Dark Matter, God and Genetics

Ages ago (in the 1970’s), scientists looked out at the universe, did the math and wet themselves silently. The peripheral arms of galaxies weren’t acting right. There wasn’t enough gravity to make the stars in the arms move that fast.

Astronomers drove home, changed pants and got an idea.

Dark matter.

The essence of ghost flesh with gravity!

It seemed too convenient to some: We can’t see dark matter, can’t touch it and can’t detect it in a laboratory – at least not so far.

Nevertheless, science liked dark matter. Its existence was implied by the motion of galaxies.

We’re told it surrounds a galaxy like a halo, but without the angel’s head, so it’s not religious.

Don’t think of angels when you see galaxies. That wouldn’t be scientific.

History shows that geneticists also had a meltdown when they first discovered that DNA was too complex for their model of reality.

Don’t worry, they’ve gotten over it.

It was in the 1950’s when Barbara McClintock, a genius geneticist who single-handedly discovered genetic regulation strayed from the narrow path and discovered that genes are under complex control.

At the time it seemed like heresy.

The objective voices of science knew in their hearts that DNA was a simple, straight-forward thing. It had to be. It came from the mindless forces of mutation – how could it possibly be under some strange complicated control mechanism?

Barbara wanted to add impossible complexity to the simple DNA model of the time. It was unsettling. It felt dangerous and wrong.

They forced Barbara McClintock to stop publishing her seminal work.

The angels cried.

No, wait, that was dark matter, not angles. My bad.

You know how it feels when somebody in the Middle East takes a big hammer to an ancient statue? That’s how it feels to me when I think of those well-intentioned scientists censoring and destroying the career of the great Barbra McClintock.

May God forgive them, I’m having a little trouble.

Today the complexity of DNA and its layers of intricate control are becoming widely recognized. The complexity is staggering. The vocabulary of genetics journals is straight out of the Tower of Babel.

Still, science has barely scratched the surface of DNA’s unspeakable language. Epigenetic gene control adds another layer of complexity that was unimaginable in 1859 when the big question was laid to rest by Darwin.

It’s all random.

I can say from experience as a retired pathologist that the complexity of the human body, DNA’s end product, is beyond mind-boggling.

We still don’t know where the 3D blueprint lies or how it’s projected into space. I mean, how does an epidermal skin cell know it’s positioned on the edge of an eyelid rather than the bottom of a toe? It’s not enough to know you’re a skin cell or an osteoblast, you have to know where you are by means of some unseen three-dimensional hologram-like thing. I suspect it’s in the “junk DNA” they used to talk about a few years ago.

And how in the world do developing cells each find their spot during embryogenesis? Nobody knows, but it happens, and it implies another layer of complexity.

Science is rigidly compartmentalized, you know, like some secret project in Nevada. Most scientists have only a vague second-hand grasp of the body’s intricate structural, biochemical and electrical complexity.

Even in medical research everyone is narrowly focused and struggling to figure out what’s going on in their own tiny niche of the human internal reality – both physical and mental.

Yet like the thought police of Egyptology, modern geneticists must deny the relevance and persistence of the big question…

Who built this amazing stuff?

Khufu in 20 years with copper tools and stone hammers? That’s just embarrassing.

You might think it would be natural for geneticists to suggest modern answers to the biggest question that DNA raises: who wrote the code?

Unfortunately, the answer was ingrained in all fields of science long before modern genetics emerged to frame the question intelligently.

As any government-educated eighth grader can tell you, random mutation wrote the genetic code over endless eons.

There was no thinking.

If science needs a gravity halo, space is full of dark matter.

If they need a brilliant code writer, mindless genius fills the universe.

But science changes.

In fact, Stacy McGaugh of Case Western recently studied 150 spiral galaxies and did some calculations. He says,

“…it’s like God shouting, ‘There is something more to the theory of gravity, not something more to the mass of the universe!'” (See “What’s Up With Gravity” in New Scientist, March 18-24, 2017.)

McGaugh says that dark matter may not be entirely bogus (he’s being polite, I think), but tweaking gravity theory is where the truth lies for him. He thinks gravitational forces change at great distances, accounting for the high speed of the arms of galaxies.

