Tying Some Crazy Thoughts Together

Lately I’ve been posting what to some must seem like some really strange subject matters.  To provide a little evidence for what I’ve been talking about, I would like you all to listen to a talk given by a Harvard neuroanatomist, giving a detailed description of what happened to her when she had a giant stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain.

First off, she describes that our brain has two separate hemispheres, a left and a right side, each which perform different functions.  I’m going to try to put it all in language which will help you understand the concepts I’ve been talking about in my latest posts.

She describes that her left hemisphere is responsible for analytical thinking, for language processing, and dividing up the world into separate pieces.  It’s also responsible for our sense of “I”.  It gives you the feeling that you are your body, that you are separate from your environment, and that one thing is different from another thing.  It perceives individual objects.  It gives rise to our sense of time.  Since it divides reality up into objects, it also processes how those objects change from one state to another, and builds up a timeline of our lives.  It is also responsible for reflecting on the past and making predictions and plans for the future.

The right side of your brain perceives reality all at once.  All of your sensory data feed into it and it explodes into a giant collage of color, movement, sound, taste, and everything else.  It lives completely in the present moment.  It has no sense of time; also, with no sense of time it has no need to produce negative emotion due to things like worry.  What’s there to worry about in an eternal present?  It just perceives reality from a particular vantage point in space (your location in the universe) and enjoys what it sees.

Now it’s fascinating to listen to Dr. Taylor describe what happened as she underwent a giant stroke in her left-hemisphere.  She lost all sense of ego.  She was no longer “Dr. Jill Taylor”.  She was everything she perceived.  She was the walls, she was the couch, she was the kitchen table, the phone, everything.  There was no clear delineation where “she” started and where she ended.  Her arms, legs, and body were just atoms in the room, just like everything else.  She just perceived the room and everything in it, all as one thing, and it was beautiful.  She was at total peace, just enjoying it all, without a care in the world.

However, then her left hemisphere would kick back in for a second and would tell her, “You’re in trouble.  You need to call for help.”  But then the stroke would return and she’d go back to this peaceful all at one feeling of just being present in the room.

So let me describe all of this in the context of everything I’ve been talking about in my latest blog posts.  Your conscious essence, for whatever reason, seems to be attached to activity in your brain, so long as the brain keeps up certain patterns of electrical activity.  If those patterns are disrupted, either by hallucinogenic drugs, or by stroke, or by some sort of physical damage, or whatever, consciousness seems to be able to leave and pop out of the body  (if we are to believe millions of people’s accounts from near death experiences).

The right side of your brain is closer to the true “you”.  We are the universe observing itself from a particular vantage point.  We’re all one in a hard to describe way.  That vantage point is created by the brain firing patterns found within the right hemisphere.

And to remind you, the other half, our left hemisphere, is looking at the sensory data coming in, processing it into separate things, including our own sense of self, time, past, and future, and also creating emotions of worry; this is due to self-preservation instincts which are hard-wired to obsess over keeping this fictitious ‘self’ hallucination alive.

So what happens when both the left and the right hemispheres die?  Going off of studying all these NDE accounts, you will go back to being pure consciousness, experiencing all space and time, and all possibilities from any vantage point based on your intention.  Your consciousness is no longer locked to the activity in the brain.  And apparently, in that state, you reconnect with God, which is the source, the fount, the essence bringing it all into being.  It is some sort of power, intelligence, and everything that is, was, or ever will be, all put together.  You become that, it becomes you, time stops, and all possibilities lay there with you.  You know everything, you are everything, and you just exist in some “perfect” state (their words).

Like take this NDE account.  This woman was in the hospital room, in quite a lot of pain, and the right side of her brain started to fail.  Her consciousness is losing its connection with our Earthly plane.  The Great One (God, whatever you want to call It), then communicates with her.  It basically asks her if it’s fine to disconnect her conscious essence from her brain.  Having a conscious connection to our physical brains in this Earthly plane seems to have been our choice.  She tells God she wants to separate and God cuts the “cord” so to speak, and she awakens back to her truest form, existing side by side with God, in this perfect state, along with all other “minds” that are there as well; the timeless, perfect plane of all possibilities which I just described.

Now this woman’s account is fascinating.  It held a seminal key for me in understanding aspects of what consciousness may be.  So ok, she’s all possibilities in this timeless state.  Then, while connected with God, the source, she explicitly thinks the thought, “Ok, so what’s next?”  Then it responds to her wish.  This is when some sort of decision process of what will be next starts to unfold.  The pure perfect timelessness ENDS, and she starts experiencing waves of possibility.  As each wave oscillates into existence, she experiences it and becomes aware of it.  In her exact words, she “became” the current wave that oscillated into existence around her.  Then she didn’t seem to want to become that one, so another wave comes, and another wave, and another wave.

If this can be believed, it immediately makes me think of quantum mechanics.  In that, we calculate these wave-functions which describe probabilities for all these possibilities that can happen, but we have no way of knowing which possibility will be “chosen” by reality.  This woman is describing the process at its highest levels.  Apparently it’s linked to conscious intention of what you want to experience next, just as I have always expected. Though I imagine if you get intertwined in a reality where multiple observers are involved it gets a little more complicated, which may be why our direct intentions and desires don’t immediately manifest on command.

But for example, when people first die, and aren’t really aware of what’s going on yet, their intentions are manifesting instantaneously.  They think, “I want to be in this room”, or “I want to be near this loved one”, or “I want to hear this conversation”, and it immediately manifests and they’re aware of what they wanted to know or experience.  But then shortly thereafter the Great One seems to come to pick them up and bring them back to the source, the “root”.  It also seems to describe why people can have hell-like NDEs.  If they die in a chaotic, angry, crazy state of mind, they may end up conjuring up some really nasty things from the void.  But even people who died in warzones, suicides, and drug overdoses, even in those crazy states of mind, most of them end up with God at the source experiencing total peace and perfection.  So I really don’t know.

It’s almost like we’re a sort of “room” that contains all possibilities, and all the possibilities are encoded in waves.  It certainly lines up with all the physics I know.  Quantum mechanics is all waves.  All the physics I’ve ever studied can all be broken down into waves.  I was just really fascinating that she described it as waves, which is exactly how string theory, quantum field theory, and all physics describes “the void”.  It’s exactly that.

But I don’t know.  I’m just speculating here.  I might as well continue.  Maybe someone will find my speculations interesting?

Take Terrence Mckenna’s experience.  He filled his brain with hallucinogenic drugs (basically, neurotransmitters which alter firing rates of neurons), and then listened to the constant hum of an electrical heater.  What happened?  That frequency seemed to be sync’d with some other nearby reality, and off he went into the Lizard Land.  So what may be happening there?

I’m still trying to figure that out.  My PhD research is on sending waves through biological materials, such as the skull.  If only I could finish that up, build a helmet I could put on, then alter the signals in my brain activity and see if I could tune into different realms like that.  (I know, it sounds insane, but I’m actually wanting to do it.)  I’d have far more precision than what Mckenna was crudely doing. I’m guessing that I could and it makes me wonder how many realms might be out there!  But as Dr. Taylor points out in her TED talk, the right hemisphere’s brain activity is producing this vantage point in space and time.  So altering that with extra neural transmitters, changing firing rates, and then sending waves into the brain at a certain frequency, you’re changing the observer vantage point to another location.  I’m guessing it’s like tuning a radio to a particular station.  Mckenna somehow ended up in the Reptilian dimension.

But anyways, as for the other stuff I’ve been writing lately, particularly about silencing the inner chatter in my skull, that’s mainly about paying less attention the fictitious “ego” self created by my left hemisphere.  The excessive worrying about the future, the critical voice evaluating the “quality” of everything I observe, the voice in my head always expressing negativity, and all that, it’s just isn’t serving me well lately.  There’s nothing wrong with the left-hemisphere or its workings.  It’s just I’ve put too much trash in my mind and it’s spitting trash back out at me.  It needs cleaned up.  It’s all a work in progress, like anything else I guess.  As Dr. Taylor specifically says, you don’t need to live in the left brain; you can step out of it.  That’s what guys like Alan Watts, Sadhguru, and other eastern lecturers have been teaching me.

