Going Home: Illusions About Reality
Igor Stravinsky insisted that music was not about anything but music. Beethoven, imitating sounds he heard during walks in the Vienna woods, and Mozart, mimicking birdsong, disagree. But if music means something, it’s something more. Otherwise, why did evolution add it, even if only as stitches and fabric?Amazing: Truths About Ultimate Reality
Guidance: Words and Ultimate Reality
To know something about ultimate reality, do we have to be able to put it into words? Must insight about conscious awareness be verbal? If either thing is true, we’re in trouble because our languages haven’t been very good at explaining even what we think we know so far.
Guidance: Words and Ultimate Reality is an excerpt fromAmazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness.
Words are wonderful things. I make a living using them. The structures we’ve built from them, from massive libraries of information down to tiny haikus of wisdom, are staggering, but inadequate.
Poetry and literary tricks like symbolism have extended the value of words beyond immediate appearances. Mathematics, visual arts and music have filled gaps. Painting becomes more abstract in an arc that claims space no other type of expression tries for. As does music.
Igor Stravinsky insisted that music was not about anything but music. Beethoven, imitating sounds he heard during walks in the Vienna woods, and Mozart, mimicking birdsong, disagree. But if music means something, it’s something more. Otherwise, why did evolution add it, even if only as stitches and fabric?
Communication is universal. We might as well assume it’s essential. People talk and so do cats in their way. Changes in the wind communicate news about upcoming weather. Animals in earthquake zones, it seems, get messages from a vibrating earth. Flocks of birds and communities of ants somehow receive and transmit information to coordinate activities.
Every time we think about reality and talk about what we know, factoring how much of nature we’re guessing about or less should be humbling.
The reality of dark matter and the surprises yet to be found in quarks and other fundamental constituents of matter aren’t just exciting mysteries but empty signs signaling all we don’t know.
We’re in a seamless state of reality that interacts and communicates universally. The things in reality that we can’t see are just as connected and influential as the things we do see. Put another way, the seven or more invisible dimension must be interacting with our known three, and vice versa. Blindness is irrelevant.
“You can run, but you can’t hide,” was a favorite slogan written for President Reagan. Anything, it warns, will finally show up. Little did his speechwriters dream that this also applied to that which can never be recognized.
Marry that with theories that more dimensions exist outside our knowing than within it. Interactions must occur.
Maybe some unexplained phenomena, like ghosts and Bermuda Triangles, are incidental evidence of the workings of other dimensions. Ghosts may be our fumbling way of grasping partially accessible realities.
Asked good questions, science gives us answers that change how we see and live in the world. Why do we get sick? Why does the weather change? What holds us on the ground?
We have a history, though, of filling in blanks by asserting facts that aren’t factual. Truth gets political. Figuring out what to ask ought to be worth as many grants as the pursuit that follows.
Here are some suggestions:
• If other dimensions exist, how can we discover and document the way in which they affect us?
• Isolated in three dimensions, are we missing most of what goes on in the universe?
• Are there other animals or plants that experience reality in more than three dimensions?
• Are the other dimensions, in some way, physical?
• Are the questions we asked been big enough?
• What unexplained things might be evidence of ordinary goings on in invisible dimensions?
• Are we highly evolved or just beginning our development?
• Has evolution in three-dimensions reached its limit?
The questions we ask may open up universes of follow up questions, taking us beyond anything the tools we have can explore. Maybe the most important questions are about the tools themselves, what we can reasonably expect them to tell us. Our most effective tool is probably imagination.
Developing more powerful and versatile telescopes, astrophysicists have collected information that frankly dwarfs a culture still debating scriptures as historical records.
Last week, I saw an image of what is now believed to be the oldest galaxy. Traveling light particles completed a fourteen-billion year journey by smudging the lens on a modern telescope. Shifts in the wavelength reveal details about conditions near the birth of our universe.
The most fascinating thing I’ve read recently is about the incubator of suns scientists have pierced the clouds to observe at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.
Spectacular information is ignored by a population immersed in television shows and averse to discomfiting discoveries.
As individuals on a run of the mill planet in a nothing special galaxy, we may resist the suggestion that we’re inconsequential, reduced by discovery, and yet most of us know very little about ourselves. We’re infants along the scale of change, and the evolution of our universe itself will likely be exposed one day as a tiny wrinkle barely noticed among a much larger something.
We’d be smart to try estimating our actual position, our standing in at least this universe. Now that we’re inventing fewer gods of convenience and those already in play are seeming to melt a little, maybe we can discover the unique role we play in the whole.
