Between the last time I posted in this blog and now, so many things have happened that I am at a lost in regards to where I should start bridging the gap.
I am unsure if anybody even follows this thing; as in the chaos of social dynamics scads of the internet become ghost towns all the time.
These writings have maintained their survival through the descent of Myspace (remember myspace?)
Well, if there isn’t any audience left here, that’s fine; I’ll just fine some new audience. I have so much to share in terms of exploring the deep end of the mind, so I’ll see you all soon.
For those of you who know me in real life, you would know that my name is Noah.
For those of you who don’t know me, you might be asking yourself, “Oh damn, he isn’t going to be doing the bible thumping thing is he?”
No, its worse than that! This is like take out your tinfoil hat and join Heaven’s Gate style LOONY crap.
But first, here is a beautiful picture of a double rainbow taken by my friend Johnathan Zap at the 2009 Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico.
Whenever I tell people about “Rainbow Gatherings” most of them ask, “Wait, that’s that gay thing, isn’t it.”
No, its not “that gay thing.”
Try as I might, I can talk till I’m blue (or maybe indigo or violet) in the face and still completely fail to properly convey what a rainbow gathering is all about.
At welcomehome.org it is described as the largest non-organization of non-members in the world.
Where does one even begin to clear a statement like that up?
I wonder if some of the confusion may arise from the fact that when I think of rainbows, it calls up a completely different universe of images, sensations, and words in my mind than it does for other people.
To test this, I conducted an informal poll, asking people to list the first ten things that they associate with rainbows. Don’t worry, the fun’s not over. You can view the results. If you have a myspace account, you can even participate! All ya need to do is move your cursor here and give your mouse a good click!
This is but my first blog in a series that attempts to answer a perplexing question posed by a great thinker/cultural icon of our times; Kermit the Frog.
And that question would be this; “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what’s on the other side?”
I’m going to leave you hanging until the next installment to explain the awkward and suspiciously biblical title “Noah’s ARC.H.I.V.E.” I may possibly even reveal when its time to take out the tinfoil hats, so please give me a holler to let me know that you’re reading.
We can explore Kermit’s important question together, and hopefully go to some exciting and far flung reaches of the Noosphere!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Before I get on to rambling a little bit about the mind, I’d like to talk about a rather queer idiom from the French language.
“Le petite mort. ”
It translates as, “the little death,” and refers to the act of having an orgasm.
I should hope that most of you experience that delightful quivering sensation. Frequently even. If I were to tell you to “go fuck yourself,” you can be sure that it would not be a jeer, but rather a friendly gesture reminding you of the joys of being human.
I hope you are so far not offended, and if you are, I simply and kindly suggest that you go fuck yourself. Seriously.
So anyway, what does this have to do with the mind?
In English, there is another curious expression that philosophers and mystics alike tend to throw around. When a new truth gets past your defenses and causes you to see the world in a new light, it is described as having your mind “blown.”
This isn’t something I often ask people about, but I imagine that most have a strong memory of their first orgasm. I sure do. I also happen to have a strong memory of an early encounter with having my mind blown.
I was watching Star Trek with my mom, and saw the courageous Captain Kirk save himself from the clutches of an evil robot by telling it “This statement is a lie.”
I thought about it for a whole week. I could hardly concentrate in school, my young mind oscillating back and forth between the poles of the true/false dichotomy.
“Its a lie. But if it is a lie, then he’s telling the truth so it can’t be a lie. But if its not a lie and he’s telling the truth, then he can’t be telling the truth and it must be a lie. But… ”
How embarrassing to admit, that William Shatner was the first man to officially blow my young mind.
In later attempts to deliberately take my mind to new depths, I’ve experimented with various forms of spiritual practice. At one point, that included a foray into Zen. I hoped that with enough diligence, I could find the freedom that comes from killing my ego.
As an older and wiser fellow, I’m not suggesting that one busy oneself with the futile process of trying to kill the ego.
“Hey ma, look, I killed my ego, isn’t that cool?” and just as soon as its gone, it comes back bigger than before.
Douglass Hofstadter in his book “I am a strange loop” points out that in some languages, terms of veneration seem to suggest that enlightenment isn’t selfless, but rather involves having a big “self.” For clarity’s sake, one must note that Hofstadter has a somewhat unique conception in which “I” “self” and “soul” are synonymous.
He points out that Mahatma, the title affixed to the peace loving freedom fighter Mohandas Ghandi, translates as “great soul.” Also the word magnanimous, broken down into its etymological roots, comes from magnum (great) and animus (soul.)