A thought I’ve had a lot lately is, “Everything is fine.”  It’s just that the more I look into all of this, whether it be from the perspective of physics, or from neuroscience, or even studying accounts of dying people, it seems to point toward the sorts of conclusions I’ve been drawing in this post.  I see infinite possibilities, that the self I know as “Jason” is a temporary illusion, and it’s all just a particular possibility I’ve taken on.  I see that time is an illusion made by me navigating this giant superposition of possibilities, and so on.  Everything is fine.  The “real” me is totally fine and always will be.  The same with all of you.

Or maybe I’m just totally losing it?  But, I have to confess, I was lead here by the evidence as best I understand it all, and believe me, I don’t understand much of any of this stuff.  Maybe I’m missing critical things and I’m way off the mark.  Probably so, what do I know?  But hey, this is fun stuff.  It’s a whole lot of fun.  I’ll keep studying cosmology, quantum field theory, and neuroscience.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be successful and create that brain helmet and actually test this idea.  Then I’d really know.  Maybe that’s what I should do?  Make that my life mission.  What else do I have to do?  -shrugs-

Sounds interesting.  Maybe I’ll do that.

Some people say that this sort of thinking makes you devalue your life here on Earth because you’re focusing on the perfect realm in the afterlife.  I don’t come to that conclusion at all.  If that were the case, then why’d I ever come here to begin with?  There must’ve been some reason.  If anything, this line of thinking makes me much more adventurous and open to new experiences.  I have far less fear.  I’ve found it enriching and reality has an even deeper sense of awe and wonder.  I feel more like a circus acrobat.  Thinking this way I envision a safety net down below, so that even if I “miss” the super-triple back flip I’m about to attempt, it’ll be alright.  Worst that happens is I end up back at the source.  But there’s no need to rush there.  Let’s see if I can accomplish the trick.  Also, since I’m less worried about death, I feel I’m far more likely to rush into a burning building to save someone, or take a bullet to save someone nearby, or even fight to the death to protect someone if terrorists were attacking a crowd.  There’s a peace inside that says, “It’s going to be ok.”

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology, Space-Time-Mind | Leave a comment

The Great One At The End Of The Tunnel

A while back I was reading a book called DMT: The Spirit Molecule.  It’s about a set of experiments a physician did on a number of patients in a Nevada hospital.  Basically scientists refined pure DMT down into a liquid and would inject it into these people’s arms.  This would then send the people’s consciousness into what they perceived to be alternate dimensions.  If you don’t know already, DMT is a naturally occurring neuro-transmitter found within our brain and even within plants.  For example, it’s the active hallucinogen in magic mushrooms or ayahuasca.

At low doses the people would just hallucinate.  They would see these colorful visual patterns and would experience things happening in the room that weren’t there.  It’s pretty much what you’d expect.  But at high doses it was far more bizarre.  As far as I could tell, whatever the normal connection is between consciousness and the brain seems to be altered drastically, and the person is blasted off into some alternative dimension.  That’s why it’s called ‘the spirit molecule’.

People become this disembodied observer in strange realms that are far more real than this one.  There they encounter strange beings who rush over to them, surprised and sometimes alarmed that they’ve shown up.  In most realms these beings greet them and start telepathically beaming unconditional love into them.  Then they surround the person and show them bizarre things.  A crowd surrounds the person and they all clamor for attention. “Look at this!  Look at this!”  They then proceed to create strange, indescribable objects in front of them and say, “You can do it too!  Don’t give yourself to amazement.  Do it!  DO IT!”  Then all of the sudden voices of power will arise within the person and they can speak realities and bizarre objects into existence.