Three cheers for the mainstream dark matter believers letting a heretic publish!

A similar questioning of entrenched belief goes on today in genetics.

The courageous Stephen Meyer, PhD, an Oxford grad, took a look at DNA from the perspective of a science historian, did the math and said that the universe isn’t anywhere near old enough for random mutation to produce the DNA code for one simple protein – let alone the thousands of huge ones that exist within their intricate feedback loops.

In his book, Signature in the Cell, he showed the math and said that the information in DNA looked to him like intelligent code writing. Even its organization in the molecule implied intelligent work.

In the halls of science you could hear a pin drop.

Meyer said we’ve seen robot factories making complex products from coded computer instructions. That should be a hint.

Science usually likes this sort of concrete thinking. For instance:

We know that a halo of regular matter would explain how galaxies spin, so all we’re saying is there’s a halo of invisible matter out there.

Brilliant idea, science decided.

A Martian might think that science would also like this idea:

We know that regular minds wrote the code for those Intel robots that make tiny chips, so all we’re saying is that invisible mind(s) wrote the code for the nanobots in our body’s cells.

Unseen matter – no problem.

Unseen mind(s) – forget it. That’s going too far.

But why? Aren’t all minds invisible?

Yes, but in the eye of science, all minds are not merely invisible, they’re illusions. They don’t exist at all.

Even the human minds that decided we don’t exist are an illusion. Doesn’t that inspire confidence?

These people aren’t kidding. And they own science.

By chance, the history of science on this planet has evolved by replacing non-material explanations (magic, bad humors, fairies, and finally God) with material explanations.

As a side effect, a geneticist can ruin her career today by conjuring up the ancient foe of science: a non-material explanation. Even if she doesn’t intend to, like Barbara McClintock.

At its core, science assumes that matter and energy are the only real things on the table. Everything else is derivative and reducible to matter and energy.

This includes your mind, your identity, your sense of free will, your love for your children, and your deepest intuitive sense of honor and fairness. They’re all illusions of the matter and energy that your brain is made of.

An illusion seems to be real but isn’t.

Nothing is real besides matter and energy. Everything is reducible to…

  1. Matter
  2. Energy.

Obviously they’re both mindless, lifeless and meaningless. Therefore everything is meaningless, including that sense of purpose you may derive from loving someone or helping someone weaker than you.

Does that view seems healthy? Is it essential to everything science is accomplishing?

Science doesn’t normally contrast this paradigm with an alternative, the way an objective thinker would do. They have a name for it, though…

Materialistic reductionism (MR).

Not a flattering name.

Even some atheists reject this model of reality. Thomas Nagal, for instance, denounces it in, Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.

One alternative to MR is this simple revision:

Reality is built upon three basic elements, not two:

  1. Energy
  2. Matter
  3. Mind

To me this adds realistic depth to science.

Suddenly I’m real in the eyes of science, and since observers influence measurements in quantum experiments, this fits the data. If matter and energy alone were real, how could an observer who’s just an illusion collapse the quantum wave function?

Whether we consider the “first” mind to be God or someone else – the universe itself, perhaps a mind hidden in the electromagnetic spectrum, or some sort of field being(s) who aren’t confined by time and space – thinking of the mind as fundamental rather than derivative, real instead of an illusion, helps explain the enigmatic complexity of DNA.

At this point in history, the Neo-Darwinian, mindless, meaningless model of the universe deserves a standard dose of scientific skepticism. And that’s putting it politely.

Modern genetics speaks of a universe where meaning and purpose are not false illusions, and diverse spiritual values are scientifically respectable.

 

53 thoughts on “Dark Matter, God and Genetics

  1. Pingback: The Great Mystery; you, me, God – Enlightenment

  2. The addition of mind in the duel of existence still leaves me cold. Existence here is incomplete and all fouled up. There has to be more than just mind. Maybe it is the creator of this DARK Matter…. who is left out. If I or mankind can comprehend the thinking it is far short of understanding. Simple reverse engineering is easy compared to creating. We can not reverse engineer life at all, in my opinion we will never create life. This means only using raw material not bio scraps and grafts. Thank you for your Thoughtful blog, it helped give a platform to think on for sure. There is something missing in science because they only look at a fraction of God. It is a blindness.,…
    With thanks
    Denny

    • Karen Meginnis

      Denny I agree; I’ve been searching for the words i need here and I think I finally am close; my deepest human impulse seems to be to commune with a God who is vast beyond all hope of comprehension. Believe this is because intuitively I know that this is also my own nature; if you try to reduce me to any sort of explanation of what I’m made of and how I work, you cannot succeed without attempting to cut out the most essential part, the truth about me.