What I am suggesting here is that instead of making the “self” go away, you actually try to encourage it to grow. However, in order for it to grow, you may need to let your ego’s guard down to be open and vulnerable.
When your mind gets intimately blown, your ego can experience the joys of “le petit mort.”
I was fascinated by a passage in Emotional Contagion, where Daniel Goleman shares an example taken from a crossfire between the Americans and the Vietcong during the Vietnam war.
A group of monks were traveling in the area, and they ventured through the crossfire. The atmosphere of serenity they brought with them was enough to stop the firing. Amazingly, the guns stayed silent long after the monks left the area.
There are some other not-so-pleasant instances of emotional contagion if you simply consider the orgy of anger and rage from your typical mob riot.
Despite a large body of data that seem to indicate some validity to claims of psi phenomenon (what Ken Wilber refers to as tele-prehension) many mainstream scientific materialists chuckle and scoff at the suggestion, ignoring empirical data gathered through the scientific method as being “pseudoscience.”
The mainstream scientific community does, however, seem to lend credence to the idea of mirror neurons. These are cells in the brain that are specialized to mutually resonate with the emotional sensations of others humans.
Transmission of non-dual awareness is commonly reported within various Eastern schools of meditation. Many people who knew and respected Ramana Maharshi claim to have reached previously unattained depths within their various spiritual practices by just being close to the remarkable sage.
From the “Zeitgeist Addendum,” to the Neo-Mayan Mythology ala “2012 the return of Quetzalcoatl” to the scientistic “the Singularity is Near” there seems to be a resounding buzz that we are standing at the doorway of a truly strange brave new world.
Many people have their strong ideas, but of course if we were able to guess it from the pieces of it that already exist here today, then it would be reducible to those pieces and therefore not a true emergence.
A Holon, a term coined by Arthur Koestler, is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. To avoid embarrassing myself and butchering the explanation, the following two paragraphs are taken directly from the Wikipedia article on holons
“A holon is a system (or phenomenon) that is a whole in itself as well as a part of a larger system. It can be conceived as systems nested within each other. Every system can be considered a holon, from a subatomic particle to the universe as a whole. On a non-physical level, words, ideas, sounds, emotions—everything that can be identified—is simultaneously part of something, and can be viewed as having parts of its own, similar to sign in regard of semiotics.
Since a holon is embedded in larger wholes, it is influenced by and influences these larger wholes. And since a holon also contains subsystems, or parts, it is similarly influenced by and influences these parts. Information flows bidirectionally between smaller and larger systems as well as rhizomatic contagion. When this bidirectionality of information flow and understanding of role is compromised, for whatever reason, the system begins to break down: wholes no longer recognize their dependence on their subsidiary parts, and parts no longer recognize the organizing authority of the wholes. Cancer may be understood as such a breakdown in the biological realm.”
So now I’m going to use an acronym to tie some things together into a bundle.
The H.I.V.E. is short for Holonic, Integral Vector of Emergence.
I use the term vector in an epidemiological sense. The idea is that since we are a part of a whole, we disseminate our states of experience, almost like a virus, throughout that whole.
The more we integrate different disciplines, facts, traditions, sentient beings into a universal dialectic, the more vibrancy and vitality we lend to this future that we are all working towards co-creating.
“So what do we do now?” you ask?
Well, even if you didn’t, I’ll tell you!
In the words of the poet Justin Blackburn, whatever you are meant to be doing, you were always doing it!
The only action that I am requesting of you is that you consider these ideas, and take just even a quick moment to see if anything looks different in your world when you put on the filter of H.I.V.E. style perceptual goggles.
Comments are encouraged.
Third eye, or third “I?” Please stand by as I butcher spirituality and neuroscience by shamelessly mixing them together.
The chakras (from the Sanskrit word for wheel) first showed up as our bodys’ spiritual energy hubs somewhere around the 6th century in the yoga Upanishads.
Since then, they’ve been shared and reinterpreted by a variety of different traditions, from Yogis to Buddhists to New Agers to Rock music groups.
Lots of different important and meaningful things can be said about any of those locations where the different flowery things sit. For instance, I am sure we’d get a different description of the red four petaled flower (the root chakra) from Ron Jeremy than we would from the current Catholic Pope.
For more about the origins of the chakras and their traditional interpretations, I have found this web site to be pretty helpful and informative.