What’s really weird about all of this is that sometimes these people end up in completely coherent places.  It’s not like a really random, highly fluctuating, disjointed experience, which is what I would expect from how neuroscience describes the brain and consciousness.  Sometimes these people would end up in some alternative realm and it’d be clear as day.  Like take this case.  Terrence Mckenna ends up in some alien realm filled with highly intelligent reptilian beings.  They’re surprised that he’s there, but once he arrives they see him as this wayward traveler and begin telling him (mind to mind) all about their civilization, their art, their morals, and everything else.

That happened to him one day when his head was filled with hallucinogens and he goes to turn on this old heater.  The electronics in it start to make this humming noise and that frequency seemed to enter his brain.  Before he knew it he was shot off to the reptile world.

There is no explanation for that.  That goes against everything you’ll read in a neuroscience textbook about how our brain creates consciousness.  How would flooding your brain with neurotransmitter, changing all kinds of random firings all over the brain give rise to a highly coherent reality?  From what I’ve studied, neuroscientists say conscious experience begins by sense data impinging on the brain, which then stimulates certain patterns of brain activity which are interpreted into our sense of space, time, the objects we see, etc.  So now when we activate them all in a random and chaotic fashion and listen to some frequency of sound we get a totally coherent reality?  What?  You should perceive chaos, a random barrage of memory, color, movement, etc.  But that’s not what happens.  It seems like the neurotransmitters allowed his neurons to fire at a different rate, and then when combined with that tone from the heater, the brain started firing and operating at that frequency, and off he went to the reptile world.

Studying all of this is really fascinating, what can we make of it?  It is just totally bizarre.  I left it thinking, “Well, I don’t understand any of this.  There’s a lot I have to learn about reality.”  I don’t know to what extent to consider their experiences “real”, or even what “real” means anymore.

But anyways, I read through that book and toward the end the author said that many of these crazy DMT trips resemble experiences people have when they die in the operating room and come back to life.  Upon death people have these transcendental experiences that are apparently called “near death experiences”.  I knew nothing about them, so I proceeded to study them in depth.

Apparently near death experiences are very common.  Nearly one in every twenty people have them.  We’re talking about millions and millions of people in the United States alone.  I was overwhelmed that I hadn’t heard about something so common.  It’s like I talked about in a post I wrote the other day — why is this information being withheld from me?  The DMT experiences, the near death experiences, all of it.  Why was this not in the textbooks?  Millions of people have them yet there was not even a mention?

A common instance is someone dying on the operating table and then the doctor fights and fights, and then slowly brings them back to life.  Another instance would be someone in a car accident and they die on the way to the hospital, are dead for a while, but the doctors manage to bring them back.  You get the idea.

What do those people experience?  From what I can tell, their brain activity starts to lose its ability to keep firing in certain patterns, and then it seems unable to hold a person’s conscious essence any longer.  At that point the person hears this winding up frequency, higher and higher, and then ‘pop’.  They just pop out of their body and they become this entity capable of observing space and time but are no longer able to interact with it in the same way.  They remain ‘themselves’, but are not really the same sort of being anymore.  For example, they don’t have a gender, or consider themselves a human anymore. They’re more like a sort of disembodied awareness.  They oftentimes float around for a bit, look over their dead body, watch the doctors try to resuscitate them, float over to the waiting room and observe their mourning family, and then take off through the ceiling and observe space.

In that state they’re able to perceive what everyone is thinking and feeling.  Their mind is connected to everyone else’s mind.  If they intend (want) to know something going on, they just know it.  If they want to be somewhere, or be near someone, that intention teleports them there and their loved one will be right in front of them.  They can perceive the worry within the doctors, the sadness within the family members, and the thoughts of the kids roaming the hallways.  However, they feel no attachment to anything in this world.  They just observe it.  It’s there, but it’s not a big deal to them.

It’s not long before a speck of light appears to them, which grows bigger and bigger, which then opens up into a tunnel of light.  This light is incredibly beautiful and emanates love and joy.   The person doesn’t have to enter it, but most are drawn to the love and beauty it emanates and they proceed into the tunnel.  As they do, the feelings of love and joy intensify until eventually they pop out the other end, which is some sort of beautiful gorgeous realm.  It’s hard to say it’s even a realm.  It’s more like a state of being.  Time stops, they’re connected to everyone and everything, they connect to some source of tremendous knowledge and power, and they become that.  They also oftentimes encounter their relatives in the tunnel, or after they arrive in this place.  Once they arrive there they then realize, “Oh, I’ve been here before.  Oh, that’s right, I’m a citizen of this place.  I’ve always lived here.  I’ve always belonged here.”