      Which is that I am part of the Whole, a local face on something vast, infinite and completly mysterious. Utterly unutterable in any spoken language, yet always present in every expression of unselfish love, ever giving itself to us and through us as we allow it.

      It is present in every expression of spontaneous play as well, whether by humans or animals or even the play of stars and galaxies across the universe.

      And this Great Mystery is finally present in the expression of every moment, every action no matter how imperfect or inconsequential. And so we know It most intimately when we are also.

    • It may be that “God” would be a more straight-forward word than “Mind” in this discussion. For me, that works. For some, it doesn’t. I don’t yet understand why.

      I personally favor the concept of God being literally the substance of all matter and energy, as well as the creator and designer of everything.

      I do think that there may come a time, if it hasn’t come already in some private laboratory, when simple viruses will be designed and built from scratch. Of course, the ability to do this will only come through “reading” God’s code of existing viruses and learning the language, that is, learning how genetic phrases can be placed together to form specific protein structures that haven’t been seen before in nature. You’re right that this is retro-engineering, the same way that a child who learns English hasn’t created a new language. Also, viruses are arguably not true life forms.

      But if a being other than God were able to learn the genetic code well enough to design a higher life form, that wouldn’t make them God. God most likely designed this Universe right down to the laws of physics, some of which we humans may be incapable of understanding.

      But if an insightful, honest Atheist like Negal is willing to allow “mind” into the discussion as something that is real – a true building block of reality – I’m happy to try and understand what he’s saying and perhaps contribute to the discussion. To me, he has opened a door for scientists to believe in a literal God. About a third of them already do, I’m told.

      Scientists are rapidly becoming the spiritual priests and value definers of Western culture. They already control spiritual thought in Western schools, TV and Hollywood. It might be helpful to humanity if believers in God learned to speak their language, especially when scientists show willingness to doubt their own assumptions, or at least admit they’ve made (anti-spiritual) assumptions that can’t be tested.

      If Science would simply admit (especially to young people in schools) that the assumptions of scientific materialism and reductionism are truly assumptions, not self-evident facts, it would no longer be considered mandatory for educated people to believe that our Universe is devoid of God, meaning and purpose. Science might even step back from its current dictatorial place in spiritual/ religious discussions in the halls of education.

      At a gut level, it seems to me that it would be healthier for humanity to believe that our lives can have purpose and meaning rather than being “scientifically” pointless.

      Currently science insists that the Universe is, for absolute sure, a meaningless place. To think otherwise is considered gross ignorance. That needs to change. It’s shallow, unrealistic and detrimental to the mental health of young people.

      • There is truth in science when Empirical fact is recorded. All truth belongs to God. This is the narrowing of the world to control the mind in empirical science. Science has undermined itself by making the leap into faith in Believing in things that they cannot see or empirically prove.

        This idea of scientific faith is what is replacing God in my opinion. When faith started in science, believing theory as fact is when science elevated itself above God. The real challenge is to get scientists to see their faith in their theories and guesses to enter a reasoning conversation about faith in God.

        One thing for sure., God said without faith it is impossible to please him. It takes faith to be a believer in God. It takes more faith to be if believer in science and its ever-changing principles/facts. The most frustrating thing is that God loves them just as much is he loves any believer. How to reason with them to help understanding and not inflaming problems, I like your common ground ideas. You are way beyond me in understanding the science. Be the missionary God is called to to be in your realm of science. Keep up the blogs! I like them.

        • Thank you, Denny. It’s difficult to communicate across the isle with some Atheists because of the name calling and anger that erupts, few minds are ever changed that way. But if some of these ideas can reach young people before they’ve made the assumption that reality is obviously mechanical (reducible to matter and energy) then the world will be a better place. Less depression, more kindness and spirituality.

