Thursday, December 31, 2015

Becoming







.



Nowhere is it the same place as yesterday.
None of us is the same person as yesterday.
We finally die from the exhaustion of becoming.
This downward cellular jubilance is shared
by the wind, bugs, birds, bears and rivers,
and perhaps the black holes in galactic space
where our souls will all be gathered in an invisible
thimble of antimatter. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Yes, trees wear out as the wattles under my chin
grow, the wrinkled hands that tried to strangle
a wife beater in New York City in 1957.
We whirl with the earth, catching our breath
as someone else, our soft brains ill-trained
except to watch ourselves disappear into the distance.
Still, we love to make music of this puzzle.


–Jim Harrison
Saving Daylight



.











Wednesday, December 30, 2015

meeting





.


... we die to each other daily. 
What we know of other people is only our memory 
of the moments during which we knew them. 
And they have changed since then. 
To pretend that they and we are the same is a 
useful and convenient social convention 
which must sometimes be broken. 
We must also remember that at every meeting 
we are meeting a stranger.

–T. S. Eliot
(The Cocktail Party, excerpt)

.
 





Monday, December 28, 2015

she






.



I think the dead are tender. Shall we kiss? --
My lady laughs, delighting in what is.
If she but sighs, a bird puts out its tongue.
She makes space lonely with a lovely song.
She lilts a low soft language, and I hear
Down long sea-chambers of the inner ear.

We sing together; we sing mouth to mouth.
The garden is a river flowing south.
She cries out loud the soul's own secret joy;
She dances, and the ground bears her away.
She knows the speech of light, and makes it plain
A lively thing can come to life again.

I feel her presence in the common day,
In that slow dark that widens every eye.
She moves as water moves, and comes to me,
Stayed by what was, and pulled by what would be.


–Theodore Roethke




.








Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kierkegaard Proposes, excerpt






.



The older Kierkegaard has entered his front door and is creakily attempting to lock himself in when it comes over him all at once, one last great wave of gloomy illumination: what if God’s greatest blessing is to render a person’s existence so intolerable, so completely unendurable that the next time he [or she] happens to grope for the familiar fear of dying, he [or she] discovers it is gone, is nowhere to be found, has in fact been replaced by a simple weightless sense of well-being and peace he (or she) had long forgotten he (or she) was capable of feeling.

–Franz Wright



.







Thursday, December 24, 2015

Beannacht





.
John O'Donohue
David Whyte
.





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

regeneration






.


Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.

–Pat Barker
Regeneration



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

homecoming





.


Imagine the time the particle you are
returns where it came from!

The family darling comes home. Wine
without being contained in cups,
is handed around.

A red glint appears in a granite outcrop,
and suddenly the whole cliff turns to ruby.


–Rumi


.




Monday, December 21, 2015

maybe




.


They say every atom in our bodies was once a part of a star.

Maybe I’m not leaving, maybe I’m going home.

—Vincent Freeman
Gattaca


.




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Real Home, excerpt






.
 


As soon as we are born, we are dead.
Our birth and death are just one thing. 


It is like a tree: when there is a root there must be twigs. When there are twigs, there must be a root. You cannot have one without the other. 

It is a little funny to see how at a death people are so grief-stricken and distracted, tearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. It is delusion; nobody has ever looked at this clearly. 

I think if you really want to cry, then it would be better to do so when someone’s born. For actually birth is death, death is birth, the root is the twig, and the twig is the root. If you’ve got to cry, cry at the root, cry at the birth.

Look closely: if there were no birth there would be no death.
Can you understand this?


–Ajahn Chah




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Saturday, December 19, 2015

galaxies colliding





.


 
At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: "The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang."

In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.


Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra's breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.

When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don't you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don't you dare.


–Caitlin Moran
hidden shores



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How a Hawk Clarifies Love and Loss, Beauty and Terror, Control and Surrender






.



After her father’s sudden and soul-splitting death, Macdonald, a seasoned falconer, decides to wade through the devastation by learning to train a goshawk — the fiercest of raptors, “things of death and difficulty: spooky, pale-eyed psychopaths,” capable of inflicting absolute gore with absolute grace. Over the course of that trying experience — which she chronicles by weaving together personal memory, natural history (the memory of our planet), and literary history (the memory of our culture) — she learns about love and loss, beauty and terror, control and surrender, and the myriad other dualities reconciling which is the game of life.
Macdonald writes:
Here’s a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It’s from the Old English bereafian, meaning ‘to deprive of, take away, seize, rob.’ Robbed. Seized. It happens to everyone. But you feel it alone. Shocking loss isn’t to be shared, no matter how hard you try.
Out of that aloneness a singular and paradoxical madness is born:
I knew I wasn’t mad mad because I’d seen people in the grip of psychosis before, and that was madness as obvious as the taste of blood in the mouth. The kind of madness I had was different. It was quiet, and very, very dangerous. It was a madness designed to keep me sane. My mind struggled to build across the gap, make a new and inhabitable world… Time didn’t run forwards any more. It was a solid thing you could press yourself against and feel it push back; a thick fluid, half-air, half-glass, that flowed both ways and sent ripples of recollection forwards and new events backwards so that new things I encountered, then, seemed souvenirs from the distant past.
Rippling through Macdonald’s fluid, mesmerizingly immersive prose are piercing, short, perfectly placed deliverances, in both senses of the word: there is the dark (“What happens to the mind after bereavement makes no sense until later.”), the luminous (“I’d halfway forgotten how kind and warm the world could be.”), the immediate (“Time passed. The wavelength of the light around me shortened. The day built itself.”), the timeless (“Those old ghostly intuitions that have tied sinew and soul together for millennia.”), and the irrepressibly sublime (“Looking for goshawks is like looking for grace: it comes, but not often, and you don’t get to say when or how.”).

Choosing a goshawk, a creature notoriously difficult to tame, became Macdonald’s way of learning to let grace come unbidden, a letting that demanded a letting go — of compulsive problem-solving, of the various control strategies by which we try to bend life to our will, of the countless self-contortion and self-flagellation techniques driving the machinery of our striving. Recounts the frustration of failing to get her goshawk, Mabel, to obey her commands — frustration familiar to anyone who has ever anguished by any form of unrequited intentionality — Macdonald writes:
I flew her later in the day. I flew her earlier. I fed her rabbit with fur and rabbit without. I fed her chicks that I’d gutted and skinned and rinsed in water. I reduced her weight. I raised it. I reduced it again. I wore different clothes. I tried everything to fix the problem, certain that the problem couldn’t be fixed because the problem was me. Sometimes she flew straight to my fist, sometimes straight over it, and there was no way of knowing which it would be. Every flight was a monstrous game of chance, a coin-toss, and what was at stake felt something very like my soul. I began to think that what made the hawk flinch from me was the same thing that had driven away the man I’d fallen for after my father’s death. Think that there was something deeply wrong about me, something vile that only he and the hawk could see.
Macdonald peers directly into the black hole of fury, a familiar rage directed as much at the rebuffer as at the rebuffed self:
The anger was vast and it came out of nowhere. It was the rage of something not fitting; the frustration of trying to put something in a box that is slightly too small. You try moving the shape around in the hope that some angle will make it fit in the box. Slowly comes an apprehension that this might not, after all, be possible. And finally you know it won’t fit, know there is no way it can fit, but this doesn’t stop you using brute force to try to crush it in, punishing the bloody thing for not fitting properly. That was what it was like: but I was the box, I was the thing that didn’t fit, and I was the person smashing it, over and over again, with bruised and bleeding hands.
And yet somehow, Macdonald unboxes herself as she trains Mabel into control and Mabel trains her into the grace of surrender, of resting into life exactly as it is rather than striving for some continually unsatisfying and anguishing version of how it ought to be. She captures this beautifully in the closing vignette — an earthquake, quite an uncommon occurrence in England, rattles her house and sends her panic-stricken into Mabel’s quarters, terrified at the thought that earthquakes alarm wildlife and often cause animals to flee. Macdonald writes:
I race downstairs, three steps at a time, burst through the door and turn on the light in her room. She is asleep. She wakes, pulls her head from her mantle-feathers and looks at me with clear eyes. She’s surprised to see me. She yawns, showing her pink mouth like a cat’s and its arrowhead tongue with its black tip. Her creamy underparts are draped right down over her feet, so only one lemony toe and one carbon-black talon are exposed. Her other foot is drawn high up at her chest. She felt the tremors. And then she went back to sleep, entirely unmoved by the moving earth. The quake brought no panic, no fear, no sense of wrongness to her at all. She’s at home in the world. She’s here. She ducks her head upside down, pleased to see me, shakes her feathers into a fluffy mop of contentment, and then, as I sit with her, she slowly closes her eyes, tucks her head back into her feathers, and sleeps. She is not a duke, a cardinal, a hieroglyph or a mythological beast, but right now Mabel is more than a hawk. She feels like a protecting spirit. My little household god. Some things happen only once, twice in a lifetime. The world is full of signs and wonders that come, and go, and if you are lucky you might be alive to see them. I had thought the world was ending, but my hawk had saved me again, and all the terror was gone.