All who experience this realm, or even come in contact with this tunnel are profoundly changed.  They come back to this life and the way we live is abhorrent to them.  Take the guy in the video above.  He no longer could stand television.  The violence really upset him.  He couldn’t even stand make-up commercials.  The idea that someone isn’t good enough to be loved was totally antithetical to this realm and everything it was about, and after experiencing even a glimmer of that place, adhering to that unconditional love was all that mattered.  His kids would want to watch television and he’d have to escape to his room and avoid all contact.

But anyways, more about what’s beyond the tunnel.  Upon reaching the realm inside the tunnel, people are often summoned to meet with the “Great One”, who turns out to be a familiar person they’ve always known for all eternity.  I called it the Great One.  Its the source, or maybe you could say ruler of this beautiful realm.  Christians would call this being Jesus or God.  However, some people don’t perceive this being as a man.  Some perceive It as a woman.  Others don’t even perceive this as a ‘place’, but just as a realm bursting with intense light and energy.  In all cases the being they perceive is radiating magnificent light which makes the person feel overwhelmingly loved, appreciated, and happy.

At this point the person has to review the life they lived here on Earth.  Christians would call this ‘the judgement’, though that’s misleading.  From every account I’ve read, there was no ‘judgement’, however the experience they’re about to endure is quite trying.  The Great One begins to project the person’s life on various displays, from birth to death.  As this presentation goes on, at each moment the person’s consciousness is placed back in that moment, however they now experience things as the Great One saw it.  The person being “judged” has to experience the consequences of their actions on every other conscious being, including themselves.

For example, if they made a crude joke, or said harsh words, or cheated, or did anything ‘bad’ to someone, they have to experience life from whoever it was they directly harmed.  The person being judged “becomes” the person they harmed and they experience the pain directly.  For example, remember that time you punt kicked your dog when you came in drunk?  Well you’re going to become that dog, watch yourself come in the door, see and feel everything the dog felt, and feel the pain and fear of being punt kicked.  Then you’re going to lie in pain as your drunk self yells at you (now the dog).  Then this little exercise is going to end, you’ll snap out of this ‘virtual reality’ like experience, then the Great One looks at you in the eyes and says, “What do you think of what you did?”  You’re going to experience this for every thought, action, and deed of your life.  The Great One will continue to ask you, “What do you think of this?  What do you think of that?”

Don’t think that this experience is entirely negative.  It’s not.  If you lived a good life, you’ll experience all those little moments of joy and happiness you brought into others lives as well.  Every kind word, every kind deed done, you’ll directly experience what you did for them from their perspective.  It goes both ways.

However, most people are ashamed of their lives and actions, and find themselves on the ground sobbing, begging for it to stop, begging for forgiveness and exclaiming, “I didn’t know!  I didn’t know!  How could I have done that?  I just didn’t know!”  Others do know it was wrong and just hang their head in shame.  The Great One always forgives them and there is no punishment dealt out beyond this.  Many were then told, “You are forgiven.  That experience was for your learning.”

Sometimes people then ask this Great One, “What was my purpose on Earth?”  NDE accounts vary as to the answer, but there are common themes.  The most common message is that they were to love one another, unconditionally, just as the Great One loves unconditionally.  They were supposed to help one another though life’s trials and obstacles, forgive those who did them wrong, and follow their conscience.  Apparently their conscience was their link to the Great One, who was always there but was never forceful.  Some people take time to listen to it, others ignore it.  It’s your choice whether to pay attention to it, but this conscience was there as a warning system, “Don’t do this.  You’re causing harm.”  Next they’re told they were to love the animals, especially considering they depend on humans to exist.  Finally they’re told they were to make some contribution toward making the world a better place to live, and preserve the planet for future generations.  From what I could tell, this being cared very little about “accomplishments”, and more about things that make the world more welcoming, loving, and accepting.

