, unfortunately, the movie world is not connected to the world of the audience, and no warning can cross that divide.
In the old days, movie heroes and heroines generally always survived such mistakes by dint of clever scripting. In more recent years, you can never be sure anymore: the hero or heroine is likely to die – reflecting real life – because of their stupidity.
Admittedly, when I was much younger, I only liked the kind of movies where the hero or heroine triumphed in the end. I was always upset and angry – I felt cheated – if the movie ended as real life often does: no haven, no help, no hope. Only later did I realize the usefulness of such movies; that they could be teaching tools that help us to analyze our hopes, our beliefs, our wishful thinking that “right will prevail” no matter what, so that, if – indeed – we ever found ourselves in similar situations, we could circumvent the “failures of intelligence” that led to failures in awareness and strategy. In short, observing how wishful thinking most often leads to disaster in real life, could teach us how to think rationally, how to analyze and predict, and thus, formulate an adequate response to any situation of danger.
It’s a useful concept.
But it still doesn’t bridge the divide between the actors in the movie and the audience that can SEE.
At the present time, it seems that much of the outside world is watching America in the same way an audience watches a horror movie. The audience, of course, has the benefit of a “bird’s eye view,” and all the clues of music and privileged perspective granted by the movie maker. The actors are in a state of “fantasy,” or “wishful thinking,” if you like. They have agreed, individually and collectively, to engage in acting out the drama. They have agreed to “forget” all they know about the script so as to more effectively “get into” their roles. When the movie making is over, they all have a cast party, toast each other for how well they managed to fool the audience, and agree that it was a great movie and go home to read another script.
The audience, on the other hand, if they are knowledgeable, will agree that their favorite actors sure had them going there for a bit! They will declare sagely how good the monster was, and how evil the villain was because the actor or actress was such a master of their craft.
Such analogies as audience and movie are often used by philosophers as a way of suggesting that all that happens on earth is exactly that: a grand play and everybody is all the same when the show is over: actors and audience are simply two sides that have agreed to play “parts” in the life of humanity. Certainly, at some ultimate “level” of reality, this may be true in a certain way, but we suspect that it is not at all exactly that simple.
Sure, in the ultimate Grand Scheme of things, everything goes back to source. The difference is that those with the BEing nature of Creativity don’t like the idea of Entropy and they reserve the right to make a choice.
It is easier to resist evil at the beginning than at the end.
And it is oh, so easy to excuse yourself from resisting by just saying: “Oh, it’s just a movie! We can all go home at the end and know that everyone played their parts well…”
There is more than a little scientific support for the above ideas that consciousness – the root of existence and BEing – has two fundamental states: on, or off. In the final analysis, it seems that the metaphor of humanity and its collective “higher selves” being a movie and an audience, may be simply anthropomorphizing creative and entropic forces of the universe for the purposes of “self-calming.” The stakes, it seems, are a lot higher and more real.
This brings us to the issue of subjectivity vs. objectivity. In recent weeks, I have been queried by several people who want to know just HOW “Knowledge protects.” My response was too lengthy to reproduce here, but I said in part:
As the C’s have said, and this is echoed in the most ancient traditions: “It’s not where you are, but WHO you are and WHAT YOU SEE that counts.” This “who” and “what you see” have been somewhat problematical as research subjects, and it has only been in the last three years that clear understanding of these concepts have been articulated. I discuss both extensively in my lectures on Alchemy.
We must regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. Consider an intelligence which, at any instant, could have a knowledge of all forces controlling nature together with the momentary conditions of all the entities of which nature consists. If this intelligence were powerful enough to submit all this data to analysis it would be able to embrace in a single formula the movements of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atoms; for it, nothing would be uncertain; the future and the past would be equally present to its eyes. Pierre Laplace
Certainly, such an intelligence as Laplace describes would be “Godlike,” you agree? And certainly, no one of us human beings is capable of such “seeing,” you will also agree. However, what does seem to be true is that this is a significant clue to the solutions to the pressing issues of our day: knowledge that leads to awareness.
