Monday, March 31, 2008

Aforementioned Philosophy Post

Let's first say that I will be making absolute coleslaw of these ideas and I highly recommend checking out some of this work for yourself.

I've been reading The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts. I had a little trouble getting into it as I couldn't grock with his 'voice' initially. I felt like he was repeating the same thing over and over or then saying some huge concept and then skipping over its meaning. But, I soon found some things of interest. His basic idea is that our concepts of 'individual' and 'alone' are a myth perpetuated by language among other things. He works from a Hindu philosophy called Vedanta, which roughly says there is nothing outside of "god". I enjoyed the story he told his kids about us all being 'god' so involved in playing pretend, we've forgotten we are god.
God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear.

Also his discussion of the crest and valleys of existence. dark and light, life and death, are like waves, "rates of vibration", "poles or aspects of the same thing". Nothing to be afraid of. Cause and Effect also figure into this concept. He says both the "cause" and the "effect" arise simultaneously, out of necessity. One does not create the other. (Chicken or Egg? both) Everything exists in relation to everything around it. You can only see a thing in relation to what it is up against. positive and negative space. It is all the same field.

He sites a quantum theory textbook:
...the world cannot be analyzed correctly into distinct parts; instead, it must be regarded as an indivisible unit in which separate parts appear as valid approximations only in the classical [i.e., Newtonian] limit... Thus, at the quantum level of accuracy, an object does not have any "intrinsic" properties (for instance, wave or particle) belonging to itself alone; instead it shares all its properties mutually and indivisibly with the systems with which it interacts. Moreover, because a given object, such as an electron, interacts at different potentialities, it undergoes... continual transformation between the various forms... in which it can manifest itself.

And from the biophysicist Erwin Schrodinger:
Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable as she, indeed a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering. And not merely 'some day': now, today, every day she is bringing you forth , not once but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.

His basic idea is that we need to realize on something more than a logical level, that we are all connected. Almost the need for a physical understanding of the energy we are all comprised of.

What floored me, upon watching this Jill Taylor talk, was how all the ideas that Alan Watts was trying to articulate back in the sixties, can be fairly neatly plopped into the function of the right hemisphere of the brain. Science caught up.
{this talk is 18 minutes long. I highly encourage taking the time to watch}

So these are the things I've been pondering. The closest I got to any real understanding was during a fairly brutal session of kinetics a couple months ago. And was I lay there, suffering, I was struck by the lack of time and space and distance. I was every person who's ever lived. An abstracted, condensed version of the total human experience. I laughed.


anthony said...

If you like that stuff, check out:

The Marriage of Sense and Soul


A Brief History of Everything

both by Ken Wilber

Zea said...

Thanks, Tony.

I think I cracked "a brief history" a few years ago and didn't get too far.

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