Have you ever wondered where the universe came from, what it's made of, how it works, what the meaning of life is, or what you will experience when you die? So have I! The Equivalences is a compilation of my philosophy involving reasoning at the extremes, unlearning contrives, and holistic awareness that seeks to answer these questions and more. I pursue this by unlocking the secrets of infinity and reevaluating assumptions made by mainstream science, language, and spirituality.
I first discovered how human contrivance has clouded our understanding of reality, degraded the philoshophical precision of mainstream society's thought processes. I began by noticing how mathematical precepts, while powerfully useful, lay the groundwork for the falsehood of discretion. This came from a thought experiment at the extremes, where I could tell that the logical system of mathematics had holes. I realized that infinity and zero are best understood to be equivalent, that infact anything so extremely opposite is most accurately the same, in the same way that extremely hot water feels cold. Furthermore, I realized that without the selection of the human mind, everything is ultimately unitary and thus equivalent, and only conveniently identified separately within the implications of our thoughts. Contradictions/falsehoods require the identification of two separate, conflicting ideas. If something is not true holistically/ in all contexts, then it is only an artifact of thought.
Because the dichotomoy of truth and falsehood spawns from separation, the inherent truth beyond thought will be realized wherever an equivalency unifies disparity; by looking at what is the same, we will find what is naturally the case, whereas being attached to what is separate will allow us to consider falsehoods. What is equal is naturally descriptive of what is; what is differential is less descriptive of the continuous reality and therefore approximate, and as such prone to flaws in modeling. To define that which is philosophically precise (holistically true), then, is a process of determining that which is philosophically equivalent.
When I discovered the philosophy of Alan Watts, I realized I am equivalent to the universe. Not in the sense that my person is a god, but in the sense that my senses are a lens of the whole shebang. I explored eastern wisdom such as symptomatic existence, reincarnation, and samadhi, and contrasted them with western myths – creationism, laws, individuality, the conquest of nature, and death. I also reaffirmed my theoretical understanding of the fractal nature of reality – it has no lowest level of composition, for it is just an infinite scale of wiggly waves. I analyzed how the human mind senses, thinks, perceives. I became more conscious of the way in which our minds attribute all meaning, and with this freeing understanding I further developed the meaning of my life, by my own accord.
Ever since my algebra class in the second year of highschool I have been thinking, writing, and reasoning every other day. (It was there I first noticed mathematics has holes.) I've unlearned contrives, learned to perceive reality directly through my senses instead of through itemization and the inevitable confusion of ideals that follows. I've seen how anything apparently binary or arbitrary is only such in the mind, due to piecemeal understanding. What this project consists of is my current philosophy on many various topics. I add to and refine it as I develop my understandings. Whereas most people entertain a religion, I am merely a freethinker constantly seeking a truer understanding of the universe, and I wish to share my insights in an open manner.
There seems to be a conflict wherein science and religion alike shun philosophy. It used to be that scientists were called "natural philosophers" and spiritual thinkers were called 'philosophers' as well. In fact, everyone is actually interested in metaphysics whether they realize/admit it or not.
Clashes of ideals have shifted recognition of the three practices apart, however. The open-mindedness of philosophy, in particular, has been estranged.
Materialistic worldviews reign supreme; understandings are purely mechanical. Scientists are always trying to get to the bottom of what stuff is "made of". We identify discrete particles, they interact in predictable ways which are anthropocentrically called "laws", and objects are thought of as truly separate entities. For example, "mind over matter" is assumed to be complete and utter nonsense; meditation and similar practices are looked down upon as silly and anything subjective is not considered worthwhile for study. As a massive system of definitions, science goes forth measuring patterns and keeping records in a very discrete and linguistic way, which is efficient by means of specialization. But it is often untampered with healthy, holistic thinking. This leads to confusing boundaries between realms of study each derived from their own narrow viewpoints. Consciousness itself, the very essence of our existence, is seen merely as a byproduct, a fluke, of chemicals in the brain, from a biologist's standpoint. Any consideration outside of this mechanical, "what's it made of" model is poorly received because such would be inherently subjective. Scientific knowledge is so built upon models like mathematics and particle theory that these discrete and very linguistic ideas are assumed to be closer interpretations of reality than actual experience. Only now with a focus on quantum mechanics is this issue being brought into the light, with less deterministic worldviews being allowed into physicists' trains of thought. Too long has the model been confused with the necessarily subjective reality. This is an important distinction, because the very existence of reality is by means of experience (not mere knowledge of it).
To me, philosophy is both scientific and spiritual. Einstein once said that religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame. What he was getting at was that spirituality and science go best as two sides of the same token; spirituality needs science for its intuition about the structure of the universe, while science needs spirituality for an understanding of how processes implicate one's personal experience. The future of science necessarily belongs next to a refined philosophical understanding, without the obstacles that remain from humanity's religious incipience and the modern materialism in science.
Mainstream thinkers too often put tradition before possibility, in both the realm of religion and that of science. That mannerism is dangerous in both respects. To be spiritual but not consider all possibilities would be to delude yourself about the most personal topics of the most relevant implications to your existence. In the same way, to be scientific but refuse to consider alternatives to historical assumptions is to prevent oneself from learning about the universe. As a result of these principles, I strive to evolve an open-minded philosophy both scientific and spiritual. I feel I could not think any other way without the possibility of living my life in a state of confusion.
Philosophy always poses a threat to the established order of the church. Paradigm shifts can arise from insights about the nature of reality and human perception, with potential to expose religious beliefs as outdated and flawed.
As originally more helpful evolutions of our race, religions have aided humanity by introducing useful measures of humanitarianism, care, fear, and guilt between individuals. Reinforcing those ideals naturally supports the success of the society, although the harsher aspects such as fear and guilt tend to cause strife as well. Other spiritualities, best not labeled as religions (without focus upon deities), have merely provided beneficial methods for peace, meditation, and contemplation.