Here I will insert a major clue: As the brain interacts with its environment, synaptic circuits combine to form synaptic maps of the world perceived by the senses. These maps describe small segments of that world – shape, color, movement – and these maps are scattered throughout the brain. As the brain’s synaptic network evolves, beginning at birth – or even before – these maps process information simultaneously and in parallel.
Based on our synaptic maps of the world, we are enabled to have a more or less objective view of reality.
Classical physics asserts that the future already exists, as do the present and past. Everything that ever will happen has already happened. But for some unknown reason our minds can only experience the future a piece at a time in what we call the present.
Quantum physics says that we can never predict the future with absolute certainty. The future does not yet exist in a single definite state.
Quantum uncertainty does not deny us all knowledge about the future. It gives us the tools to make predictions, but only in terms of probabilities.
Bohr and other leading physicists of the Copenhagen School say that objective reality is an ambiguous concept at the quantum level. In physics, our knowledge comes only when we actually measure something, and even then the way we decide to perform the measurement affects the results we obtain.
Asking the same question in different ways may give seemingly contradictory answers, but no single experiment will itself provide contradictory information. Some experiments will show electrons as waves, and others will show them as particles. In no single experiment do electrons display wavelike and particlelike behavior simultaneously. Bohr called this complementarity.
Quantum mechanics leaves the observer uncertain about the actual nature of reality. Are they rally waves or particles? We don’t know and no experiment will tell us. Detecting one of the attributes automatically excludes knowledge about the other.
There is a striking similarity between life and thought. Just as there are more potential life forms than the planet can hold, there are more potential ideas than our minds can possibly absorb and remember.
Just as evolutionary natural selection may generate change by choosing from among the many potential forms of life, so may thought be able to generate evolutionary change by choosing among many potential thoughts.
The master evolutionary mechanism is found in the wave function of the universe. The observer guides the selection from an infinite number of potential arrangements that the universe may assume from moment to moment.
The universe has many possible future states or potentialities represented by the wave function. The wave function is constantly collapsing into the present as the many possible states become a single state as the present unfolds and possibilities become actualities.
Many individuals have decided that this Quantum Uncertainty means that you can “create your own reality” by what you believe, or depending upon what you give your attention to. This is a popular idea among many New Age types, and is actually the foundation of most religions whether they realize it or not. Let’s have a look at what can be done with a little twist of scientific knowledge:
October 22, 2004
Now we come at last to the heart of darkness. Now we know, from their own words, that the Bush Regime is a cult — a cult whose god is Power, whose adherents believe that they alone control reality, that indeed they create the world anew with each act of their iron will. And the goal of this will — undergirded by the cult’s supreme virtues of war, fury and blind faith — is likewise openly declared: “Empire.”
You think this is an exaggeration? Then heed the words of the White House itself: a “senior adviser” to the president, who, as The New York Times reports, explained the cult to author Ron Suskind in the heady pre-war days of 2002.
First, the top Bush insider mocked the journalist and all those “in what we call the reality-based community,” i.e., people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” Suskind’s attempt to defend the principles of reason and enlightenment cut no ice with the Bush-man.
“That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” he said. “And while you’re studying that reality, we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Anyone with any knowledge of 20th-century history will know that this same megalomaniacal outburst could have been made by a “senior adviser” to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Mao. Indeed, as scholar Juan Cole points out, the dogma of the Bush Cult is identical with the “reality-creating” declaration of Mao’s “Little Red Book”: “It is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.” For Bush, as for Mao, “discernible reality” has no meaning: Po litical, cultural, economic, scientific truth — even the fundamental processes of nature, even human nature itself — must give way to the faith-statements of ideology, ruthlessly applied by unbending zealots.
Faith Instead of Reason
For George Bush, faith is more important than reality, and the will transcends any need to consider the facts.
Scott D. O’Reilly
President Bush is not a man given to doubt. Faith, he believes, can not only move mountains, it can transform the world. This is powerful stuff, and it is at the heart of why so many Americans fervently support George W. Bush, even when it is clear that he has committed gross errors in judgment.
For Bush, and his followers, reality isn’t something you accommodate yourself to, it’s something you shape until the facts reflect your will. “Reality,” to borrow a line from the classic black comedy Being There starring Peter Sellers, “is a state of mind.”