Here is an account of a typical NDE.

Others sometimes want to know what their life could have been.  At that point the Great One shows them many different alternative timelines, then people oftentimes look at the decisions they made with disgrace.  They think, “My life could’ve been so much better.  There could’ve been so much more love and meaning.”  They snap their fingers and think, dang, why didn’t I think to do that?  It was so simple!  If I’d just done this simple thing, my life would’ve been drastically different.

As I read about this Great Being, I came to a very different opinion of It.  Growing up I was told this being was very judgmental and wanted to throw you into hell for even the slightest sin, and if you didn’t beg for its forgiveness and have all your sins forgiven prior to your death, it was just ready to toss you into eternal torment.  Apparently, if we take millions of people’s accounts into consideration, this Great One is nothing like that.

The more NDE accounts I’ve read, the more I like this ruler of the light realm.  It seems totally fair, transparent, loving, and isn’t out to get you, but just wants to teach you so that when you exercise your freedom around other conscious beings in particular types of realities which have pain, you can avoid causing yourself and others pain.

I like the this light being a great deal.  The more I read about It, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of respect.  I immediately thought, “I hope this being exists.”  I do experience that sense of “conscience” and wonder where it comes from.  Sometimes I’ll be doing something or saying something and it’s like something taps me on the shoulder and says, “Not a good idea.”  Is that my connection to that realm?  -shrugs-

After reading thousands of these accounts, I sat at my bedside and pledged allegiance to this realm and its ruler.  I have no qualms with any of Its mandates or judgments.  Just like the guy in the video above, so much of what we do on this world disgusts me.  If there’s a realm out there where deep, beautiful, unconditional love is overarching principle, I want to be a part of that.  I’d even like to bring more of that into this world.  And even if it doesn’t exist (how could I know?), it seems like a beautiful thing to live by.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is how things actually are, but I can see half of you reading this thinking, “Jason, you’re believing this because you want it to be true!”  Yeah, I do.  It’d be awesome if it is.  But I’ve already been applying that principle to my life, and I’ve seen nothing but good results.

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology, Space-Time-Mind | Leave a comment

Nobody Is Smarter Than You Are

I wanted to share a video I found online which I absolutely love. It’s by a guy named Terrence Mckenna, who was this sort of wacky hippy figure famous for exploring psychedelics and giving talks all around the world. In the clip he says, “Nobody is smarter than you are. And if so, what good is their understanding doing you?”

It’s a very deep insight into the dilemma of life.  I’m now a middle-aged man, and throughout my 35 years on this planet, I’ve had so many people tell me how I should live my life.  Anytime I’ve listened to any of them I’ve been miserable and unhappy.  The only person who can possibly know what you should be doing with yourself is you.  It comes down to your own direct experience.  You have to experience things on your own and make your own evaluations of everything.

People will tell you that this is where life is, or that’s where life is.  They’ll tell you that you’ll find meaning in this religion, or doing this form of work, or thinking this certain type of way, or romance, or whatever it may be.  You have to go out and experience all these things on your own and make your own judgement.  Nobody can do it for you.  What’s meaningful to one person isn’t meaningful in any way to somebody else.

Sometimes you’ll go to do something and there’s this magic there.  A common instance of this might be meeting someone really special, and it just feels right.  While you’re taking part in that moment, you just feel happy, it’s meaningful, and something deep down within you is telling you that ‘this’, whatever ‘this’ may be, is why you exist.  It feels like something is happening.  You’re alive.  You’re operating at some sort of higher output and efficiency.  Life has a lot more color, and there’s emotion and life.  It might not always stay at that ‘high’ plane, but there’s almost always some color and meaning there.

At other times, you’re off in some weird rut, and everything turns black and white, meaningless, a long boring tedium that just drags on, day after day.  If you get derailed off the path in life you “should” be on, and you linger in some place you shouldn’t be, life will just be sucked out of you until you can’t even remember what it’s like to feel alive.  If you don’t learn to clear your mind, I’ve often found that “bad” thinking will pull you off into these ruts.  I think there are a lot of “good” paths you can follow in life, yet there is also far more “wrong” path-ruts you can get stuck in, which you must always be on your toes to avoid and stay out of.

