I find myself constantly distracted. There’s so many things I want to write about that I can never settle on one idea and eventually I run out of time. It’s 4:50am – my eyes are getting heavy and I haven’t put down anything, all I’ve done is read, played some WSA & WW, sent an email or two and smoked a lot of cigarettes. It’s damn cold outside too!
I wanted to talk about Perceptionalism, but I haven’t finished formulating my thoughts. I do know that this saying from my Zen calendar is particularily important:
“Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold to the truth within yourself, as to the only truth.” – The Buddha
If the only thing you can possibly be confident exists in this Universe is yourself, then wouldn’t this be the only source of truth that you can truely trust?
I will talk more tomorrow or when I have more time. How I wish I had been able to move out, ah well.

5 thoughts on “Argh.”

  1. “If the only thing you can possibly be confident exists in this Universe is yourself, then wouldn’t this be the only source of truth that you can truly trust?”
    Not quite what Solipsism states. According to Solipsism the only thing you can be certain of is that you exist. The existence of the Universe is also in doubt!
    Once you qualify your existence as being “in this Universe,” you by default are stating the Universe exists and you are ‘in’ it.
    In effect you are placing your mind in the Universe, while Solipsism places the Universe in your mind. That is what I see as the difference between Eastern and Western philosophy. Eastern philosophy has the Universe in the mind, and Western philosophy has the mind in the Universe. It makes a very big difference which way you perceive it, and is the reason why Science, which is an offshoot of Western philosophy, denies the existence of either a mind or a spirit/soul. The mind is only a product of chemical reactions in the brain, it does not have an independent existence outside of a physical Universe.
    As for “Truth”? Truth will always be what you perceive it to be.
    What is Perceptionalism?
    It is not as easy as you may think to describe a ethereal concept to others, even when it is clear in your own mind. All the thoughts, ideas and concepts are holographically intermingled and cross connected. It can be very difficult to express them linearly in an analytical process. Usually the biggest hurdle is where to start.
    As with any journey; as with any story, it is usually advised the best place to start is at the beginning.
    Perhaps the best point to begin explaining Perceptionalism is to first explain Perception?