Four years ago the Bush campaign began to impose its state of mind on the American people. An electoral deficit was no obstacle to their designs; the man who got half a million fewer votes than his opponent was able to convince the American people to accept the premise that examining disputed ballots would only “cloud” the election. Thus, the election was not decided by the voters, but by the campaign excluding voters. As Joseph Stalin once remarked, “The voters decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.”
The impartial media-sponsored recount showed that in a statewide recount Gore received more votes than Bush in the critical state of Florida. If it had been up to the voters — both in Florida and the rest of the United States — Gore would have been president. But as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Rehnquist ruled, there is no guaranteed federal right to vote for president in America. Democracy, it appears, is just one state of mind among others, and one wave of the judicial magic wand is all it takes to undo the spell of democracy and make it disappear.
Convincing America to accept Bush’s version of the election on faith, rather than empirically examining the ballots, was one of the great conjuring tricks of our age. For the Bush campaign, success would be self-legitimizing; quickly shaping new realities would render old realities irrelevant. The Bush administration, however, has been far more successful is shaping the public’s perception of reality than in shaping reality itself.
One could say that the Bush administration succeeds precisely because it is so adept at denying reality. For Dick Cheney, deficits don’t matter; for Donald Rumsfeld, the insurgency in Iraq was confined to just a few dead- enders; for Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq’s oil revenue would finance Iraq’s own liberation; and for Bush, the continued violence in Iraq has been cited as proof we are succeeding. We are, to use the president’s words, victims of our “catastrophic success.” Well, if that isn’t the mother of all understatements, oxymorons, and mixed-messages, all at the same time.
Notions of “catastrophic success” and the idea that “deficits don’t matter,” only produce cognitive dissonance for those unfortunate enough to have contact with the real world. But Bush lives in a virtual bubble, where hi s virtuous intentions are assumed sufficient to guarantee a good outcome. […]
The need to temper faith with reason is well illustrated by a story told by the 19th century mathematician and philosopher William Clifford. Clifford asks us to imagine a ship owner who knows his ship could do with a costly inspection and repairs, but sincerely believes that Providence will see the ship and its passengers through on a difficult voyage. Clifford argues that the ship owner’s faith was not acquired “by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts.” When the ship sinks, its owner’s guilt is not absolved by the sincerity of his faith; indeed, he is culpable precisely for substituting belief in place of practical measures.
I believe Clifford’s story speaks to the predicament that Bush’s leadership style presents. Bush’s personal faith may be quite admirable, but his certainty — on Iraq’s WMD, for instance — has proven demonstrably false. Faith is one thing. But stifling doubt because one doesn’t like reality is another. And I, for one, believe that George W. Bush no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt.
The view of the Bush Reich is, as it happens, diametrically opposed to the view we promote at SOTT.net. This view has been stated quite economically by the Cassiopaeans:
Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the “past.” People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the “Future.”
Human beings are both fascinated and repelled by what is called “evil.” The fascination stems from the fact that “good” people find it difficult to comprehend how evil can exist in a world that is allegedly overseen by a benevolent and loving creator. Rahter than struggle to identify it, quantify it and understand it, they simply deny it.
Complicity does not mean that you have to support evil, it simply means that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
We here at Signs of the Times are not in the business of telling anyone what to do. We are only here as a lighthouse, a constant sweeping illumination that goes around and around and says, basically, the same thing over and over again. Our readership is growing by leaps and bounds, and we know that there are new readers every day who have not read every daily report for the past couple of years. We also know that there are regular readers who, after reading the page, go back to sleep and think “it can’t be THAT bad.” And so, again and again we shine the light, ring the alarm bell, and try to think of different ways to get through to others the extreme peril in which we stand.
This brings us back to the issue of how does Knowledge Protect?
In the past dozen years, we have made some considerable progress on our mandate of discovering what really makes reality tick and how does humanity fit into it. Much of this work is pure science – physics and mathematics – but I’m not going to give you the formulas or the computer simulation codes, I’m going to explain it to you in simple terms.
Our universe seems to be made up of matter/energy and of consciousness.