It must be unique, original, special. We didn’t simply push our genes through an Earthly ecosystem. We evolved as participants in a massive intermingling of forces. Nothing has ever happened in isolation. Even scratching your forehead has consequences.
We’ve already seen things we can’t explain, although undeniably real. In quantum leaps, electrons go from one condition to another without changing into or passing anything else on the way. This is like taking a trip from Milwaukee to Miami without crossing a state line. You were here; now, you’re there. Instantly.
Particles linked by opposite electrical charges may travel billions of miles from each other while keeping immediate, irreversible relationships. Divorce or cheating is impossible in these situations. When one, for any reason, changes itself, the other, at whatever distance, changes equally.
No time is allowed for the news to be delivered across galaxies uncountable. The other half of this permanent marriage just knows and instantly recognizes the obligations in its bond.
More interesting than the imagining of how entanglement is possible is the question of why the evolution of matter designed it that way. Is everything connected even more intimately than we’ve imagined? Is it possible that the universe is extremely small and that we invented size and scale as tools for helping us sort the chaos?
Maybe balance is a universal imperative, more important than anything else, and these are examples of primary mechanics at work. Distance may be of little consequence, no more elementary than time and easily discarded when not needed.
The most inexplicable events scientists have seen have been observed among the tiniest particles theorized. We know next to nothing about the lives of these bits of nature. Because of their size relative to ours, we take for granted that they are somewhat less well-endowed than our more complicated structures.
Quantum matter is less aware and short on emotion. It’s random and chaotic, even if such random chaos can’t explain the organized universe we see. It has rules of behavior, but those are increasingly ridiculous the smaller the pieces get. We may be built on top of Bizarro World, and we’ve learned to maneuver in its craziness without discovering much about it. Maybe.
On the other hand, why not?
Scientists now accept a border between our familiar macro reality and the busy micro reality that’s vibrating beneath and, mainly, speculated about with equations. More powerful telescopes can’t tell us anything much about what’s “in there” because they’re designed only for “out there,” the direction in which we’ve learned to look at the world.
Microscopes have taken us far enough to show that what’s inside the structures we recognize as building blocks, cells and atoms, is weird and probably even weirder.
The things making us up may be so strange we don’t even know what to look for. It has already been shown that we can’t see anything we’re not looking for, even when it’s obviously there, and we can extend that to an understanding of how much it’s likely we never see, even when it’s dancing or balancing a quantum hula hoop right before our eyes.
What I’m getting at is, before we can begin to ask the best questions, we need to learn to imagine that we might have deceived ourselves conveniently about the world as it is. We’ve elevated time, for example, to a factor in reality instead of a tool.
Every condition in the ultimate reality of the universe is changed by every action in the universe, complexity exploding as it extends. Action generates order within the chaos that is our steady state No action can recreate chaos. Inaction does, of course, and chaos is unpredictable. Prior conditions are not retrievable or available for do-overs, unless you’re pulling a Mulligan at golf.
Damage is done to conscious awareness when we latch onto strict and precise rules. We begin to think rules are reality when all they are are created regulators.
Our rules are brakes that keep us from hurtling into chaos blindly. Rules create conscious states. Rules need a repository, and we’re it. Rules create false, but useful realities.
We can’t discard the rules or the realities they give us, nor would it be beneficial if we could. But we can learn exercises that help us glimpse what exists when the rules are removed. It’s as simple as opening the floodgates on a powerful river. What’s the water going to do now? One answer is that it will look for new barriers to confine and, thereby, redefine itself.
The rules themselves are not as simple as civil laws that tell us what we can and can’t do. They’re more subtle, embedded and unlikely to be ignored. They tell us to see a certain wave length as green or red. Inherited codes cause us to make large objects out of traces. We’re born recognizing a few visible lines as faces or breasts. Additional rules are learned, mostly unconsciously, as we go through life.
We learn balance. We’re taught the meaning of minutes as we install time into conscious awareness. Distances, too, become useful tools in helping us understand and control the effects of physical actions. We learn to find our way among clumps of concentrated awareness and information that we’ve given names like Joe Jones and Andy Messersmith, dozens at once.
After a short time, we formulate the interaction of groups. We use languages and social strategies. All these are helpful but also hindrances to understanding. If we want to know what we are, which is the most legitimate pursuit of all, we need to strip away what we are not, and that can only happen after we learn to r drop our drawers and open our kimonos, becoming awake as metaphysically naked.
Words are the first things that must be set aside. So, be ready close up this book and get started. Don’t throw it too far away. We’ll be back to it soon.
It’s time to meditate.
Guidance: Words and Ultimate Reality is the fifteenth installment in the free online serialization of my book, Amazing: Truths About Conscious Awareness