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full post at the excellent
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Saturday, December 12, 2015

truly

 
 
 
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Don’t move. Just die over and over. Don’t anticipate. Nothing can save you now because you have only this moment. With no future, be true to yourself and express yourself fully. Don’t move.

–Shunryu Suzuki







Friday, December 11, 2015

above everything





.



I wished for death often
but now that I am at its door
I have changed my mind about the world.


It should go on; it is beautiful,
even as a dream, filled with water and seed,
plants and animals, others like myself,
ships and buildings and messages
filling the air -- a beauty,
if ever I have seen one.


In the next world, should I remember
this one, I will praise it
above everything.
 


–David Ignato 



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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

begin





.
 


Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.


Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.


Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.


Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.



–Brendan Kennelly



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Saturday, November 28, 2015

the sky





.



I like it with nothing. Is it
what I was? What I will be?
I look out there by the hour,
so clear, so sure. I could
smile, or frown—still nothing.

Be my father, be my mother,
great sleep of blue; reach
far within me; open doors,
find whatever is hiding; invite it
for many clear days in the sun.

When I turn away I know
you are there. We won’t forget
each other: every look is a promise.
Others can’t tell what you say
when it’s the blue voice, when
you come to the window and look for me.

Your word arches over
the roof all day. I know it
within my bowed head where
the other sky listens.
You will bring me
everything when the time comes.


—William Stafford




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Friday, November 27, 2015

i want




.




 

non-being can never be; being can never not be


 



 .



Never was there a time when i did not exist, or you, or these kings;
nor will there come a time when we cease to be.
Just as, in this body, the Self passes through childhood, youth, and
old age, so after death it passes to another body.
Physical sensations — cold and heat, pleasure and pain — are transient: they come and go; so bear them patiently, Arjuna.
Only the man who is unmoved by any sensations, the wise man
indifferent to pleasure, to pain, is fit for becoming deathless.
Non-being can never be; being can never not be.
Both these statements are obvious to those who have seen the truth. 


–Bhagavad Gita


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Thursday, November 26, 2015

forget it





.



forget it

now, listen, when I die I don't want any crying, just get the
disposal under way, I've had a full some life, and
if anybody has had an edge, I've
had it, I've lived 7 or 8 lives in one, enough for
anybody.
we are all, finally, the same, so no speeches, please,
unless you want to say he played the horses and was very

good at that. you're next and I already know something you don't,
maybe.



confession


waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the
bed

I am so very sorry for
my wife

she will see this
stiff
white
body
shake it once, then
maybe
again
"Hank!"
Hank won't
answer.

it's not my death that
worries me, it's my wife
left with this
pile of
nothing.

I want to
let her know
though
that all the nights
sleeping
beside her
even the useless
arguments
were things
ever splendid

and the hard
words
I ever feared to
say
can now be
said:

I love
you.


–Charles Bukowski



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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

the death delusion, excerpted






.




“Afraid of dying? Don’t be. It’s never going to happen to you, and I can prove it.”

It’s said that Albert Einstein once commented that the most fundamental question we can ever ask ourselves is whether or not the universe we live in is friendly or hostile. He hypothesized that your answer to that question would determine your destiny.

Surely death is the greatest threat that we all face. For many people it gives the universe a decidedly hostile bent. They believe that the race of life can never be won; that we are born to lose.

I do not agree. In fact, I believe that the race was never started to begin with and that death itself is an illusion.

The aim of my writing is the excavation and study of the truth. The truth as a pure product, consistent for all time. Through reasoned logic I intend to demonstrate that your own consciousness is not as finite in scope and lifespan as you may think.