Matter/energy by itself “prefers”, as it seems, a chaotic state.
Matter/energy by itself doesn’t even have a concept of “creation” or “organization”. It is the consciousness that brings to life these concepts and by its interaction with matter pushes the universe towards chaos and decay or towards order and creation.
This phenomenon can modeled mathematically and simulated on a computer using EEQT (Event Enhanced Quantum Theory). Whether EEQT faithfully models the interaction of consciousness with matter, we do not know; but chances are that it does because it seems to describe correctly physical phenomena better than just the orthodox quantum mechanics or its rival theories (Bohmian mechanics, GRW etc.)
What we learn from EEQT can be described in simple terms as follows:
Let us call our material universe “the system”. The system is characterized by a certain “state”. It is useful to represent the state of the system as a point on a disc. The central point of the disk, its origin, is the state of chaos. We could also describe it as “Infinite Potential.” The points on the boundary represents “pure states” of being, that is states with “pure, non-fuzzy, knowledge”. In between there are mixed states. The closer the state is to the boundary, the more pure, more ‘organized’ it is.
Now, an external “observer”, a “consciousness unit”, has some idea – maybe accurate, maybe false or anywhere in between – about the “real state” of the system, and observes the system with this “belief” about the state. Observation, if prolonged, causes the state of the system to “jump”. In this sense, you DO “create your own reality”, but the devil, as always, is in the details.
The details are that the resulting state of the system under observation can be more pure, or more chaotic depending on the “direction” of the jump. The direction of the jump depends on how objective – how close to the reality of the actual state – the observation is.
According to EEQT if the expectations of the observer are close to the actual state of the system, the system jumps, more often than not, into more organized, less chaotic state.
If, on the other hand, the expectation of the observer is close to the negation of the actual state (that is when the observer’s beliefs are closer to being false than to being true according to the ACTUAL state – the objective reality), then the state of the system, typically, will jump into a state that is more chaotic, less organized. Moreover, it will take, as a rule, much longer time to accomplish such a jump.
In other words, if the observer’s knowledge of the actual state is close to the truth, the Truth being defined as how the Universe views the matter, then the very act of observation and verification causes a jump quickly, and the resulting state is more organized. If the observer’s knowledge of the actual state is false, then it takes usually a long time to cause a change in the state of the system, and the resulting state is more chaotic.
What this means is that order can be brought out of chaos by observing chaos as it IS and not pretending that it is otherwise. Also, you have a robust feedback mechanism so that you can train yourself to recognize Truth.
Everyone who “believes” in an attempt to “create reality” that is different from what IS, increases the chaos and entropy. If your beliefs are orthogonal to the truth, no matter how strongly you believe them, you are essentially coming into conflict with how the Universe views itself and I can assure you, you ain’t gonna win that contest. You are inviting destruction upon yourself and all who engage in this “staring down the universe” exercise with you.
On the other hand, if you are able to view the Universe as it views itself, objectively, without blinking, and with acceptance, you then become more “aligned” with the Creative energy of the universe and your very consciousness becomes a transducer of order. Your energy of observation, given unconditionally, can bring order to chaos, can create out of infinite potential.
In the Adventure Series, I concentrated to a great extent on the problem of psychopathy in our world today. I was motivated to do this by the fact that we had been victimized by a psychopath whose behavior was utterly incomprehensible. As a consequence of this research, I was much better prepared to understand George Bush and his Reich and that served to “inoculate” me against the fear tactics that are utilized by the psychopath to paralyze their victims. I realize that Americans who are “stupid” are that way by design. In a sense, it is not their fault. They are no more capable of thinking on their own than the mouse is capable of escaping the claws of the cat determined to eat it.
But not everyone is a mouse. It is for those who are evolving that we continue to keep the lighthouse going. But be aware, the day may come – and sooner than you might expect – when the storm is so violent that the keepers of the flame will abandon the task, knowing that no light can be seen in such Stygian darkness.
In the Adventure Series, I wrote the following:
Could it ever be an evolutionarily stable strategy for people to be innately unselfish?