Religion also comes with conflict and systems we would be better off without: the preachings of guilt in church, evangelism, war, religious-based hierarchy...
In today's largest religion, you often hear preached the importance of "lovying thy neighbor", promoting positive treatment of others. By more negative mannerisms, religion has also kept people working together, with guilt-laden teachings such as "The devil finds work for idle hands to do." While working together is important, the end does not justify the means in this case.
Not just philosophy and science, but other aspects of society have endured conflict arising from religion. Where there is order, there is division. The stronger the recognition of orthodoxy, the stronger the reaction to the orthodoxy. According to scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins, "religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a 'they', as opposed to a 'we' can be identified". This seems accurate, judging by the way that so many wars of old and in recent times have been brought about by religion to a great extent. Even when religion is not the obvious factor, it may be indirectly primary due to its influence upon social structure, traditions, and ethics – each of which play pivotal roles in conflict. Examples go beyond simple war to include the discrimination against blacks as preached in southern American churches, the Salem witch trials, the massacres of St. Bartholomew's Day and Beziers, the justification for the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, the mistreatment and conversion of natives by imperialists, the slaughter performed by Spanish conquistadors upon fellow Europeans, the Spanish Inquisition, discrimination in the Middle East, Al Qaeda and other religious terrorism, and more.
What is it that lacks in each of these examples? Open-mindedness and acceptance toward peaceful understanding. The beauty of philosophical understanding is that consensus is more often able to be peacefully reached, due to the greater prevalence of an open-minded approach.
It is clear that spirituality is too often characterized by sects of belief – discretion between religions. To me that extreme division is a clear warning of the contrivance of the thought patterns involved as being characteristically divisive – instead of inherently unified; if human society is really on to something with religion, then why are we struggling so much to agree about it that we remain divided, so sincerely so that we kill others over the issue? This is the case in the exact same way that specialization between scientific pursuits inhibits holistic understanding, with the mainstream ways of thinking in each field blotting out original ideas coming from connections between disciplines.
Back with the advent of monotheism, divine right often became paired with the status of the king. Now not only did fear of 'God' lead to greater piety, but a fear of the ruler led to greater servitude. How convenient an invention for the king. Evangelism, directed by the bishops and priests in power, led to crusades and other holy wars, which we still fight today in the Middle East and when certain solicitors come to our doors. In his book The Way of the Explorer, analyzing the history of a dichotomy between scientific and religious consciousness, astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences Edgar Mitchell adds.. "Ecclesiastic power provided justification for the persecution of opponents; thus, learning was controlled by western theology for centuries." Much of spirituality today still follows the western model that has developed, by which the preacher talks from a podium, spoon-feeding messages of guilt\fear and faith\love, paradoxically at the same time. That is to say, where one person dictates the beliefs of his entire congregation. Even in an open-minded Unitarian Universalist church during my youth, I still experienced residual practice of the tradition whereby a reverend speaks to the rest of the congregation. As Alan Watts points out, there are many lawmaking/political models upon which church structures are defined. Certainly, a more legitimate practice of spirituality would be done by yourself, for yourself, yet still shared among other individuals if you please. This is the approach I am taking in creating this website.. developing a personal level of understanding, and hoping to share and refine it with others, openly.
As time goes on, it is only natural that people become more open-minded, holistic thinkers. This is because we grow more accustomed to the overturning of previous assumptions. This predictable evolution of mainstream thinking is referenced eloquently by Agent K in Men in Black. Perhaps the most famous example of this is how the Catholic church asserted in the past that the Earth was the center of the universe, around which other celestial bodies rotate. That ruling was overturned by Galileo's finding that our planet is in a heliocentric system – Earth actually orbits Sol. Within this classic context of astronomy, this pattern continued with the assumption that the sun is the center of the galaxy, which in "over"turn was followed by the "Great Debate", debunking that the Milky Way was the entire universe. In regard to our spirituality in modern times, we claim to have a separation of church and state, a secular government. That is not entirely true yet, though. We still reference "God" in the pledge of allegiance every student is taught in school. Gay marriage is still illegal in several states due to reservations held by conservative thinkers. Isn't it obvious that as time goes on, people are gaining more rights, because our civilization is progressing (however slowly) to become more open-minded? Just consider how far people are coming from serfdom, monarchy, racial segregation, patriarchy, and other biases of the past to instead assume equality among individuals. It's an evolution from selective thinking to eventual ubiquity through acceptance of uniqueness, such as that found through the unifying technology of the internet, or the open-mindedness of meditative spirituality. It only makes sense to ditch the bigotry as soon as possible and cooperate more, in order to progress into a more sustainable and successful society.
In considering the universe philosophically, it is fulfilling to know who you really are, in a more holistic approach, instead of being trapped in the traditional teachings of current society. Religion is a natural evolution. Its teachings have evolved purely out of the fitness of individualism, love, work, and the like toward the reproductive statistics attributed to establishment of society and personal gain; that is to say, religion is critical to the establishment of society. But society is always globalizing, changing, heading toward spiritual awakeness, automation of work, massive virtual reality, unbounded equality, a primarily technoscientific consciousness, an artificial intelligence revolution, and a technological singularity. Such paradigm shifts will come more easily to those who have an open mind and a developed philosophical understanding. For example:
• What is real anyway?
• Is a virtual world just as worthy of your time if your senses find it to be equivalent to the supposed actual reality?
• Is there really any difference between the consciousness of a human and that of an advanced machine?
• Should you choose to die, when we have the technology to live forever?
• What happens when you die?
As you are interested, feel free to explore my writings and consider their merit for your own philosophy.