Terrence Mckenna often says, “Culture is not your friend.”

Maybe some of you out there actually feel alive taking part in everyday culture, but something deep down at the core of my being rejects it all.  The worst part of my life experience is that our institutions and economy seem structured in such a way that they end up controlling me and dragging me off into some meaningless grind; if I give into it, they mercilessly wear me down and leave me in some apathetic, lifeless state.  I try to escape it, but it’s always at my heels.  On my blog over the years, I’ve often referred to it as the rat wheel.  It’s this wheel where you get on it, run and run and run, and you get nowhere.  You just end up exhausted.  You may even be “successful”, and be accomplishing things in others eyes, but deep inside, everything is meaningless to you.

When you find something that has that life and color in it, you’ll often have to fight to keep it a part of your life.  When life’s tribulations arise, don’t give up those beautiful things easily.  Fight to keep them in your life.  And don’t submit to the rat wheel, even if it seems to be promising an easier life.  You may be tired of trying to stay on your toes, keeping those meaningful things a part of your life, but I’ve experienced the alternative and that ‘dead’ feeling inside, where everyday just blends into the next, and you feel nothing, that to me is far worse than any other struggle life throws at you.  Without any meaning, it all just feels like a big waste of time.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

The Dangers Of Making Certain Facts Taboo

Anyone paying attention to politics has surely realized that political correctness makes having certain important discussions very difficult.  There are topics that are just off limits.  The ideas are taboo.  But what happens when curious people are exposed to true facts, primarily through the internet, which have never been voiced in their university classrooms or ever mentioned in credible media sources?

They get outraged.  They immediately think, “Why have I not been told about this?  Why are ‘they’ trying to hide this information from me?”  It also embeds a seed of suspicion in their heart, making them distrust whoever it was that they feel withheld that information from them, whether it be the mainstream media, the universities, the government, the left, the right, whoever it may be.

It also creates a bigger problem.  Since the best and brightest people are not allowed to discuss these topics in public forums, we have no intelligent people around to dispel the bad arguments and erroneous conclusions.  We have bad viruses spreading all over the place, but there is no proper immunization.  With PC culture around, many professors are afraid to share their true opinions in fear of losing their job.  Those least informed go around screaming at the top of their lungs, spreading the disease, and the antidote is locked away.

In the video below, Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard, makes a very compelling argument as to why PC topics are especially important to discuss.

Posted in Politics, Psychology | Leave a comment

Meeting Your Enemies

One of the biggest tragedies of life is that most of our ideas about the world come from things we read and hear, instead of what we ourselves directly experience.   When this is combined with modern social media, we can get stuck in a filter bubble, where our digital systems look at our past search history and likes, and slowly separate us from information which disagrees with our viewpoints.  Quite easily we can end up in cultural and ideological bubble realities.

A great example of this is in the video below.  We find a young woman who used to be a feminist.  She decided she’d create a documentary exposing the nasty woman-hating which takes places within men’s rights groups across the nation.  To her surprise, she finds out that these men have no hatred of women and actually support women’s rights; they only feel that many men are suffering as well and more should be done for them.  They also brought up a lot of struggles men go through, issues which she wasn’t even aware of.  As she records hundreds of hours of video footage from something like fifty men-rights leaders, she finds her bubble collapsing.  The information she’d been getting from her far-left extreme feminist websites and blogs, particularly information pertaining to men, was way off the mark.

What I really want to point out to you all is Cassie’s resistance and inner dialog in the face of the information these men were giving her.  Notice that her mind was twisting everything they were saying.  She had been a die-hard feminist for ten years, and these men were challenging her most deeply held and cherished beliefs.  I mean, think about it for a second.  This is a woman who felt so passionately about this topic that she felt it her life purpose to spend years of her life producing a documentary exposing this issue.  Her ideological lens couldn’t handle or accept the information she was hearing.  After all, these men were the “enemy”.  She wasn’t respectfully listening to them, she was lying in anticipation, waiting to expose them and their women-hating.  It wasn’t until she was spending countless hours editing her documentary, watching their footage over and over, carefully transcribing and analyzing their words, and then carefully fact-checking what they were saying that she realized her own bias and prejudice.  It took years for her to escape her bubble.