On the whole, a capacity to cheat, to compete and to lie has proven to be a stupendously successful adaptation. Thus the idea that selection pressure could ever cause saintliness to spread in a society looks implausible in practice. It doesn’t seem feasible to outcompete genes which promote competitiveness. “Nice guys” get eaten or outbred. Happy people who are unaware get eaten or outbred. Happiness and niceness today is vanishingly rare, and the misery and suffering of those who are able to truly feel, who are empathic toward other human beings, who have a conscience, is all too common.
Nevertheless, a predisposition to, conscience, ethics, can prevail if and when it is also able to implement the deepest level of altruism: making the object of its empathy the higher ideal of enhancing free will in the abstract sense, for the sake of others, including our descendants.
In short, our “self-interest” ought to be vested in collectively ensuring that all others are happy and well-disposed too; and in ensuring that children we bring into the world have the option of being constitutionally happy and benevolent toward one another.
In short, if psychopathy threatens the well-being of the group future, then it can be only be dealt with by refusing to allow the self to be dominated by it on an individual, personal basis.
Preserving free will for the self in the practical sense, ultimately preserves free will for others.
Protection of our own rights AS the rights of others, underwrites the free will position and potential for happiness of all.
If mutant psychopaths pose a potential danger then true empathy, true ethics, true conscience, dictates using prophylactic therapy against psychopaths.
It seems certain from the evidence that a positive transformation of human nature isn’t going to come about through a great spiritual awakening, socio-economic reforms, or a spontaneous desire among the peoples of the world to be nice to each other. But it’s quite possible that, in the long run, the psychopathic program of suffering will lose out because misery is not a stable strategy.
In a state of increasing misery, victims will seek to escape it; and this seeking will ultimately lead them to inquire into the true state of their misery, and that may lead to a society of intelligent people who will have the collective capacity to do so.
And so it is that identifying the psychopath, ceasing our interaction with them, cutting them off from our society, making ourselves unavailable to them as “food” or objects to be conned and used, is the single most effective strategy that we can play. […]
To allow oneself to be conned, or used by a psychopath is to effectively become part of his “hierarchy” of feeding. To believe the lies of the psychopath is to submit to his “bidding” (he bids you to believe a lie, and you acquiesce), and thus, to relinquish your free will.
In strictly material terms, this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, right? After all, somebody lies to us and who really cares? Is it going to hurt us to just let them lie? Is it going to hurt us to just go along with them for the sake of peace, even if we know or suspect they are lying? After all, checking the facts and facing the psychopath with truth, and telling them “no” is generally very unpleasant. Remember, the game is set up so that we pay a lot for being ethical in dealing with the psychopath. In material terms, it really doesn’t seem to be worth it because we suffer all kinds of attack – verbal, psychological, and even physical abuse – so it’s just easier to let sleeping dogs lie, right? […]
At best, we can only really penetrate to the level of the psychological reality, observed behavior that is discordant, or self-destructive. And we are thoroughly programmed to help by giving until it hurts, or trying to fix, or to make nice. All of these things, all of these accommodations of psychopathy, on just a practical level, can be seen to “select for psychopathy” in terms of the gene pool.
But on another level, considering the great amount of evidence we have that there is something very mysterious going on that has to do with “controlling the minds of humanity,” and covering up something that may affect every single human being on this planet, we find that the issue is crucial. Refusing to accommodate the manipulations and maneuvers of the psychopath may, indeed, be critical to the positive transformation of our planet. […]
And we see that the ultimate aim of the psychopath, as living representatives of the Universal forces of Entropy, of Non-Being, is to MASTER creative energy. To assimilate it to the self, to deprive others of it by inducing them to believe lies.
Because, when you believe the lie of the psychopath, you have given him control of your Free Will – the essence of Creativity. […]
As I quoted above: Thus, the first Divine Command is BE! And that includes Being and Non-being instantaneously. Therefore, the second law is “follow Being or Non-being according to your choice and your inherent nature.”
All creation is a result of the engendering command. So, in this respect, there is no Evil. But the second, prescriptive law determines to which “Face of God” one will return: Life or Death.
There ARE such things as “evil planets,” and dark stars. And the real question at this time is: Is Mother Earth about to become one?
Originally Published 2010_08_21