To put it simply: I do not believe in death.

I do not think that we are immortal, far from it. My belief is that we are exempt from the unpleasant matter of death altogether. I believe that our general definition of sentience needs to evolve with our understanding of the nature of the universe and of human consciousness.

It has been my experience that once the spectre of death is stripped of its shadowy mask it becomes much easier to contend with as a concept. I believe that nothing truly known can be truly feared. If this article gives you solace and enables you to live your life with a little less fear then in many ways I have achieved my goal.


It’s All in Your Mind

“If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
Morpheus –The Matrix

Though science-fiction, the film The Matrix touches on a very important scientific problem: that there is currently no way for us to know for certain if what we experience is real or a sensory fantasy fed directly into to our brains. All of the input information that we receive arrives from our eyes, ears and other senses.

Prominent scientists and philosophers have calculated that there is at least a twenty-percent likelihood that we are all, in fact, living in a simulation.

Scientists are currently fitting deaf children with Cochlear brain implants that allow them to hear despite having no physical ear-drums at all. There are currently a number of similar devices under development that can be implanted into the visual cortex of the brain and will allow blind people to “see” a digital video image fed directly via electrical impulses to the synapses of the brain.

Reality is all in our own minds. We do not actually experience the real world, only the images, sounds and sensations fed to us by our senses and interpreted by our brains.

It’s true that this fantasy is directly influenced by the physical universe but research has shown that we all perceive the outside world in very different ways.

Since all experience occurs within your mind, your memories of your life right up to this very moment are as real and valid as the dream you had last night.

So, is “reality” a dream? I believe that it’s more like a memory of what our senses perceived a millisecond ago. A story told to us by our mind to represent our experience of the physical universe.

From an objective viewpoint your “mind” wouldn’t exist at all. An objective observer would only see the movement of atoms and electrons within your brain. Subjective experience is exactly that: subjective.


The Veil of Perception

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Albert Einstein

Understanding the nature of death naturally requires an understanding of one’s own existence. “Cogito Ergo Sum” (“I think, therefore I am”); the profound philosophical observation made by Rene Descartes in 1637. There is very little that we can prove absolutely, but at the very least we know that we do exist.

All experiences and meanings are created within our minds. The objective universe does not “see” any “meaning”, it simply is.

The confusion occurs for many people when they try to merge the concept of their own subjective intelligence with the objective reality of the universe.

It’s true that at some point we will appear to “die”, but there is no reason to assume that our experience will be anything like how we imagine death to be.

Our brains are “experience machines”. All we can be is what we experience and anything outside of that is a subjective impossibility. Death is a physical process, and so impossible for us to directly participate in.
  

Death is Impossible

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

–Mark Twain



The spectre of death is an illusion, and one that you will never have to meet because it is impossible for you to do so. It’s not something that should concern you since you won’t be taking any part in it.

When we “die” our brain stops working and our consciousness ceases to function.

We cannot experience an absence of experience; therefore, technically, we cannot participate in this idea of “death”.

Death may be a frightening concept, but, just like an imaginary bogeyman in your closet, you won’t be present when it comes knocking.

You felt no pain, happiness, love or fear before you were born, and you won’t feel anything when your time is done. If it saddens you to think that at some point in the future you will no longer physically exist then why does it not sadden you to think of the trillions of years before you were born in which you were also absent.

“Death” describes an infinite “nothingness”. We cannot experience “nothing”. If you are experiencing nothing, then you are not experiencing anything at all.

You cannot truly fear something which cannot exist for you. You can fear the concept of death, but it is nothing more than a shared myth, an illusion.


The Ghost in the Machine
“We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.”
–Dr Wayne Dyer

Many terms have been used to define our “spirit”, “soul”, “mind” or “qualia”. When the supernatural elements are removed, I believe that these terms fundamentally refer to the same concept. Since our conciousness exists in the dimension of pure thought it could be said that we are living in a “spiritual plane” every day of our lives.

A subjective experience may be created by the functioning of a complex system, but the subjective qualia cannot be experienced by an outside observer, only by the mind within the system itself. It’s for this reason that consciousness exists in a different dimension to the physical universe.

The 19th century psychologist Hermann von Helmholtz proposed an experiment to demonstrate the nature of qualia: His instructions were to stand in front of a familiar landscape, turn around, bend down and put your head between your legs. He suggested that it would then be difficult in the upside-down view to recognize what you found familiar before.

