Causality

Science fiction presents some baffling themes around causality; for example, the future is the past because events are synchronous in all places at the same time. The current everyday understanding of causality is equally bizarre, however, since a causal chain of events cannot lead back forever without having a prime initiating point, that is outside these rules.

Dawn

Dead shadows dance in the night yearning for the dawn; pale echoes of a haunted heart caressing the dark. Cold and forgotten walking scars, drained by decay, wasted by time, stretch out, hungered and blurred, to a spark ignited, climbing, rising from the ground. From the dark depths, rays of hope entwine in the sky, kissing the hills, breathing new life with wonders layered in light. Naked with joy, a new day, a new world is born.

Perspective

The first stage of learning is being unconsciously incompetent: you don’t know what you’re not good at because you don’t know what you don’t know. Well-being skills can be learnt. One typical motif is that how you look at anything changes your experience; for example: anxiety can feel like pleasurable excitement, as the body in both mental modes vibrates in a similar state of high energy; or a difficult situation is your challenge to evolve and an opportunity for personal discovery; or peace of mind is your inner state of being, not the possession of external conditions. And so on, all empirically true but under-practiced.

Social Status

If you behave outside of current norms, people will often interpret this as either the high status of trendsetting and being above what is usually expected, or low status not fitting in.

Status sensitivity is social madness because every single person is in fact unusual.

Capital

A satisfying aspect of being a monarch would have been to have resources instantly directed to your ideas whenever you want. Unfortunately it seems in all societies all around the world, these ideas were focused on who they were going to invade next.

Anger

Anger. What a silly thing.

Is it of any use? Nope, it unbalances you.

The orcs in the Lord of the Rings are driven by fury and are utterly useless at combat.

Energy from anger is polluted, destructive, counter-productive.

It can be used to instil fear, to incite others and to self-aggrandise, which is why it has been the emotion of choice by demagogues and sociopaths.

It is often learned as the default response to any frustration.

There is often anger at other people for not behaving as it is believed they should.

The reality however is that you have no real idea what has and is happening in the other person’s life you are judging.

The fact is you only ever see a tiny aspect of all the moving parts.

Journal 2020-11-21

In the world of work, a meeting without creating an output of value is a drain on energy and time. Incessant thinking is the perpetual meeting in the head; if it is just going over and over the same issues without providing constructive insight, then it is pointless at best, destructive at worst. Outside this room of perpetual thinking is the freedom to notice and enjoy what is happening, instead of what you are imagining.

Off and On

The old line with IT is if you want a problem fixed “turn it off then on again”. The reason is that resetting can untangle mixed-up memory and processes.

The mind if not switched-off will often relentlessly loop on the same set of thoughts, gradually wearing you down, sometimes with its own errors and fictions.

There are exercises that help you apply the IT solution, and they’ve worked for thousands of years.

The Compassion Override

In history there are countless examples where twisted interpretations of beliefs lead to the justification, or even glorification, of murderous and sadistic tendencies. Such beliefs give a person an identity in opposition and superiority to other people, who can be condemned and abused from a position of personal righteousness.

In a conscious state of love and kindness, the causing of suffering could not be enacted, no matter what is thought or believed. True compassion always serves as a natural safety valve to any thought, for the question is always: are you alleviating suffering or causing it?

Journal 2020-10-30

Interesting to read that the Chief Economist of the Bank of England thinks creativity will be impaired if people do not work in an office. My prediction would be that creativity has more chance away from the noise and haste; based on the familiar theme that original thinkers, artists and religious figures often had some of their best insights in the wilderness, in periods of solitude, outside of bustling society.

The observation is that quietness from the current melees gives a person a better perspective of the whole picture. More generally, insiders of the throng who are unaware of their predicament, are condemned to behave as they think they are supposed to, deaf to anything more than the current array of behaviours, even in extreme cases where it is insane.

Journal 2020-10-27

The whole song can be better heard by listening, rather than spreading noise.

The problem is the insistence on certainty, and building an identity around this, with everyone thinking they are always right.

No matter how certain you think you are, even if momentarily touched with lucid insight, you are probably not completely right (yes, including this).

There is no shame in not seeing everything or not understanding all the complexities and ramifications of all ends.

A Contrast

A few years ago, out of curiosity and in the hope of encountering some benevolent people, I went to a Buddhist centre in London. I could see the practical benefit in the exercises being taught and listened to some wisdom words, but was far less impressed with the paradigm of shared beliefs being advocated. There were several comments that jarred me, such as hero worshipping and speculating in earnestness as to who was the greatest recent guru; or the retelling of fantastical cosmologies as a matter of fact. My mind was truly decided, however, when music and singing was attempted. No doubt the purpose was to emote joy, but the result was blank for me. Nothing close to truth would create art – the expression of the soul – that uninspiring.

On leaving, the assembly exited the front door past two Buddhist people standing on either side, giving their goodbyes. The first person was everything I hoped to find there – she clearly just radiated a sense of peace, compassion, joy and love. The second, who from the literature seemed to be the leader of the place did not have the same effect on me. I had a feeling of disquiet and, to be honest, slight revulsion.

I never went back. I think the religion is great if it can help a person grow into the state of consciousness of the woman I encountered. Most importantly though the experience lasts in my memory because of the contrast presented to me between the two people: do I want to be more like the one or the other?

First World Problems

What to do when you have everything?

Want more.

Invent more problems.

Feel unsatisfied, waiting for an event in the future that never comes.

Fill the void with distractions and medications.

Become increasingly selfish, shallow and self-obsessed.

Worry about losing what you have.

Want what you have to be acknowledged as better than others.

And repeat…

(unless you can break this loop).

Metaphysics

The dictionary definition of “atheist” as a non-believer in God or Gods isn’t accurate because anecdotally there seems to be many people who think the doctrinal teachings from religious institutions are cultural based anachronisms – and so would be labelled “atheist” for not adhering to definitive religious beliefs about deities – yet believe in some higher power they cannot define. This type of thought would be different from believing the universe’s purpose and function is completely explicable in terms contained within itself by matter and its interactions.

There are a lot of belief jumps in this sentence: the universe is a purposeless collection of matter that mindlessly configured itself by chance out of nothing, existing in time with causes and effects and had no beginning. A reasonable-minded adherent might be aware of the glaring uncertainties in this position but state it is more parsimonious to adopt a materialistic concept of reality than implant a God belief system as an additional layer in the theory. Yet the certainty with which many proponents preach this position as absolute truth, suggests a type of commitment witnessed in religious belief.

An agnostic would state that the ultimate “why” questions are unanswerable, so from a practical perspective we should just be concerned with the “how” questions. The materialist’s objections to agnosticism based on the burden of proof for God being on the proponent, misses the point to an agnostic who has already ruled-out religious explanations of God but not higher meaning and purpose to reality. A particularly zealous materialist might overplay the remit of verifiable facts by stating opinions about ultimate meaning are irrelevant if they are not scientifically falsifiable – ignoring the fact that their own conceptual model for reality contains unfalsifiable conjecture.

My own instinctive opinion is that I believe religions share the same spiritual root, although the core message was often corrupted by the doctrines and institutions that arose. This is my personal version of “spiritual but not particularly religious”. As I am most familiar with Christianity I can be labelled Christian, however I do adopt a filter and select only what resonates with me, mindful that the scriptures were written and edited by early practitioners of the religion and that the Biblical canon was decided upon by the politics of powerful men in ecumenical councils, rather than being the unadulterated teachings of Christ. Looking back in history, the cruelties that have been perpetrated by professed followers of the religion represent the antithesis of the message of Christ; for real spirituality – the root of Christianity – is always inspired by love, joy, harmony, peace and reconciliation.