A thing to note about the people who came up with the chakras is that they existed long before the modern system of science that is taught in the universities of today. We’ve got a whole new box of tools for empirically examining the body. The ancient wisdom traditions have left us a deep and powerful exploration of inward realms. Modern science has done one of the better jobs of anal retentively measuring and taking photographs and dissecting all of the things that are painfully obvious in the external world.
With that being said, there is one chakra in particular that I would like to say some hopefully meaningful things about.
With that I bring you the 6th chakra.
A.K.A. Ajna, the third eye. It is located slightly below the center of your forehead, dead center between your eyes.
Your brain can be divided into two hemispheres, split pretty much straight down the middle. In the center, there is one particularly notable feature about which much has been written. The corpus callosum.
Sorry Discordians, Falun Gong, New Agers, Hippin’ trippies, psychedelic psychenauts and whoever else is disappointed by the fact that I didn’t pick the pineal gland. There are many reasons why people find spiritual significance in the brain structure that may contain the psychedelic drug DMT and that helps us regulate our wake/sleep cycles.
That small, but quite notable gland I am saving for later as the Crown Chakra.
To get into more of the specific nuances of the left and right hemisphere, the introduction in this article by the pulitzer prize winning, split brain researching, science practicing guy Roger Sperry may prove helpful.
To give you a painfully general overview, I’d like to show you a neat and wacky picture.
Two different people’s finger prints start to look like they were made from the same cookie cutter in comparison to the varieties of neural wirings. I want to stay away from saying which part of the brain does what, because I think that would be better accomplished if you were to look up the most current neuroscience research. If that kind of thing gets you off.
Some very basic generalizations can be made though. For one, the left hemisphere tends to process things in sequential/analytical manner and the right in a spatial/synthetic way.
The important thing to understand is that inside each of our skulls, its almost as if there are two different people living there, with a completely different attitude and a completely different way of figuring things out. Since they are living in the same skull, they answer to the same name, and they share absolutely everything they own. How sweet!
The thing that connects the two hemispheres so that they can talk to each other and share their findings about playing with the strange puzzle called “existence” is the corpus callosum.
So if you have a left “I” and a right “I,” the sharing between the two through the corpus callosum gives rise to the third “I.”
Meditate on that! Or meditate on this!
Before wrestling with the concept of an “infinite self,” it seems most appropriate first to say a few things about “infinity,” then to say a few things about “self,” and finally to put them together.
There is a famous story about a scientist giving a lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said:
“What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?”
“You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles turtles turtles, all the way down!”
For the purpose of our infinity, we can imagine the turtles going all the way up too. Why not? But we don’t need to imagine any gigantic space turtles for the sake of infinity when almost everyone as a little kid has learned to take delight in the crazy stuff that happens with two mirrors.
When I was a kid, my parents often took part in our little community theater. I remember hanging around the green room, that had mirrors on all the walls. I was amazed by the vast corridor of little Noahs stretching off into the distance on either side of the narrow room.
At the time it seemed plausible to me that somehow I could switch off and actually experience being one of my many mirror selves.
Of course in this picture there are only so many thumbs before they curve away into the mystical depths of the mirror world, but I’m sure your imagination can extend the concept indefinitely.
Not all mirrors give you an accurate reflection.
Some are distorted, so you can hardly even recognize yourself.
With that, I will segue into talking about the self.
Not all of the self is something we like owning up to. One of the most notable things about the human mind seems to be its ability to lie to itself.
There are straight people who just aren’t interested in hooking up with the same sex, but what of outspoken anti-gay crusaders?
Phenomena like GOP party member Larry Craig, a defender of anti-gay legislation getting busted for indecent conduct last month springs instantly to mind.
In research conducted by the American Psychological Association in 1995, penis engorgement was measured while homophobic men were exposed to gay porn and the data was compared to a non-homophobic control group.
The results were a perfect illustration of the mechanism by which people attribute the things they disown about themselves onto the world around them.
And what of the scientist in the 1950’s who exposed the secret sexual messages in the icecubes of this liquor add?
I guess I can kind of see it, if I squint just right, but I really wonder just how hard that man was searching for sex in the ice cubes.
Carl Jung called the disowned portion of the self, “the Shadow.”
People can commonly take the place of a mirror by responding to and returning our facial expressions, adopting our pet sayings, or merely by just naturally possessing qualities that we also possess, even if only acknowledged on a subconscious level.
When interacting with people, the more you are able to discern what is a reflection from what is truly external, the closer you are to being in touch with your true self.
The closer you are to scrubbing the grime off of your mirrors by allowing yourself to re-own the disenfranchised aspects of your personality; that is when you start to touch infinity.