What you were seeing was not the landscape, but your mental representation of it.


God Consciousness

If you accept that your thoughts occur as an organised system, supported by a physical substrate then you must also accept that random thoughts are occurring throughout the universe whenever a sufficiently complex and ordered system is formed. Through pure chance, emergence, evolution or conscious design complex electro-chemical reactions could be formed to create a precise analogue of the processes taking place within a human brain.

Therefore the universe could be filled with a diffuse, disorganized intelligence. A “God Consciousness” if you like.

The only difference with the human mind is that our brains create linear cohesion through time and a home for these thoughts to interact and evolve.

It is a common assertion that we are sentient individuals because of the ordered complexity of our minds. Yet, it would be absurd to suggest that we would become more real or more sentient if our brains were increased in size or complexity. You are real now, and you would be real if someone removed half your brain. You might lose some of your capabilities, but you would still be a real, sentient individual. There are tumour patients who have had over half of their brains removed. It would be absurd to consider them to be half as real or half an individual. The same is true if the order of your brain was to be eroded completely. You might become significantly less intelligent but you would still exist as microscopic flashes of intelligence appearing throughout the universe.

Except by then you would have lost the division between yourself and other minds because your thoughts would have spread out and merged with the general intelligence “fog”.

When your physical body dies your consciousness does not disappear, it merely becomes disorganized and less constrained by the linear concepts of time and space. Some people consider this to be rejoining the “God Consciousness”.


Hold That Thought

“Music is what feelings sound like.”

Anonymous

A thought cannot fully exist within any one moment in time. If that were true then you could cryogenically freeze someone’s brain, halting the electrons and chemicals in that moment, and the person would be stuck forever thinking the same thought.

A thought does not exist at a fixed point in time; rather it exists in the transition between points.

It’s similar to music. A piece of music is not the notes on the page; rather it is the journey from one note to another that creates the song.

So are our thoughts created in the journey between moments in time.
 
Pause or End Game?

“You are the music while the music lasts.”

–T.S. Eliot

If our consciousness is a chain of connected thoughts, like a string of musical notes, then the concept of death describes a chain of thought that is no longer continuing.

No pain can be felt, no disappointment, nothing.

“Nothing” is nothing, so it cannot exist, and so therefore neither can “death”.

Something can only be said to have ended when it will never continue.

In regards to our consciousness, death is more like a long pause than the end of the song.


Thank You, Come Again

In an infinite universe anything is possible and everything is inevitable. There is every chance that your chain of thought may be continued again somewhere, sometime, in the infinite possibilities of time and space.

It’s true that the atoms will have changed, but take a look at your own body. In the last few years almost every atom has changed within it too. Who you were then no longer exists. They could be seen as “dead”. You are a copy of that body, gradually constructed bit by bit around the old one using the proteins and enzymes that you have consumed (you are what you eat.) Therefore, if by random chance your final thought pattern was reconstructed a trillion years from now in another place, who is to say that this would not be you? Amazingly, you would not feel that any time had passed at all.


Zero-Point
“Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist.”
Epicurus

No person should fear death. Fearing death is a logical fallacy.

It’s like a mathematician fearing that one day the number zero will consume all the other numbers. This is impossible since the other numbers would always remain present; a particular formula might equal zero, but the numbers that created it would still be present, ready to repeat the formula once again.

Besides, zero isn’t even a real number.
 
Pi in the Sky

“I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity.”

Simone de Beauvoir

To illustrate my point I ask you to look briefly at the number Pi. Pi is an infinite stream of chaotically generated numbers. It has been suggested that within these numbers would be the atomic positions of every atom in your body since the day you were born. Every thought you’ve ever had is contained, somewhere, within Pi. Indeed, so is every other possible experience you might have had.

You might say “So what? It’s just numbers, it’s just math. It’s not real experience.” Yet, your brain right now is just atomic particles moving from one position to another.

Therefore, if the universe is infinite, we are destined to live out every possible experience through the infinite possibilities of time and space. We can never die.

The atoms that form us may change, so may their position, size, and time that they exist in, but these things have changed constantly throughout your life, yet you have remained alive and maintained the same identity.