  3. Ok–so you sparked a few thoughts and comments, really an entire essay, and if it’s too long to really fit here, I would invite you to maybe copy paste for your own perusal and please go ahead and delete here. But I hope it sparks some additional ideas from you 🙂

    Nice piece, thoughtful and also some new information. I like the info on dark matter, DNA’S level of complexity. On that second one, have you ever read “Science Set Free”? The author, *apparently* an accomplished scientist and a critic of science on scientific grounds, suggests the possibility of self-organizing matter (and the organic or living things it eventually has lead to here) having “resonating fields” which guide formation of impossibly complex simple things like electron fields in (it’s been a while, but) compounds, crystals, etc, and which learn from each other by resonance like tuning forks so that a crystal formation that took maybe 50 years of attempts to get it to happen suddenly starts happening all over the planet once it has happened just a few times. Also, “morphogenic fields”–I’m even fuzzier on this, but he seemed to think these may guide the formation of the material system they are attached to. So me he really seemed to be talking about a “scientific” way of saying mind fields or souls…

    Also, in both yoga and Buddhism mind is considered a more mechanistic, non-conscious system or “mental apparatus”, and consciousness is considered to be a step above mind. In yoga, consciousness is seen as the ultimate reality–also spoken of as “life essence” and “That”, and individual consciousnesses are “eternal souls” which then eventually realize/re-remember their oneness with the ultimate consciousness which is above and beyond everything. In yoga, that consciousness is really beyond any definition and so not reducible to mechanistic explanations, it has a will and a creative capacity. Often we refer to this consciousness as composing everything else out of itself, so that matter and energy are really just illusory manifestations of what is actually just consciousness at play. An extremely fascinating “do it yourself” experiment you can do as a meditator at a certain point of development is to evaporate a powerful emotional energy such as a panic attack in a few moments, simply by letting your direct experience of pure consciousness make contact with your emotion wherever it is originating in your body–yogis seem to predict this is the sort of result you get when everything is made out of consciousness–it becomes I guess a kind of “universal solvent” under the right conditions.

    Buddhists confounded me for a bit when they explained that the Buddha saw consciousness as not really existing but rather sort of “doing” the action of noticing sensory input that the mind delivered to it, the Buddha apparently describing consciousness sort of showing up to perform the operation of noticing and deciding what to do with the information, and then the mind, which also doesn’t really exist but is only a flow of ongoing actions; the mind carrying out the instructions of consciousness.

    In fact (I wrote all this to you in my mind this morning and now that I’m getting to put it down it’s a bit out of order, sorry), the Buddha actually taught that there is no such thing as an “object” that “exists”–he said that everything that looks like a solid object is in fact a flow of activity, a “formation” which is just kind of what a particular object, a mountain or your hand, “look like to the senses” at as their activity flows over the horizon of the present moment in your perception and awareness. So for instance, Buddhists will encourage you (Theravada tradition anyway) to say, “there is no one walking; there is only walking” In this way they draw your attention to the nonexistance of things, and the flow of being in the present moment, and then up to the mind that is recording these impressions from the senses, and up from there to the consciousness that is paying attention to them–which is a great sensation when you really feel your consciousness sort of popping into existence in a really fast strobe-like fashion in correspondence with the phenomenal world also popping into existence, rapid fire, many times a second, as (this is my words, not sure if others would agree) potentiality seems to coalesce first through probability and then into actuality over the knife’s edge of the present and then disappear again into the non-being of the past.

    But that brings us to the fun part; because at this point you begin to sense that behind consciousness is something that, unlike matter and energy, mind and consciousness, doesn’t change. It’s still, but in a kind of extremely high and fine vibration that is very pleasurable, energizing and soothing to feel; utterly calming. I don’t really know what I would think of this if I didn’t have all the prior training before hand, but to me it seems like the finest vibration, a sort of Master vibration, which is inside of every other lower or coarser vibration of the various objects and feelings and actually absolutely everything else that exists. It’s like the yogis saying everything is made out of consciousness, the Buddhists say that consciousness is actually a slightly coarser vibrational flow which is itself made up of this no-thingness master vibration which can’t be broken down further. When you experience this, you are utterly at peace, full of bliss, having no feeling of needing or wanting anything, because even the finest pleasures are basically dogfood by comparison.

    And I tell you all this to say; in science things are usually said to made of smaller things; and the larger “whole” thing, seems to not exist because it is really an illusion created by the semblance of smaller things (which by that logic probably don’t exist either, right? since they also are composed of smaller things)–but in yoga and Buddhism, it is tacitly held that the greatest “whole”–whether consciousness or no-thingness, is not “composed of the smaller objects”, but rather composes them of it’s own accord; that the “whole is in the parts”, that the parts are actually “fracitionated” or fragmented out of the whole (sort of like red light being refracted out of white); for instance, “no-thingness” which can’t be reduced to any set of words no matter how well thought out or wise or long the description is, but one way to think of it is as “infinite potential”. This is what Adyashanti called it in a book I read recently–actually he said that we (who are also this whole) are infinite potential. Anyway–that it “manifests” or “emanates” into various objects and phenomena such as you and me, the finite people–but that really wer’e all part of a universal field anyway, not the illusory fragments we think of ourselves as being. For the Buddha this illusion of “Being” an fragmentary “self” was the beginning of the cause of suffering, because A. it’s not the truth, and B. it makes you nervous to imagine you are such a limited, vulnerable and constantly changing (right up to and including dying) self, and that’s where the trouble begins.

    My take–telling us that we “don’t exist” as conscious beings with minds, only compounds that original problem. Buddhist Nonbeing or no-thingness is not the same thing though– it is a higher reality than being or flowing; it is that infinitely peaceful, self-sustaining “something” which is beyond all qualities of “thingness” and “being” and change.

    So–when you talk about mind creating things, the yogis would say consciousness creates mind so that it can design or do what consciousness wills, but mind is still just a thing. And the Buddhists take one more step back to recognize something ultimately behind consciousness, that doesn’t even need to exist in order to create everything that is.

    • Thank you, Karen, for your inspired comment. You bring depth of thinking and genuine experience to the subject.
      I haven’t read “Science Set Free” but I’ll definitely put it on my list. Thank you.
      I am, however, familiar with the concepts of self-organizing matter and morphogenic fields. I like both, partly because they fit into one of my speculative mental images of a reality in which all beings once lived with the Supreme Being in a nice place, but each of us eventually wondered what we would be like without God around. To accommodate our curiosity, God created a place called 229 H Street where God’s mind hides from us by being everywhere – inherent in the fabric of things: matter, energy, the laws of physics as well as the overall neuronal structure of the entire electric universe. When each person is ready, he or she walks down to 229 H Street dressed casually with a pet or two and enters the thing we call reality, bringing only their intuitive sense of integrity, their free will and their pets. The Universe accessible on H Street has a beginning, a middle and an end, after which it starts over. When it starts over, each person switches places with someone else. When the cycle has repeated enough times to where everyone has lived a life in everyone else’s physical or non-physical shoes, the Universe’s purpose is over and the place becomes a popular pizza parlor for all eternity. Everyone moves on to a new adventure involving pizza and God – each of us wiser and more loving for having lived in this glorious and difficult place. Of course, it would be far beyond a remarkable coincidence if any of this myth I’ve put together turns out to be accurate, but I’m fairly sure it’s got a better chance than the myth of Neo-Darwinism with its absence of mind/intelligence/consciousness/love as well as meaning and purpose. What a depressing place Science wants us to believe we’re stuck in!
      I think the morphogenic fields that guide the development and organization of galaxies are probably electromagnetic plasma fields and are similar if not identical to the hologram-like fields or forces that guide cells during embryogenesis. I suspect that they were studied long ago in Ancient India and will be rediscovered the moment Western Science pulls its head out of the sand and stops trying to force reality into its superstitious assumption of materialistic reductionism. I suspect that there will be a fairly concrete explanation of embryogenesis involving DNA and the body’s electromagnetism, but I could be wrong. It may be that the mind/consciousness/beingness inherent in matter and energy will be the correct explanation. The one thing that I hold on to is the notion that the Awareness, or Consciousness or Mind responsible for my existence must likely be at least as capable of engaging in conversation as I am, at least as able to love and experience emotion as I am, and almost certainly more so. The traditions that want to place awareness and consciousness above the other aspects of mind seem to me to be taking a portion of what a healthy mind is/does and elevating that part above the whole. It’s true that yoga and other forms of meditation that quiet the human mind and increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex will lead to a more balanced life as well as various experiences of euphoria, even lasting euphoria for some individuals, though there may be side effects of memory problems and loss of interest in fiction I’ve been told (“Ongoing Nonsymbolic Experience”). I agree with those who say that humanity needs this sort of mental medicine in order to overcome our pattern of self-destructive violence, but I resist the notion that Mind, Intelligence, Awareness, Consciousness are inherently hierarchical. I think they are parts of a whole being. “As below, so above,” I guess.
      I really have no problem with the concept that matter and energy are not fundamental building blocks of our reality and that Consciousness or Something Behind consciousness is the only true building block. It’s just that I see personhood as that Something, rather than an impersonal reality or a nothingness. Science doesn’t want personhood to be real. From what I understand of Buddhism, they feel a similar need to rid the universe of ultimate personhood. They are probably right and I’m probably wrong, but I would feel so alone if I didn’t think an actual Person was responsible for my personhood and was capable of understanding and listening to me. It would be analogous to blogging without anyone reading your stuff. I did that for a few years. Very lonely.
      But I’m not comfortable writing off Buddhism. That tradition, like all the others including Christianity and Hinduism reflect an infinitely greater wisdom than I will ever have. On the other hand, science is probably only capable of gradually improving reliability in the realms of matter and energy, and should avoid dogmatic myths that try to define meaning and purpose (or the lack thereof) for us.

      • Very interesting reply 🙂 I confess, I have pink eye today, so I sort of skimmed the part about 229 (?), but I got the rest. Personal God–yeah, that’s kind of tough for us personal beings, I think it’s pretty human nature to want your deity to be personal. My teachers said that true yoga metaphysics actually teaches that there is a *Transpersonal* God–A someone who is in all persons and also between them–one teacher used the example of a swimming pool. If you put a door in a swimming pool between one part and the next, the same water is on both sides. personality here, one there, but “water” is throughout all, experiencing the world as you and me and also in a more wholistic way as all and beyond all. it doesn’t completely take away the sting of wanting a personal god for me, but I guess it tells me that such a god would comprehend everything I want to say to it and everything I feel, and much, much more; so I find myself relating to “It” as a person–because that’s simpler, less complex than as the Whole, which is so much more than I could guess. So–I guess Personal for me is kind of a concept I use to limit god a tad when I need someone a little less infinite and a little more defined.

        But this brings us to the concept of loneliness, in my opinion; which I was experiencing pretty strongly the other day, and a friend suggested this article which gives a Buddhist’s idea of how accepting and experiencing loneliness can be key to intimacy with oneself: https://www.lionsroar.com/six-kinds-of-loneliness/ The article was very helpful and I was able to settle into a lovely, sweet experience of loneliness after a bit of meditation, without becoming depressed or anxious, and realized that learning to commune with my loneliness is actually very helpful on a path which, for me, incorporates that experience and then also adds a sense of communion with all other beings in the universe (we are to the Buddha all a single whole, so we’re not just alone–we’re also in constant contact and communion with countless beings, including the (probably conscious) souls of our galaxy and solar system and sun, and those organic and inorganic entities all around and in us including the earth itself, the cells of our bodies (both those sharing my DNA and without my DNA), and even the molecules, atoms, particles and waves in and around our bodies.

        It’s a really interesting experiment to lay down and being to let yourself sense all the cells in your body, and contemplate the various layers “auric fields” which surround and permeate your body and also exist in their own form in and around every single cell, and in an important and meaningful way, I suspect, around every molecule and atom. I did this for a while last night, feeling (to the best of my ability) these layers and inviting the Mother’s help (I have generally called God my Mother or Lover (Freud laughs at me continuously) in permeating all of those layers with consciousness and attuning all of them to each other, balancing, allighning them as well, and then doing the same with all of my cells and molecules and atoms, so that, to the best of my ability to sense it and invite it, we all became attuned to one another and began to resonate with one another, in a way that felt to be a very deep, immediate and sweet communion. Then after I found myself extending outwardly in the same manner, to the world, the earth, the moon sun and planets, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe, the Mother….Loneliness always being a sweet part of that experience, and balanced so beautifully with communion.

