- To study the Way is to study the self.
- To study the self is to forget the self.
- To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.
- To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one's self and others.
Philosophical & Mystical Canapés
[These thus far life conclusions are solely personal though often common .]
Each human being is a consort of multitudes,
What is Zen?
The entire physical & metaphysical universe opens with it: who, when, what, why, how; relationships and situations.
History is a helix.
By going inward, we expand outward.
Emotion subjugates yet also validates.
Life is full of disappointments; yet we make the target for which the arrow misses.
The heart of a musician knows no boundaries in style, or territory.
Free will: we only handle the rudder.
Everyone lives in their own world. Each life is an experiment.
Process metaphysics: nouns are empty, every thing is a gerund; and holistic, systemic principles of elements with mutual feedback apply.
Noncomformity is the key to evolution: hail mavericks! Vive le différence!
Symphonic samadhi silence brings all cacophony into accord.
Every entity in the universe vibrates, oscillates, cycles, be it a photon or a planet, a bacterium or a human being. What seems random noise and din is collectively unified and co-dependent. John Cage understood the music of ambiance, of the changing environment; hence the charade of his notorious composition of 4'33" that forces the listener to become aware of action-here-now. Sensing, perceiving, but not thinking, associating, nor imagining opens the doors.
Feeling is not separate from thinking, both flowing together in feedback loops, as in the Tao symbol. [Neutral is an emotion, too.]
Mindfulness is wordless, non-analytical observation, wordless perception. [Sugar is sweet, the sun-setting sky is red, the cat eyes the goldfish.]
In stream of consciousness, we makes associations that link to further associations; but in mindfulness of mind, we avoid associations and see that consciousness is, by content, a cauldron of neuro-noise, of thought bubbles, rising to the surface, popping, and dissolving. And is there consciousness-mind without content, as a categorical entity? This is experienced only when self-constructs fade, as through narrow, single-point concentration or ultra-awareness, having the "antennae out." An analogy is the radio carrier wave without amplitude or frequency modulations. Consciousness-mind is the awareness of being aware, without the content of ego-sense.
That point where opposites no longer exist, including self and other, is spiritual singularity.
Mindful folly enriches existence.
We can formulate this metaphysics: Action = Relationship × Situation². This holds for matter, as in chemistry, as well as for people's lives. An action that changes relationships alters the situation; an action that changes a situation alters a relationship, but to a lesser degree, particularly for people. Results are relative to each unique gestaltic action.
Experience vetoes inference. Experience is holistic knowledge when built upon scientific analysis.
Philosophy at its root is the study of consciousness-mind and its wise application. A mystic is a philosopher with yogic yearnings, i.e., a religious philosopher. Buddhism is one of the applied transcendental philosophies. Similarly, it is probably better to be both a philosophic scientist and a philosopher of science.
The life of most people is as if in dream yet some people know that they are dreaming. This lucidity of a greater order is a core mystic perception, a religio-philosophy and neuro-psychological science (and is the basis of the film Matrix). [Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.....]
One religio-philosophy and practice [Abhidharma]: being mindful — of mind, it, self, this.
* * *
The web of life does not just extend with each species of animal and plant, uniting them in a biosphere of interactions and co-dependency, it also defines ourselves and not because we are social animals. We are also dependent of the microorganisms that live on our skin, in the mouth and nose, in the stomach and intestines, and in the vagina; and in every single cell of our body live vestigial microbes, the mitochondria with their own DNA. Germfree animals suffer nutritional disorders and their immune system is weak. We are of various microbial ecosystems and we are a community. John Dunne's No man is an island, indeed. More than Walt Whitman realized in his "I am large, I contain multitudes," separating ourselves from other people and other organisms is delusion.
Ego is guru of which we seek to leave or deconstruct respectfully to become consciousness per se, a total awareness with neither a subject nor separate or independent object.
Mind (subcategories of matter-mind; awareness-mind; conscious- or self-awareness-mind] has, at its core, attractive opposites with potential energy creating behavioral attributes in kinetic action; that is, the engine of change is static imbalance, disharmony, and mind are universal processes toward balance or chaos.
In biology, upward emergent structure and downward function and regulation are mutual feedback loops. This applies to genetic-cellular environmental interactions to organisms and the biosphere. Form is patterned properties (functions). Morphology of things (the theme of my art) are metaphors and functional shapes. Art arrives with certain aesthetic [elegant or challenging] juxtapositions of forms and composition of the entire arrangement.
We can indeed experience the return to the state-of-being of unnamed universe, the nameless Tao; however, one cannot humanly, hence biologically, function this way, casting aside intelligence and self-awareness. We cannot survive. Returning neither to the state of zombie insects, nor to the instinctive, environmentally smart reptiles and rodents, but instead to live and to die this way, utterly aware but not in thought, being Tao, is a noble goal. Yet we should let go of even this, allowing the lessons of the experience and our changed being help us and others in the world.
The essence of science is analysis, not the mere collection and recall of data. A problem is that at a deeper level, scientists are merely studying the behaviors of various hierarchical categories of matter. Indeed, retirement has given me a luxury of time to feel, perceive, introspect and analyze upon that feeling. The feelings are more than emotions; they are perceptions that holistically encompass all impulse momenta and processes, something akin to currents and eddies moving both critters and sand. Categories are a pragmatic game of required delusion.
There is disorder within order, there is order within disorder.
The direct, the simple answer to this koan has metaphysical overtones. The philosopher will make a great, long, complex circle of thought and converge on the same point as that attained by the student of Zen. Both paths are equivalent. Still, the scientist–philosopher will have come to accept the limitations of the approach and then, being the explorer, take the adventurous leap into the wordless realm. Great doubt, great attainment.
Are you a participatory witness? I am a participatory witness: an outside student of the within, a within student of the outside. This occurs when a scientist, an analyst of nature and of mind, is also a religio-philosophic practitioner, in my case of Zen. The religious path of philosophical science is the unanchored, open interpretations of evidence leading to greater orders of complexities and ever larger categorical organizational levels. Yes, religion is the feeling that there is something greater than us, than the world of four-dimensional time-space phenomena. String-theory physicists through science and mathematics of 11 dimensions provisionally presume so.
Humans have in tragic folly murdered, imprisoned, subjugated, and segregated each other over differing paths to God and over the very concept of God. In my extensive study of religions and practices, all writings and teachings concern a sense of a greater domain, a higher or more fundamental order beyond our common world, and seekers quest to experience egoless unity with this larger entity. Some say this is God, Allah, Brahma, Tao, Cosmic Consciousness, or Big Mind. Even atheists can regard an intrinsic dimensional domain of mentation and consciousness, ascribing an informational field. But suppose this greater realm or being is merely one of a multiple, like Russian matryosha nesting dolls. The foolishness over religion thus becomes more acute. Over the centuries, science and technology have become ever more complex, from atomic matter to astrophysics, from life forms to ecosystems, from society to culture; our very common here-now time-space-informational processes remain beyond our ken and this is the spur of science and invention. Our sense of the divine has been similarly naive and simplistic. The Mystery is more than we can imagine.
The neurological correlates of idea-thought compete as impulses; dominance being the decision to action. Scientific studies have determined that our decision to act occurs before we become conscious of the choice. Repetitive neurochemical enforcement, through conscious reflection and emotion, can change dominance, or karmic tendency. In the mutual feedback of body and mind, momentum, be it material or spiritual, affects decisions and actions. It can break habits and psychological addictions, or it can create them.
Cannabis meditation includes "sequential collages" of rapidly changing mental images in associative strings or trains. Here is a tool for examining karma.
Cannabis returns us to a more joyful joie de vivre, a youthful, open neuro-mentation that calms and refreshes neuro-noetic processes and neurophysiology. It removes the cobwebs of mind and lifts us out of the rut of numbing daily routines. It tames pains and itches. However, to attain the proper life-supporting effect of the drug, it must be an occasional booster shot, not a daily crutch. Indeed, the herb is wasted on the youth and should never be used by minors, whose minds are yet in biological development and susceptible to dependency. Adulthood can be defined as the ontogenetic achievement of semi-homeostatic neurophysiological balance, or relative stability, where one’s cells are less sensitive to chemical and other addictions as well as to public or social peer pressures, i.e., the hallmarks of the teenage years.
* * *
Each moment is the/this Creation in continuum. The Big Bang, the conversion of proto-energy into the first matter was not the beginning and end of Creation. The rise of complexity, hence creation, is ongoing. When I paint, I continue Creation.
The rise of consciousness-mind from Great Mind and its proto-forms of matter-mind and awareness-mind is the enlightenment of the Universe. We [and other similar beings in this common universe], as in the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia Grateful Dead song, "wake up to find you are the eyes of the world."
Every person is a self-aware, sensing pseudopod of the Cosmos, or by a similar biological metaphor, the budding and interactive fingers of a developing cosmic hand.
Music is the key to consciousness-mind. Music begins with the first Big Bang explosion of photons, vibrating particles, or strings or membrane that by definition are vibrating. In Genesis: "Let there be light". In other religions the vibration is a sound: HU among Moslems, AUM among Hindus. Oscillations, vibrations, and cycles define the cosmos; music taps into the initial creative vibration of ever complex life and mind.
As mind is not purely material, we should not expect standard matter physics to explain the quality of mind. "Emergent property" explains nothing. The functional mass and processes of matter is a property of mind. If time-space is a unitary construct, so too is matter-mind, and if matter involves mass and action, then the world becomes matter-mind in time-space, created by matter-mind.
* * *
Some peripheral and complex items.
We interpret the world in approximations. Phenomena are judged and analyzed statistically, whether they be physical, psychological, or sociological. Other than raw, subjective observations and descriptions (including photographic and instrumental documentation), the conclusions of scientific experiments are reached with statistical analysis. Even elementary analytical geometry, such as the area of an ideal circle, gives an indefinite or approximate result, as it depends on pi. Mysticism seeks to experience that space between integers, the silence between musical notes, the potential before the action.
If, as in String Theory, the universe exists in 11 dimensions, cannot those dimensions beyond common volume and time comprise mind or constitute the information field? Must it be about shape? What about charge, the power of potential and of chemistry, and an attribute of matter? After all, there is no matter without process, or behavioral patterns of energy. Hence, we should not think of time-space alone but of time-space-mind (or time-space-information) and put aside antique concepts of materialism and duality. All systems have feedback loops for regulation and adaptable change. Perhaps the 7 dimensions of the hidden informational field is the influential feedback generator of form, i.e., Sheldrake's "morphogenic field."
The metaphor of the brain: a radio transceiver. When you listen to music on the radio, is the music actually inside the radio? No. The apparatus is a processor of information from a separate and distant source. Likewise, Is memory stored inside the brain? Or does the brain process, coordinate, assemble, and synthesize information from a different format, as FM or AM musical waves from a broadcast studio antenna? We know already that memories and knowledge are processed in multiple regions of the brain and assembled in a yet mysterious way for holistic recall and action, just as the single brain area, the hippocampus, is the necessary router and separator of holistic information, the switching yard, for creating new trains of associative memory. And memory is fallible, as reconstructions can be faulty with blended imaginations and delusions regarded as truths.
Like with Stephen Batchelor, my Buddhist views draw a line at the concept of so-called reincarnation, which is emphasized in Vajrayana schools. But I see a solution: Karl Pribram’s holographics concepts of cosmos-mind, each event entangled in the other; or perhaps informational fields, where exist informational ripples of experience (as information-unitary patterns in-corporated); or in Sheldrake’s proposed morphogenetic fields of contoured propensity.
A very young child, yet unconditioned by society and with the correct mind configuration, is more open to receive the information from someone else’s, now deceased, life. I accept as plausible, but not necessarily true, that a person can 'channel, or tune in' the deeds and proclivities of a historical person. This is not communicating with such an entity, nor embodying one, but merely demonstrating information about the dead individual without actually having met or having previous knowledge of the deceased. A dying lama may have the precognitive information that such a unique child may be located in such a region or with some other meaningful characteristic; these are never precise, as information in remote viewing experiments is not typically "seen" in the mind’s eye in exact or complete morphological detail.
Remote viewing, precognition, clairvoyance are related, historic, true, and testable information-based phenomena of but which presently lack scientific explanation because there is no well-developed theoretical model to encompass it. In short, The Standard Model is inadequate: hardly a radical view even among physicists. My father, my brother, my nephew, and I have such testable ability. I attended a noetic science workshop where 70% of the participants demonstrated the ability. Scientism has shut out these useful arts known to indigenous peoples from Asia to Africa to the Americas. Horatio’s undreamt philosophy surely most regard mind and matter not as complementary nor correlated nor emergent but as a unity within process metaphysics.
* * *
Observations on Getting Old
As in Lao Tzu's sage and scholar comparison, during our first 50 years, we accrue and advance; then we discard and recede. Our senior years are more idiosyncratic [habitually individualistic or non-conformist]. More and more, I see the flow and patterns of all phenomena and the helices of history. More and more, I take things less seriously and find amusement in everything that happens, be it in conservative folly or progressive reform. Life itself and consciousness become priceless treasures that should never be taken away or abandoned heedlessly.
Children may be the fulfillment of biological drives, but among their varied pleasures is the reminder that, long forgotten in old age, how it was when we ourselves were innocent and naive children and later narrow young adults. Examination of these feelings and perspectives in retrospection and within scientific and religious philosophy helps us face mortality. Physically, mentally, we constantly change; the sense of continuity is a construction, a mirage, a rainbow that does not exist of itself, is not independent.
A pragmatic life purpose: Some people's deeds make lasting positive effects on entire society, others simply but worthily make comfortable people lives, as plumbers and helpful clerks. As a scientist, historian, music critic, published author, even poet, I have sought and continue to add a few drops to the knowledge-ocean, but this vast information sea evaporates and contributions are lost. So much scientific data, countless publications of experiments, with time fade in significance, is ignored, forgotten, regarded obsolete or utterly trivial and hence such deeds are eventually empty. I have seen my and other research from the 1970s to 1990s, which were pioneering and founding investigations in a "hot' novel field of medical microbial ecology, soon relegated to the dusty archives, while contemporary researchers with more advanced technology for details still largely re-invent the wheel and make conclusions as if they were new. My doctoral research was also a 'hot' field in microbiology, and after 30 years of diverse studies across the planet no one today knows anything about it. More ego vanity, and yet we live and act and try to be of service to others and to humanity at large.
Remember: every thing is a metaphor.The World As If.
Return to Home Page