  2. “As with any journey; as with any story, it is usually advised the best place to start is at the beginning.
    Perhaps the best point to begin explaining Perceptionalism is to first explain Perception?”
    That is a very good question. Perception is fundamental to the philosophy of perceptionalism. If Perception is not understood, how can any insight be gained?
    I think that we limit ourselves by only reinforcing the five senses. In reality, we have seven perceptions. We have visual perception which is our dominant one. The eyes allow us a tremendous amount of observational power. Everything around us is clearly an object or a person which cannot really be questioned. This person, this location, this material is clearly perceivable and therefore exists.
    Then you have olfactive perception. A very subtle but very effective observational power into understanding and decoding the universe around you, because you must understand that the raw universe is absolutely full of sensations. While our perceptions allow us to understand the nature of that rawness, it also limits some sensational extremes. Look at a dog, able to detect and follow day old smells. Their perception of smell is much greater than ours. Yet nonetheless that ability to understand odors is a good defense mechanism built into our evolved bodies to prevent possible harm or help if we were living in a world where it became necessary to judge based on smell whether a food item was ok to eat.
    Aural perception is only after visual for it’s perceivable power to our understanding of the raw universe. Hearing has allowed us so many advantages. From reacting to the hush of an approaching lion in a sweaty African night to the communication of ideas and memes throughout an ever growing complex web of unique individual entities, sound has been a huge uplift in our journey as a species.
    Tactile perception fills our perceivable universe with much of the solidness that we’ve all come to depend on. This window into the raw universe allows us to reaffirm without hesitation the fact of our existence in the universe. We exist and this tactile perception supports us. The act of contact surrounds our world with solidity and also raises the question of what is this barrier between myself and this desk? A collective colony of complex systems working together to bring about your awareness of that desk.
    Taste just doesn’t have a good synonym to go with perception. 😉 This doesn’t take away from it’s power as a discerning tool in your understanding of the universe. Food is critical to our survival and at it’s roots was a means to defend (again) against possible sustenance that may be harmful to our existence. Just because it has a positive side effect of making the world delicious doesn’t mean it’s not just as important as the other perceptions.
    Mnemonic perception is not included in the senses as it’s not used to filter the raw universe in the moment. The recall of past events, encounters and experiences is fundamental in our evolution as humans. Again with it’s roots as a survival mechanism, mnemonic perception has evolved to allow us to make new connections between moments in our life in order to add to our complexity. The wonderful and terrible thing about memories is that they can be collectively recalled or collectively forgotten. Here also is where some of the limitations our perception begins to show. No two people remember the same exact thing. We all have our unique perception of an event filtered through the jungle of our traditional senses mixed with our concious perception.
    As this is the newest of our evolved perceptions, conscious perception is also our most powerful. This is where the discovery of the self lies and is very ephemeral to our biological body. Our body is an evolved tour guide in a raw universe of perceivable sensations; yet it’s the ephemeral perceptions that influence us the greatest in our day to day livelihood and our understanding of the universe. Learning and discovering new things about ourselves and the raw universe around us are what make us complete as human beings. Life and the Universe are profound concepts to ponder, especially when our increasing awareness of the balance of the world clashes with our present day disregard for the impact our existence has on those others entities struggling around us.
    This planet that has given birth to our species and allowed us to evolve has become a disposable playpen for our excessive lifestyle. The impact not only on our future generations but the rest of the species living here as well is approaching a ridiculous level of arrogance. Who are we to destroy mother nature around us? What gave us the right to judge, sentance and execute all the other forms of life and our unborn children? But I digress.
    Ultimately, what lies at the heart of perception is an observer experiencing it. This is your self. What is the self? What is an observer? Well I guess this is your soul. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
    As biological beings, our existence is based off of collective cooperation and competition of less complex systems. All of our cells working together to form organs creating a complex system to coordinate energy in order to house an ever growing interconnected neural network. This biological system then communicates with other systems creating ripples and then waves in the actions and reactions of other systems through a socialogical level. Herein lies the power of the internet as a tool to increase our complexity as a species by spreading ideas faster.
    This complexity is I believe at the heart of spirituality. I think that the physical complexity of our brain is almost like a magnet to increased perception. It’s almost as if some perceptual energy is drawn to more complex systems. These are all guesses mind you, and here’s where I start to question myself.
    I am a firm believer in science but am complelety unable to think of a way to test any of my theories. The closest thing to an experiment is the whole 21 grams question, that of whether our body loses some weight when we die. If this question is answered positively then that gives us physical proof that there is something there, some weight to a soul. The only problem with this question is that if there is no loss of mass then it doesn’t deny the existence of a soul and close the book on this chapter of human evolution. That question will always exist.
    All of this perception adds to our self. Our self is the most important thing in our individual universe. The key to perceptionalism though is the understanding and empathy towards other selfs. They are there, just as solidly in their perceptual world are we are, existing just as us in their individual universes. The leap of faith is believing that helping them through their troubles will end up helping us in ours. That’s the connection that occurs when you have the insanely intricate pattern of connections that is our social existence.
    Ultimately, believing in ourselves leads to us believing in others. Every single one of the 6.3 billion individual human beings out there has their own universe to deal with. Most are unpleasant. Some are tolerable. A few are pleasant. Each and every one of us should strive to make surviving in the raw universe for ourselves and the others around us an opportunity for individual growth. While pursuing your own path you can help others if you sense there is a need, and all that working together forms a system of cooperation and competition to acheive another level of existence. We may not even be aware of it implicitly – what does a neuron know of international politics? Despite this fact the ‘lowly’ neuron is an integral part of a more complex and perceptual entity – a human not being but perceiving.

  3. That- was fucking brilliant. you’re a good egg, chef. I enjoyed cckeiser’s post as well although i have differing opinions on some of the points outlined in both posts.
    it takes alot to get my limited attention span going at 12:45 on a very dreary wednesday night in upstate NY. especially after i spun my car out into a snow bank on the way to band practice and my ears are ringing and my check engine light is flashing. however, i’m proud to report that we auditioned a new guitarist and he’s very talented and a very cool guy. it’s rare to find someone that plays with piss, vinegar and grace all at the same time. i’m of course way off topic, but wine, codeine and the fact that i’m happy even though my check engine light is flashing is enough to shamelessly promote my current state.
    back to business- Perceptionalism. the very idea of IT, what IT does, how IT does is it, why IT does it, and what IT is, is the very thing that keeps the machine running. (Unless or course, IT’s a 1998 corolla that slammed into a snow bank and is going to a mechanic tomorrow where all questions will be answered and charged for). two things that weren’t mentioned yet are dreams (the kind that happen when you sleep) and God.
    i have always been fascinated by dreams. the raw stuff that your mind (and i think, heart) processes when you go to sleep can be as innocuous and abstract as a distorted replay of recent events or as powerful as and terrifying as the beginning/end of creation itself. we’ve all woken from a deep sleep exhausted. sometimes i feel as if the places i inhabit while dreaming are much more real and important than the world i inhabit while awake. why is this? there are a multitude of reasons that modern science gives us such as- it’s your consciousness ‘taking out the garbage’ and other such chemical/biological reasons- even diet. i often experience unexplainable and terribly vivid nightmares. the kind where i think of them often during the day after waking and remember them long after they have past. of course, there are many who will quickly say, ‘well, chris- maybe it’s the wine and codeine, eh?’ and they would have a valid point, but i have learned over time to not give my vices an all-access pass to my life and the majority of the time i go without, (which is one reason i am very glad i’m not monetarily wealthy and hope i never am- ok, well, maybe just a little) 😉
    to wrap up this selfish, long-winded and way off topic subject of my dreams, it got to the point where i contacted a doctor in arizona who is an expert on nightmares. i wrote him an email and was surprised when he contacted me on my cell phone that evening. we talked for about a half hour and he was especially interested in what he called ‘night terrors’, where i would awake in a half-conscious state, unable to move but aware of my surroundings and convinced that something ‘evil’ was in my apartment. he suggested i take part in one of his clinical studies that would unfortanately take two weeks and even more unfortunately cost me quite a bit of money. i declined.
    but of course, not all dreams are bad. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and he wrote the ‘Sandman’ series of graphic novels. they deal with the seven ‘Endless’: Destiny (who is blind), Dream, Death (who is hot), Desire, Destruction (who abandoned his realm), Despair (her realm consists of mirrors) and Delerium (who used to be Delight). the main character in these stories is Morpheus, the Dream King. you can find collections of these novels in most chain bookstores and they’re highly recommended.
    i’m rambling, aren’t i? i apologize. which brings us to God.
    He exists.
    keep well,

  4. Dreams are a powerful mechanism. If you talk to any lucid dreamer they’ll tell you that there is definately something more to them than random images and connections being made, although who knows.
    As for God, yes he may exist but what is he a manifestation of? I think that we make our own god.

  5. Christopher,
    Also known as sleep paralysis, these ‘night terrors’ can be used a gateway to the wonderful world of lucid dreaming. Your physical body is already ‘disconnected’ from the motor centres of your sub-consciousness. Your conscious mind is still ‘awake’ and can now explore the realm of your dreams.
    I experienced a very surreal sleep paralysis episode last fall. (I guess all speep paralysis episodes are surreal!) I also felt an evil presence, which later manifested itself as a mirror which displayed my reflection along with that of a shadowed figure over my right shoulder. (I also heard what sounded like a combination of screaming banshees and thunder.)
    They say that many alien abduction experiences can be traced to sleep paralysis. Or is it the other way around? 😉
    I posted an account of my experience here:
    The thread generated some quality comments too.

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