Going Home: Illusions About Reality
There must once have been at least a jiffy of wholeness, a twinkle in the cohesion of seamless belonging. Every cell may contain the residues in its universal library. Our desire to rejoin seasons every step, pushing against the gravity of reason. It’s a contest engaged in that fateful instant when cells snapped and began honing the skills for precisely executing divisions.
(Going Home: Illusions About Reality is from my book, Amazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness)
We talk about methods for merging with God or a Godlike essence and not necessarily after death. Christianity has us locked in some place by a God that migrates across many identities, from savagely vindictive to all-loving, and New Age believers visualize rejoining an all-powerful “Source” (dodging the iffy divinity terminology) from which we emerged in physical form.
Forget the illogic of yearning like a wilting flower to be returned to a place we must have voluntarily departed… Few systems of belief depart from this framework for explaining reality. Everyone seems to agree we’ve separated from an idyllic space and are driven in the purest way to return.
Without arguing against the basic idea, maybe we can examine the urge itself, take a look at the father without contaminating him yet with the choices of his offspring. What makes us, in the midst of real abundance and evolutionary success, eager to get the hell out?
Keep in mind that time is a tool of reality without enough truth to get all the way down to the foundation. The claim of “nothing new under the sun” has real scientific arguments behind it.
Not to say reality hasn’t been re-imagined and structures built that are different. Recycled is new only to the unknowing. Nothing requires past or future. No trail has been laid behind us and none waits ahead.
We are here now, as we’ve always been, playing in the present, again and again and again, without going anywhere. We keep shuffling the deck for one more hand, the difference between reality and poker being that, in a card game, everything doesn’t happen at once.
Poker, then, is impossible without the invention of time.
Comfortable as we are in a real world of three dimensions yoked into illusions of sequence (time), it may be hard to imagine swimming in a pool instead of a stream. But, give it a try. Give your imagination a chance to edge closer to the truth.
The universe is filled with something or other throughout its endless, interwoven fabric. Even empty space is filled. When we lower the temperature of matter to 0 degrees Kelvin, that is, the absolute removal of all heat, we find the zero point field still powerfully charged with energies. Mysteries in the emptiness abound.
There are thin realms of what we talk of as potential stuff and inexplicable dark matter, but never a true void. The rule we were taught in science class remains: reality is always full. This rule had to be drilled into us because it put the lie to intuitions we’d believed forever.
In what storage bin, then, do we wedge our constantly created histories? Where is the past kept? Because if there are expired seconds, minutes and hours–in other words, history–that storage area must be more massive than all of present reality by factors impossible to calculate.
Using the known lifespan of our universe, we’d need room for about fourteen billion years of jiffies and adding more without interruption.
The past has no real existence and is preserved only in memories in pitifully scant quantities. History is selectively, after reconstruction, laid down in reengineered cells and enhanced by records. Even the memories selectively retained are known to be unreliable.
The past, just like the future, is a child of imagination, not physical reality.
We just have this. Try to get used to it. It’ll enable you to tell better stories, and it has more promise than you can imagine. Think about it. Beliefs about pasts and futures may be more barrier than opportunity.
What we’re craving through our religions and secular beliefs is, was and always will be right in front of us. We have everything we’ve ever wanted or will want already in our permanent sandbox.
Here and now. We should be having more fun, but we have a very hard time seeing the truth.
Our vaunted senses are far too limited to sort through the density of information ceaselessly being fed to our brains. Some of it seems, to us, too preposterous to consider. We made up time as we made up shinguards and lampposts, tools that help us negotiate what would otherwise be darkness and danger. Now, like a houseguest with nowhere else to go, time refuses to back off and insists on continuing to mislead us.
It seems we have a hard time appreciating anything we don’t understand. Leonard Cohen wrote, “You who must leave everything you cannot control. It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.”
Cohen was arguing for hope in countering the isolation of individualism. Knowing always begins with belief and knocks it down on the road. Our success in nature has depended on our being smarter than anything else. Our challenge now is to become wise as well. We haven’t gotten far enough to justify all the facts we claim. Clearing them out, like centuries of pollution, will be a demanding exercise in exposing reality.
All the worthwhile arguments these days are about a single thing: what is the best way to talk about reality? What brings us closer to the truth?
We need this conversation as a gimmick because, insult to our intellects that it might be, we don’t have the capacity or the interpretive skills to understand the fundamentals upon which we’ve built our mockup. Our mockup is sort of a toy, but we’ve begun to take it seriously, big boys that we are.
Reality is elusive. Reality is always in motion. Tides are not limited to what washes up and back in our oceans. Tides, currents, eddies invest everything with timelessness, refusing the requirement of a moment.
We can’t say what we want to about reality because it changes before the words leave our lips. Hard core truth today is fluff tomorrow. No test can tell us what the future will hold.
Life is fortunately full enough of surprises and scrambles to avoid monotony. Predictions about reality based on what has been help but do not inevitably tell us what will be. Predictions, however, might tell us what we will think about it when we’re there.
Going Home: Illusions About Reality is an excerpt from my book Amazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness.