Sunday, January 30, 2005

Individual Creativity in a Dark Age and How it Could Save the World

In some ways this week was a bad one for me.

I entered the mundane working world once again a few weeks ago. There are a few debts that should be paid off, and then I am through with it. I had forgotten just how much suffering standard office jobs engender. I first saw the help wanted ad, and said to myself, “Ha, this won’t be so bad. Easy money.”

Hubris will get you every time.

Unfortunately, I was not clever enough to figure out alternative means of earning income in a short period of time that 1) was entirely legal, and 2) did not involve me pretending to care about silly issues. If your means of employment does not enable you to express your full creative potential about issues that concern you, then you have to become an actor. Becoming a first rate political strategist doesn’t hurt either.

I have come to believe that any means of funding that we are forced to engage in should go toward the bare necessities for life sustenance, and then the rest should go toward the development of one’s awareness of reality so that one can then fulfill one’s full creative potential. I think that frustrated creative potential, if you happen to have a soul, will kill you, perhaps taking out those in your immediate vicinity with you.

Don’t talk about saving or changing the world. Save your soul. I don’t think we can save ourselves if we think we have a firm grasp on just exactly how reality works. It never ceases to amaze me when people are so sure of themselves. They know exactly what can and cannot happen, what exists and what does not exist, and they know exactly what the rules are and how everyone should follow those rules. These people may already be dead, and for your health should be avoided.

We live in a pretty big universe. Consider that perhaps anything that does not have a non-zero probability can happen or exist, and probably has happened or actually exists. We probably cannot out-imagine the universe. Nor can we “stare the universe down”, and supersede objective reality with what we think it should be. I have a hunch that it is a losing proposition.

Many people seem to believe that there are strict rules for “salvation”. I cringe a bit using religious terminology, but for now this word will suffice. You follow certain prescribed rituals, subsume your identity to an extraterrestrial, supernatural being, and boom. Salvation is yours.

The one thing I believe in whole-heartedly is free will. It is everyone’s right to engage the universe in the manner they see fit, with one caveat: as long as it does not violate my free will. If someone wants to spend their entire life experimenting with the above, then go for it. For my tastes, the above is, shall we say, less than adequate.

Others are pretty sure that we are merely robots. We just happened to evolve in this form as an efficient method for our genes to propagate themselves. Maybe. I think there is enough evidence that there may be more to this world than the above supposition.

I suppose we will all find out eventually. In the meantime, each of us has to decide how to conduct ourselves in the universe, or it will be chosen for us. It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum. Choices have to be made. Perhaps if we are not aware of what choices are available, than somebody else will choose for us. There is no guarantee they will choose for our benefit. In fact, more than likely they will always choose in their favor and to our detriment.

Perhaps this is the basis of conspiracy.

A large segment of our population seems to be deathly afraid of creativity. They desire control. Hunter S. Thompson once said that politics is all about controlling your environment. Just how far will those who fear creativity go in attempts to control reality?

Perhaps reality is quantum in nature. Those who desire control attempt to constrain the true quantum nature of reality into linear constructs where it is much easier to control and understand cause and effect. Perhaps reality is closer to the famous scenario of the butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world starting a chain reaction resulting in a hurricane on the other side of the world.

Creativity is the opposite of control. When something new is introduced into the environment, it can be almost impossible to predict how it will touch everything else in the environment.

In a sense, art is about limitation. Good art, limits our focus, and brings out a particular aspect of our reality in sharp relief. Our senses do the same thing. What we notice in our environment is greatly filtered. Our conscious mind only registers awareness of a very limited array of details. The process is automatic, and most of us never consciously chose what or what is not important. Our early childhood environment probably largely shapes the synaptic pathways. Our brain has to do some filtering; there are just too many details. Under hypnosis, people can relate a whole host of details that would never be available to our conscious mind, such as the heart rate of the person across the room.

The point is, someone else determined your filtering system. You had no choice in the matter. Someone else determined what was important and was unimportant. Our awareness, already extremely limited compared to the extent of information available, was limited and shaped by church, state, parents, peers, and the media. Our awareness, to a large extent determines who we are and what choices we make. Our inflated sense of self-importance can tell us that we are special or unique, but in a very real sense most of us are sleep walking, and were created by something outside of our selves that we had no say in whatsoever.

Most of these influences probably had extremely limited synaptic structures, and never bothered to question any of their perceptions. They assumed that what their conscious mind registered was all that existed. They then actively worked to pass on these limited structures. Through out history people have been willing to kill to maintain perceptions within certain limits. Now days we have extensive means of propaganda distribution that fulfills much of the same function. Our media defines the past therefore it defines the future, it attempts to determine the now by focusing on what it deems important and ignores what may disrupt the linear narrative of control. Many of us have little awareness beyond what the mass media portrays as reality. I am not sure if I am up to the challenge to communicate the true horror of what that means tonight. It means that most of us have given up our very right to be – handed it right over to the television.

As I said earlier, art can help focus our awareness onto a very specific aspect of reality. It affects our synaptic structure sparking a whole host of connections. It can make us aware of what our conscious mind has always ignored. It can give us knowledge that increases our ability to accurately interpret our perceptions. It performs the same function of our conscious awareness by filtering the unnecessary noise so that our attention can be focused on what is important, or at least worthy of our consideration.

I am using the word art in a very broad sense, meaning anything that was deliberately created by a consciousness with specific intent to illuminate a certain aspect of reality. That is a pretty broad range I have in mind, including what is traditionally considered art, but also great journalism or a scientific paper, or anything that enhances and encourages increased awareness of truth. Everything else is merely decoration or entertainment. Decoration and entertainment may have their place, but that is not what I am talking about.

As someone changes within and begins to create something without, they in turn affect others and the process spreads like a wild fire. Very difficult to contain, and no one can say what the end result will be. It shakes the status quo, and it will never be the same. Those who benefit from the status quo, are frightened by the creative process, and that is why there is so much effort to contain and constrain. You are the potential enemy.

Many of us, largely through no fault of our own, are stuck. We have been attempting to make use of someone else’s leftover synaptic structure that was inadequate to the task of accurate perceptions of objective reality. We have given up our right to become an individual. No one told us there were other options. For many of us our creative potential has been inhibited and/or harnessed to furthering the cause of control. We probably have absorbed the fears of those who value control. Most of us are not aware of how much psychopaths have defined our current reality. Our official culture seems to be so designed that the psychopath is the successful model.

Blocked creativity and potential individuality creates a whole host of miseries on our dark planet. So many of us exist in a sort of quiet desperation. We are stuck in the linear narrative of control, lacking the awareness to begin to learn how to take our place in the actual quantum reality of creativity. Creativity is potentially disruptive, and we can instinctively sense it. Our own creativity can force us to examine everything in our lives, and demand that we make changes so that we can further the cause of our own blossoming awareness and abilities.

Right now it seems that humanity is going through a momentous cycle of change encompassing chaos, confusion, destruction and death. Is their hope?

I have not worked through a good understanding of hope to really speak much on it, but I do think that false hope or placing hope for salvation from without is worthless at best, and a soul killer at worst. The desire for outside salvation has great appeal; to be assured of being preserved for just being so darned special has a nice ring to it. No real work involved, just follow the formula and on you go to paradise. Formulas for salvation have proven to be incredibly successful for getting billions to accept wherever they happen to fall by chance. They have allowed all kinds of grand political intrigues to be conducted, consolidating power and inspiring masses on to new heights of mass murder.

If there is any hope, then it falls on each of us as individuals actually becoming individuals. Enough people really need to remove themselves from the polluted pool of mass hysteria and mind viruses.

There is exciting new knowledge in the realm of physics that seems to mathematically prove just how important an individual conscious unit and their awareness is to the unfolding drama of our reality. Laura Knight-Jadczyk gets to the heart of the matter in her essay from last Halloween:
[...] Our universe seems to be made up of matter/energy and of consciousness.

Matter/energy by itself "prefers", as it seems, a chaotic state.

Matter/energy by itself doesn't even have a concept of "creation" or "organization". It is the consciousness that brings to life these concepts and by its interaction with matter pushes the universe towards chaos and decay or towards order and creation.

This phenomenon can modeled mthematically and simulated on a computer using EEQT (Event Enhanced Quantum Theory). Whether EEQT faithfully models the interaction of consciousness with matter - we do not know. But chances that it does because it seems to describe correctly physical phenomena better than just the orthodox quantum mechanics or its rival theories (Bohmian mechanics, GRW etc.)

What we learn from EEQT can be described in simple terms as follows:

Let us call our material universe "the system". The system is characterized by a certain "state". It is useful to represent the state of the system as a point on a disc. The central point of the disk, its origin, is the state of chaos. We could also describe it as "Infinite Potential." The points on the boundary represents "pure states" of being, that is states with "pure, non-fuzzy, knowledge". In between there are mixed states. The closer the state is to the boundary, the more pure, more 'organized' it is.

Now, an external "observer", a "consciousness unit", has some idea - maybe accurate, maybe false or anywhere in between - about the "real state" of the system, and observes the system with this "belief" about the state.

Observation, if prolonged, causes the state of the system to "jump". In this sense, you DO "create your own reality", but the devil, as always, is in the details.

The details are that the resulting state of the system under observation can be more pure, or more chaotic depending on the "direction" of the jump. The direction of the jump depends on how objective - how close to the reality of the actual state - the observation is.

According to EEQT if the expectations of the observer are close to the actual state of the system, the system jumps, more often than not, into more organized, less chaotic state.

If, on the other hand, the expectation of the observer is close to the negation of the actual state (that is when the observer's beliefs are closer to being false than to being true according to the ACTUAL state - the objective reality), then the state of the system, typically, will jump into a state that is more chaotic, less organized. Moreover, it will take, as a rule, much longer time to accomplish such a jump.

In other words, if the observer's knowledge of the actual state is close to the truth, then the very act of observation and verification causes a jump quickly, and the resulting state is more organized. If the observer's knowledge of the actual state is false, then it takes usually a long time to cause a change in the state of the system, and the resulting state is more chaotic.

What this means is that order can be brought out of chaos by observing chaos as it IS and not pretending that it is otherwise.

In short, everyone who "believes" in an attempt to "create reality" that is different from what IS, increases the chaos and entropy. If your beliefs are orthogonal to the truth, no matter how strongly you believe them, you are essentially coming into conflict with how the Universe views itself and I can assure you, you ain't gonna win that contest. You are inviting destruction upon yourself and all who engage in this "staring down the universe" exercise with you.

On the other hand, if you are able to view the Universe as it views itself, objectively, without blinking, and with acceptance, you then become more "aligned" with the Creative energy of the universe and your very consciousness becomes a transducer of order. Your energy of observation, given unconditionally, can bring order to chaos, can create out of infinite potential. [...]
Perhaps now is not the time to lose hope, just get rid of the useless soul-killing hope that somehow just by happening to have been born we are so special.

I have this crazy idea that perhaps the universe really values creativity. So much so, that to enter the pantheon of the creative you have to first grow in enough awareness to even begin to think about taking up the challenge of becoming an individual. You are outwitted and out numbered, and only the really creative fools are willing to risk everything on a slim chance. Perhaps the universe really likes the “give me liberty, or give me death” types, and might meet you half way, but you have to be willing to take the first step without even anticipating success. The first step may just consist of thinking, “you know, maybe I don’t know everything.”

If you happen to have a soul, then hubris may very well kill it. Like I said, it is a big mysterious universe, and our truth will always be relative. There will always be another level of truth beyond what we know now: another puzzle to solve, another mystery to ponder, another enigma to sort through. We are rich, if we admit we are poor. It seems as if the universe has a paradox or two to really stump us.

So many of us are crushed by our daily tasks of supporting ourselves and our families that we have forgotten our place as citizens of the universe. Our focus has been so narrowed that we are practically blind. We are in the middle of this huge farce of the blind leading the blind.

Perhaps it is times like the ones we are living in that really polarize the human race. Those who love control become maddened with desire and attempt to grasp everything and control it with long boney claws. Those who love freedom of expression and creativity become sick of being controlled and start trying to figure what the hell is going on. There is no better time to find out what your essence really is, to discover what orientation your soul desires. Free will can be expressed, but it has to be taken back. We didn’t know enough to value it, didn’t guard it, so it was stolen. Like the prodigal son it is time to go back home. Perhaps now is one of those ‘start investing your talents or be cast in outer darkness’ kind of times.

I didn’t spend any time in this essay describing many of the horrors of our age. I recommend: Official Culture" in America: A Natural State of Psychopathy? And the The Adventure Series.

Also Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower by William Blum. If you think that Abu Ghraib was an anomaly, then the chapter on torture will make you sick. Now is not the time to flinch.

If you want to consider some of the possibilities that future could hold than The Wave may be what you are looking for.

If you are one of the lucky ones, than you are troubled by such questions as who am I, and what the heck am I doing here. It can be a long road fraught with danger, but perhaps there has never been a better time to seek truth. Perhaps now is the time to turn our lives into art - to become individuals. From how it is looking now, it appears that no one is going to avoid the heat, but the heat can be used for the true alchemical changes that can only come for those who have a taste for the truth.

Just maybe the future of the universe depends on you.

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