And while we’re speaking on meeting the enemy, here is another video I love.  We have a lesbian feminist who decides she’ll cross-dress as a man and hang out with us for half a year.  She held all sorts of strange ideas about men.  After spending six months with us as a “man”, she realizes she didn’t understand us at all.  She comes to find out that we’re not mean or violent, that we’re extremely kind to one another, and that life as a man is far different than what she had imagined.

She concludes that women have no idea what life is like for men.  Even after trying to be a man for six months she feels there’s a lot she doesn’t understand and may never be able to understand.  I bet it would be.  I can’t imagine what it’d be like to put on a dress and make-up and then spend six months as a woman.  It’d be an insane adjustment.  I have a lot of respect for her.  She concludes that men deserve respect and should be treated kindly and that we all need to do our best to try to understand one another.  It’s a good message.

I haven’t written this post to pick on feminists; I’m just using them as an example.  This same dynamic happens with politics and many other areas of life.  Those on the left and right just as easily end up in bubbles.  I experience this all the time.  When I go to the university I’m surrounded by faculty who are very far-left, and then I go the gym and I’m around guys who are all extremely conservative, and then I’m around family who are also conservative.  It’s really sad seeing how each group talks about the other, and neither side understands one another.  Both sides say the exact same things about the other.   Both sides think the other side is intolerant, both sides say the other side won’t look at the facts, both sides think the other is morally compromised, etc.  That’s probably another post in itself.

While it is true we have quick access to all kinds of information with our computers and devices, that doesn’t mean that any of it is accurate or reliable.  From what I see, no matter what you think about some topic, there are all kinds of websites, blogs, youtube channels, facebook pages, and other sources ready to give you a slew of information justifying and rationalizing anything you want.  They’re ready to pull you into their side, to demonize others outside their group, to give you some sort of purpose fighting for their cause, etc.  And this sort of thing is like the evolution and the spread of viruses.  That’s why we say that things on the internet go “viral”.  Whatever websites and articles are effective in creating this dynamic in people are the very ones which are pushed up to the top of Facebook, Youtube, and other sites.  And then before long, people all over get sucked into their respective bubble realities with their own set of facts, causes, enemies, etc., and are all fighting with one another, each thinking they’re right and the others are wrong.  It isn’t until you step out of your bubble, get off your computer, and actually meet your enemies that you realize that you don’t know them at all.

That is something I’ve learned as a physicist.  The scientific way of thinking basically says that unless you’ve carefully examined something, looking solely at the observed facts, without bias, you have no idea what you’re talking about.  And even then you’re probably wrong because reality rarely fits within simple models and frameworks.  Also, the easiest thing to do is fool yourself.  These days, unless I’m an expert at something, and that’s specifically my field, when people ask my opinion on it I tend to say, “I don’t know.”

I’ve read all kinds of books on many different topics, whether it be history, economics, politics, neuroscience, psychology, etc., and in most areas other than physics, I know just enough to know that I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’m aware enough to know that the subject is really complicated and that I haven’t put in the work necessary to have a strong opinion on it.  But unless you’ve worked really hard to become an expert in a particular field, you may not even understand that idea.  You don’t know what I mean when I say, “put in the work”.  That doesn’t mean reading a few articles online.  It doesn’t mean you’ve watched a documentary on Netflix.  It doesn’t mean you’ve read through a single book you picked up in the bookstore.  I’m talking about a process that takes years, examining things from every angle.  It takes time and a lot of effort.  And even if you wanted to, you can’t master more than a few subjects within a lifetime.  In everything else, you’re going to be dabbling and probably just repeating information you’ve heard from others, likely not deeply understanding what you’re talking about.

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment