by Donald Croft Brickner
Hello everyone. It’s been some nine months since I’ve last published an essay — there’s lots of reasons for that — and while what will follow quickly has very little to do with greed and avarice, the two key already-locked-into-play reflections of these times, I wish to open with but a few final — way final — observations:
It must begin to be clear to just about everybody still breathing air here on our planet that a financial disaster looms just over all of our global horizons. Even China, which has blown its gigantic wads of money on overspending, has had its banks and credit newly rated downward to “negative” (that recent blurb from Japanese NHK World TV news). Let’s just hope the Chinese don’t decide to call in all of the stockpiles of chips the United States owes them.
Because of this remarkably unlikely swirl of ongoing circumstances (over money, which has no real value to begin with, anywhere), we’re all on the threshold of a Huge Spiritual Melodrama.
I can repeat that.
As always with such rare instances in “history” (which our young people have already uniformly cast aside for good! — how did that happen?!), there will be Changes. The biggest will feature the evolution of the dusty moth of Hubris into the butterfly of Humility. Other Changes will pale in comparison, at least relatively-speaking. The specifics of all this, BTW, still elude me. Ah, well.
And with that — let’s please just move on. I’m so-o weary of railing away at Wall Street, and every decadently rich, pompous, self-serving big shot taking up (or sneakily sidestepping) headlines.
I don’t even want to think about the nature of their Upheavals and Comeuppances any longer.
Suffice to say, they’ve already begun.
* * * * *
It’s amazing for me to discover that many — perhaps most — Americans appear to believe they’re still living in the country of their youth, regardless whatever time frame that was in.
It’s closer to the truth to say that things have changed so drastically that our past human history, in all of its richness, has been rendered moot. For this to have happened, the entire planet has to have psychically melded (or something close to that) in what is sure to become either evolution, or ruin. Ruin remains a possibility, true enough — but I’ve seen enough promising budding futures to back evolution. The open hunger for Change in the Middle East is a major harbinger for the most likely future awaiting us.
* * * * *
Globally, we all remain blind about our clear embracement of denial, screaming its loudest at us from everywhere we glance, while we pretend we’re not looking.
Observing such a state of affairs is beyond deflating to me. While I’m not just playing out the clock in this lifetime — I don’t believe in such a behavior, never mind suicidal “early outs” — I’m sometimes tempted to give up. How could I not?: I’ve been funneled into a life of destitution, thanks in large part to these desensitized, people-just-don’t-matter-any-more hard times.
Sure, save our homeless, battered pets. It’s a lot easier than saving homeless, battered people.
Personally, I sometimes still suspect my life will yet prove short, fruitless, hollow, empty, alone and isolated. Does anyone else reading this also feel that way about theirs? Well, I encourage you: just hang in there. These are going to be incredible new historic times — and you’ll so want to tell your late parents all about it after you’ve passed on and joined them in Heavenville.
* * * * *
Regardless, dragging one’s hiney throughout this lifetime currently exhibits an entrenched belief in random pointlessness, were it not interceded by what can only be defined as palpable, synchronicity-filled moments of Grace, which tend to sail over most of our heads, invisibly. (The sole trouble with Grace is if you’re not amenable to accepting it conceptually, it’ll slip right past you, unnoticed. I’m pretty sure it was Intelligently Designed that way. [Our blinders are instilled by Intention, one should structurally note. We won’t likely strip away those blinders, either.])
Yes, I’ve come to believe in a Loving Creator who, at this stage of our development, we’ll call God.
Grace, by the way, is not a lie. The lie is continuing to believe it simply doesn’t exist. To that end, after awhile one realizes he or she must adapt one’s viewpoint to accept the altogether fresh, as well, which is this:
The universe is neither random nor meaningless — never mind unloving. It’s all the opposite of that, we’ll posit with 100 percent certitude — and it’s much more. (For those of you inclined to embrace The Matrix as a probable, tenable reality, plain aging will change that point-of-view. To decide we’re all illusory computer programs in a computerized world is pretty adolescent.)
The primary difficulty has always been that we’ve presently (and historically) downplayed the awe and wonder on behalf of embracing, instead, false reason; and nowadays, hyper-cynicism.
That’s a gimme cynicism, by consensus.
* * * * *
Am I implying, then, that one should run right out today and join a religion? No. And that’s the rub: all of the world’s religions and philosophies have mostly got it wrong: that which they’ve identified correctly, like Grace, is among their minority of beliefs. Grace exists, yes; as do several other wonders already acknowledged by any of several millenniums’-aged-religions.
Only, when religions get it wrong , like The Parting of the Red Sea, others commonly experience a justifiable gag reflex. Such a belief simply doesn’t reflect any known (or suspected) reality. And so it is deemed untenable, if not preposterous. Worse, for any deity, it’s illogical motivationally: A Loving God would never stomp all over the bad guys God alone created. And one does not — does not — want to live in this or any other universe where The Creator plays favorites.
Other still-existing problems with the nature of our errant beliefs include, 1. often well-meaning ontological leaps (my favorite basketball team sank a game-winning 3-pointer from the suburbs at the buzzer — oh, thank you, God!); and, 2. low theological ceilings (i.e., leaving little or no room to grow in terms of needed ideological change(s) — when growth is crying out to expand away from its blind and hurtful biases, misinformation and entrenchments).
These two examples above, then, are both world view issues from all religions’ ends of the deal today, while those who continue to slide further into atheism or agnosticism (or even nihilism) are way-backing the wrong horses, as well.
One has to want to get it all correct in order for that to happen. “Want” has emotional, not intellectual, roots — and so no amount of real world “reason” has much affect at all toward concocting an adequate resolution. We don’t practice psychology usually, except after tragedy — almost never before. First our respective roofs have to cave in before we’ll ever adapt better behaviors, or genuinely discard our prejudices. Only it shouldn’t be that way. (Well: should it?)
Getting just a few things “correct” won’t do any longer for most of us. Not these days, when our spiritual wells are continually either frozen in denial, or simply running dry.
* * * * *
The changes I’ve witnessed in my lifetime have prompted me to entirely refocus my goals and motivations in favor of becoming a force (of unknown wattage) for change. I have no idea how successful I may have been to date, but I keep plugging along, no matter what. That’s my “gig.”
This gig has no manuals to follow, no sources of income, nor kudos or parties to be thrown my way, even from those I’ve known for more than half a century. Most are very unhappy with me.
* * * * *
I remember sitting with my ex-wife (from whom I haven’t heard a word now in several years) — she then en route to a Master’s of Divinity Degree back in 1992 — at a McDonald’s, across the street from the Bangor International Airport in Maine. We were eating McLobster sandwiches (honestly!) discussing peculiar motives (mine, in particular) when she compared my nearly unique desires to induce international change/have a major philosophical impact to those of a standard, run-of-the-mill — which is to say, “classical” — Biblical prophet!
Snickers! Giggling ensued between us. I’ve never exactly been a religious person.
She then explained how no prophets ever want such a job historically, citing Jonah, who had immediately raced away out to sea after God purportedly asked him to become a prophet — only to be fetched back by a whale God induced to go after him. Jonah came back an unhappy camper. Becoming a prophet is a really lousy gig: you get to make enemies by being critical and “prophetic,” losing friends left and right, in what for the so-called prophet is a one-way bargain.
Yeh, yeh, so maybe one’s friends weren’t friends to begin with; so what? Rejection and isolation result, and from my extensive experiences of late, it’s an ongoing ill pill to swallow. Poor moi.
In any event — back to Jonah:
P’tooie! spat the whale, as Jonah arrived back home drenched, flopping inland head over heels. “Hey: Why not pick someone else, Your Godness?” Jonah gurgles sarcastically, spitting out seawater. “I want my life back, even if it wasn’t such a fulfilling one. You’ve got the wrong guy!”
…And so God then Spaketh unto Jonah:
“There’s another way to go through life besides being pulled through it, kicking and screaming.”
Actually, God didn’t say that. But He did “encourage” Jonah to do as He asked — which Jonah, of course, inevitably did.
Jonah just had some big-time growing-up (and humility-cleansing) to do. No big whoop. Plus, he ended up having fun, some of the time. That part of it caught him by surprise.
If, of course, there’s any truth to this Biblical story, in the first place.
* * * * *
Am I such a prophet? No. No: I’ve had zero chats with God, and would much rather receive more public acceptance than I do. I throw every part of myself into this, minor results aside.
Still, I’m left with the gig. It’s an internal drive kind of deal. I’ve tried and failed to understand it. I’ve been psychoanalyzed (to little meaningful end), and gone through intimate 12-step orientation and therapies, dating back 30 years ago. BTW, the last time I got a driving ticket was around the same time.
I still don’t go to church … and seminaries (not to mention secular schools of philosophy) won’t accept me.
Boo. Hiss. And so on.
So you know: God can kiss my grits much of the time. "He" Knows It, too.
* * * * *
And with that, I’ve concluded any further forays into my sad sack psyche.
What comes next is a broad-strokes, Big Picture overview of a tenable, A-Z Working World View.
A kind of big asterisk comes at the end, so if you’re all braced up to be offended by this, don’t be. Few of you are likely to embrace this blueprint anyway, but the nature of the gig insists I present it to you in this initial full introduction (which I’ve touched upon in previous essays, only not all at once):
* * * * *
First there was the Big Nothing. Then “God” appeared, and initiated something somewhat similar to The Big Bang.
Then came Life, in its multitudes of Incredibly Clever and Well-Thought-Out variations. Author Kurt Vonnegut can ably complete the rest of the process:
A fish pitched up by the angry sea; I splashed on land, and I became me.
* * * * *
Reportedly, we’re among the few three-dimensional physical entities in our little, not-all-that-well-attended multiverse who proudly (which is to say, hubrisly) conduct conscious and pointless violence. Why? Because we don’t yet have access to The Big Picture — which, one suspects, is yet another important reason we’re about to enter a Huge Spiritual Melodrama.
Stick around, everybody!
* * * * *
As regards to our physical universe that we’ve come to know (and which too many academics errantly believe is the only one that exists!): Our consensus specifically favors two separate but enjoined realities that we’re able (with varying successes) to measure — our three-dimensional physical reality (the one with the telescopes and observatories); and the quantum reality (the one that requires microscopes to view).
From this point forward, we’ll refer to the former, “physical” reality as the macroscopic; and the “sub-physical” reality as the microscopic. (Some physicists refer to the microscopic “realm” as being “sub-atomic” which, in point of fact, it isn’t: for it includes atoms, electrons, photons, molecules and so on, which more accurately rest near the bottom layer of the “atomic” realm.)
* * * * *
One passing observation: much of what follows next tends toward a Big Picture perspective, which is rarely embraced by quantum physicists, ironically, the only ones studying microscopic realities. So, there’s quite a big gap between what’s being suggested here (via philosophical tenability and extrapolation), and what mathematical determinations our scientists commonly focus upon, utilizing calculus, geometry, etc., in order to arrive at their perspectives.
As an analogy to help us understand what the Big Picture difference between the two realities is, first please picture soil — sitting there without anything planted. That, we’ll compare to our microscopic “reality.” Then, picture a young pine tree seedling being planted in the soil — and most importantly, growing, growing and growing, by its nature: that’s our macroscopic reality.
As the seedling has grown (it’s quite gigantic by now), it’s become our physical macroscopic universe: three-dimensional reality, albeit with blinders. There are things Being Kept from us.
* * * * *
Both realities, both universes, one should add, cannot intermix their respective limited laws. This is purposeful (and, yes, of Intelligent Design) — but it does, as well, indeed separate them as realities/universes, even though they’re so intimately linked. The “pine tree,” in fact, can’t exist without the “soil;” although the reverse, so far, anyway, doesn’t appear to be true.
Therefore, we suggest our microscopic universe provides all of the building blocks for our macroscopic universe.
And, therefore — therefore — only one reality can thus be a source for the other: our microscopic so-called “soil.” And it’s here where our hidden logician is dying to jump into this conversation, just to extrapolate the following: our physical, macroscopic reality is necessarily a construct of the microscopic reality — which, in all probability, also more accurately reflects the greater nature of all of reality; that which is even greater than “itself.”
Ergo: Our universe/reality is necessarily (at the very least) a secondary, construct reality — which, then, makes it also an illusion. Is that an apple you’re eating? Not on the quantum (microscopic) level, it isn’t. It’s visual gibberish.
Worse, for all of our empirically-entrenched positivists and philosophers-of-mind is this: recent academic research leads one to discover that those who embrace materiality as some be-all and end-all of reality have argued themselves into an interesting corner, mind-wise — it’s both stated and implied that all that exists is our material brain — which offers both a locomotive for our thoughts (i.e., neuron pathways and synapses) and thoughts-related reactions (activating specific portions of our remarkable brains). For academia, it’s proof that there’s no such thing as consciousness-as-separate-(but-enjoined-with)-the human body, despite mountains of anecdotal evidence (they’ll commonly opt to ignore) to the contrary.
However, Rene Descartes (1596-1650), believed in a dualism that our “world” divides into two different entities that can exist on their own: mental substances and physical substances (Mind, by John R. Searle, Oxford University Press, 2004). Put another way, humans had a brain and a separate “non-physical” consciousness (or soul) — and it was far closer to the truth all along. Philosophers of Mind, by opting to chase after the material (and perhaps being influenced by empirically-biased brethren during shared mid-day meals), thereby began a suspect trek down an ever-narrowing path.
Today’s philosopher academics reject non-physical consciousness as having nothing to cling on to at best, then, should we try to mix conflicting manifestations in the physical world in such a way. It just makes no sense to them logically.
Only their figurative “locomotive” requires an ignition of some sort — some spark of “thought” that kicks the brain’s locomotive into gear. It’s a pretty solid bet they don’t have a compelling answer for this. For is the spark randomly kicked in? Do our brains just “know” how to create a thought from, what — nothing? If so, what’s their ignition source — seriously?
The argument posited here as a rebuttal is that these brain locomotives can only realistically “spark” as the result of having a separate consciousness in play — just as Descartes suggested (way, way too many years ago). Did later philosophers make a major wrong turn? It seems so.
It’s also not a lock that everything that comes out of academia is necessarily a snowball of usable knowledge building upon itself, and ever-growing bigger. That’s often a delusion.
And when one notes that there’s more “space” making up a table than microscopic substance keeping it together, one comes up with a model for how consciousness just might work. All of this makes sense at the microscopic level (and at times is even argued, as a logical conclusion to a given deduction made by quantum physicists themselves), only we just don’t understand very much of it as yet.
As a final aside — if there’s more microscopic space than substance of the same ilk in a table, what holds it all together? Does “space” operate as a kind of glue? If so, the same argument might be proposed as regards to the existence of a separate consciousness. Philosophers and physicists may have some clear (to them) answers, only it’s not a lock that their arguments will be hugely compelling to the rest of us, even if offered. All too often they just haven’t been.
* * * * *
Toward the beginning, I strongly implied, based on the existence of Grace alone — there are plenty of additional internally intimate microscopic “events,” like deep meditations — that we live in a loving secondary construct universe — of which our planet Earth is equally illusory.
But how can that be so, if everything around us so God-awful alarming, if not threatening?
The best answer possible — beyond God never becoming involved directly in our affairs (His guardian angels, so to speak, take on that very rare role) — is that our small multiverse (which includes other realities we haven’t yet discovered) has been designed to run its participants through the ringer of “life.”
We cry, scream, love, tenderly touch, accuse, bite and obliterate others all the time. These kinds of expressions, one might extrapolate, are not enacted in our higher (or is it lower?) dimensions.
We live in this reality to experience, and thus deal, with pain. It’s not the physical pain that hurts us so much as the emotional searing that takes place daily. Joy is truly Godly, too — only it’s not the driving reason why we’re here. You want to love everybody? Wait for your Heaven.
Our primary goals in this reality, regardless, is to (1) Experience; and (2) Express. That’s a much bigger load than it appears to be … for we’re surrounded by other incarnated souls who are here for the very same thing. And if we wish to hurt them in any way, there’s little to hold us back. And so we must hold one another accountable.
In a random, uncaring and even nihilistic physical universe, why not hurt others? That’s what our corporations and their proponents strongly appear to believe. They can’t imagine any greater undertaking than making money and becoming rich — a world view which is ultimately not tenable under the terms stated above, and hard to defend. In fact, why not murder others? We have Earthly cultures who’ve embraced that notion every day.
* * * * *
Where does all this negativity originate from, one is left to wonder? From a learning perspective, it begins in our classrooms, and it blossoms in our halls of higher learning. From there, all kinds of professionals adopt this dark world view, and our planet becomes quite mad.
Its source is always our purported “random” universe which, while seemingly supportable by statistics, is actually not designed that way at all. Such statistics, which impact nothing, are likely more comparable to baseball statistics. Those numbers don’t affect the hitters or pitchers, who do all the swinging and throwing. It’s all just a way to appraise the event in a rather structurally limited way. What’s going on at the microscopic level, say?
And so one sees just how critical one’s world view factors into one’s real world actions.
* * * * *
Is it time to begin establishing a tenable, new world view? Jeepers creepers — you can bet it is.
Our lives, thus, are illusions, just like our surroundings. When we “die,” we actually don’t: our consciousnesses return to some locale of greater reality, only to most-likely reincarnate again. The quality anecdotal evidence for reincarnation could founder a fleet of battleships. Let’s look at it, for a change.
Nowadays, as a planetary population, we just keep learning more about our Hubris, in all of its guises. Because we’re drawn toward far more peaceful ends (despite our rampaging emotions), we’ll all but surely bridge this Huge Spiritual Melodrama as a transition into Humility.
And we’d have done so, because we’ll have come know so clearly all about Humility’s filthy dark opposite — which almost all of us are, in our heart of hearts, finally getting fed up with.
You can’t take it with you, as they say, boys and girls, after all. There is no hubris in Heaven.
If you want to tame that puppy, and learn from it, you’ve got to do it right Here — in this Divinity of Material Existence.
* * * * *
And so, in closing — here’s the big asterisk I’d forewarned you about previously:
None of what’s been said above need necessarily be completely true!
What it is is tenable up to this point in our history — and tenable from top to bottom, and A to Z.
That characteristic alone serves to make it a huge improvement against any and all comers, regardless what our collective beliefs may or may not have surmised correctly in bits and pieces along the way.
No other religion or philosophy, now or ever-once-was, can convincingly say the same.
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