The Mind as a Meme

One question that arises when we consider the constant changes that occur within the physical structure of the brain is how our minds and identities can remain so consistent and intact, despite the constant shifting of their physical foundations. My answer is that the mind is a highly complex and multi-layered meme.

A meme is the conceptual equivalent of a gene. It is a concept that can be shared between conscious minds without losing its fundamental integrity; like complex religious beliefs, or the simple custom of shaking hands.

Memes tend to compete with each other for survival and are subject to the same laws of evolution as other forms of life. Memes have been shown to develop self-defensive adaptations with varying levels of internal intelligence. In fact, I assert that since memes are complex intelligent systems they are as valid a form of life as our own protein-based genes or the humans which they construct.

In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins describes how memetic concepts often survive the passage of time and the transition from person to person without losing their integrity. They achieve this by utilizing a kind of conceptual compression; a step by step map of their structure that eliminates less important details in favor of the core subject.

The example that Dawkins gives is that when a carpenter teaches the technique for building a chair to an apprentice he describes a single step as “nail this leg here”, not “swing the hammer at thirty degrees and hammer five times.” This is because, ultimately, those smaller details are not important in achieving the goal of nailing the leg onto the chair; a goal which can be achieved despite various small changes and still produce a faithful recreation of a chair.

Our minds are the same in that they are memes kept alive by neurons that transfer their memetic information from generation to generation without losing fidelity. Even though the cellular and atomic structures of our brains is constantly changing, our meme-mind stays intact. Small details may change as the physical vehicles die and are replaced but the core integrity survives.

Your mind is a substrate-independent system. It is a consistent meme on an ever-changing ocean of cells and neurons.

A simple example would be if you recorded a time-lapse video of a tattoo on a person’s arm; it would seem to hover unchanged under the skin as the skin cells surrounding it died, shed and were replaced throughout the years. Similarly, an image moving across a TV screen is consistent in and of itself, but is illuminated by different pixels as it glides across the screen.

Your mind was never intrinsically linked to a particular set of atoms or a particular location in space. Because it is a meme it can be recreated at a later date, out of different materials and in a different location.


Time Enough

The universe is not linear – nor does it move at the speed of our subjective experience. This is all our own dream and unique to us.

Just watch a fly buzzing around some time. Do you think it is experiencing the world at the same speed as you?

Physics teaches us that the universe as we see it does not exist exclusively within this moment, or any moment at all; rather, it exists in all possible moments of time.

You really do have all the time in the world, because there’s no end to speak of, only the natural progression of your own story, which is all in your mind.

How can you rush a thought? A dream? You can only work against it or in harmony with it.

Work in harmony with your dream, your spirit, and you will enjoy happiness in your life.

Since the world that we see and feel is all created within our own minds, then so too is our experience of it. As Buddhists have taught for thousands of years: “You create your happiness; it comes from within.”


The Answer?

Most importantly, discard your fears about death or time passing you by. There is no end to be feared.

Anything that does not ultimately increase your happiness is unnecessary. I believe that if we all act from what makes us truly happy then there should be no deliberate suffering in the world. No truly happy person would ever needlessly harm another. People only increase suffering when they are insecure, fearful or lacking contentment in their lives. Therefore, any thought that does not serve to ultimately increase your happiness is irrelevant. This is why I believe it is so important to strip death of its fearful mask so that it no longer stands as a forboding figure at the end of our lives.

Enjoy this dream of “life”, and never worry about time passing and the end approaching, for that too is an illusion.

The universe is not dark or cold, it is simply free of emotion and subjective experience. It is made up of energy that occasionally condenses into matter and matter that occasionally evolves into sentient beings; all of which eventually returns again to rejoin the great river of energy. This energy is the source from which we have all emanated. In fact, we have never been apart from this source.

We like to draw divisions and imagine that we are somehow separate from each other and the rest of the universe, but the truth is that we are all fundamentally intertwined.

We are truly “at one” with the universe.


FIN

Following is the poem that I wish to be spoken at my funeral (modified from the original by Mary Elizabeth Frye).


“Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow;

I am the diamond glints on snow;

I am sunlight on ripened grain;

I am the gentle autumn rain;

When you awake to greet the dawn

I am the day as it is born;

I am birds in circling flight;

I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die.”


–Bard Canning



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