        So: personal god? Why settle for that when you can have not only that but so much more?

        i had other thoughts, but will save them for another day and another comment 😉

        • That’s a beautiful picture of a Divine Mother you’ve painted. I like the personal aspect best, though all the other aspects certainly add meaning and texture to the experience of Her. To me, human nature is not entirely the inferior, lowly thing we are told. When it causes me to see a Personal Being rather than an impersonal essence above the stratosphere of my heart, I don’t feel that’s necessarily a reflection of my inadequacy or immaturity as a human. It could just as easily be the most accurate internal guide anyone has. That’s how I look at it, in fact, though I’m wrong about a great many things, without a doubt.
          My 229 H Street myth has no claim of accuracy or reality, but I sort of like it because it doesn’t require me to limit myself to a single group’s “infallible” vision of reality. (Been there, done that.) 229 is just a pick-and-choose thing from which pink eye has graciously spared you, though I do hope you get over it very soon. It can be quite uncomfortable.
          The article you linked for me (thank you) begins: “To be without a reference point is the ultimate loneliness. It is also called enlightenment.”
          In this Universe, I think there’s great truth to that. I think we were put here without a reference point because we wondered (each of us long ago) what we would be like in a place without the physical presence of God constantly influencing us.
          The article also says this, “We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity.”
          I agree that it’s useful to get comfortable with paradox and ambiguity since there’s so much of it going around. Many people do this by following a group dogma with an infallible story that reduces the ambiguity of life, if not the paradoxes. Ironically, even Buddhists seem to want a literal true story about the Buddha and how his teachings are infinitely more accurate than anyone else’s. They ask us to get comfortable with emotional pain by a specific technique that seems to actually work for many people, perhaps all. Like Science, the Buddhists have things that work. But like all medications, the emotional peace that comes through Buddhism and meditation has potential side effects, some good, some perhaps not so good for certain individuals, such as the memory problems reported, the loss of interest in fiction and the loss of interest in the true stories of other people’s lives. I find meditation and yoga to be greatly helpful, but that fact doesn’t prove to me that the Buddhist worldview is accurate, any more than the Thyroid pills I take for hypothyroidism prove to me that science is correct in their worldview. My approach at this point is to pick and choose for myself from every available source of wisdom, rather than jumping fully into one of the great world traditions, though I respect them all, especially the ones with which I have more than passing familiarity.

          • Thyroid–me too.
            Buddhists–there are several flavors; seems like it depends on who you talk to as to how strongly they “cling” to the ideas on the subject. I recently read the following on the subject, which I found refreshing and inviting of curiosity and creativity:

            “Students have not been getting to the root of the aim of Zen, instead taking the verbal teachings of Buddhas and Zen masters to be the ultimate rule. That is like ignoring a hundred thousand pure clear oceans and only focusing on a single bubble.”
            Ying-an
            The Pocket Zen Reader, tr. by Thomas Cleary, p. 136

            (not my find–this was posted by a teacher I sometimes attend).

            You are perhaps one who enjoys playfully popping a few bubbles while looking for the several that hold more water? And even making a few of your own I observe 🙂

            A true mystic doesn’t believe anything in a sense; I know this is not where you wish to hang your hat, but I can’t seem to help myself 🙂 I love the stories of Moses wandering around in the desert in mystical ecstasy telling God things like “I want to wash your feet, I want to care for you like a little baby”… the Great Mystery took hold of me in my teens and eventually tears up every mental scaffolding I try to erect, sooner or later-but first I get the goods I can get whatever goods I can scavenge from that framework LOL
            I have the deepest desire to just plain drown in the oceans that the bubbles float on. I’ve learned that to really do this well it seems helpful to learn how to be very balanced mentally, so that you can drown and still function LOL

            Personal gods–interesting points. The drowning I mention–feels like the deepest love affair, which I don’t know if that’s because God is so personal too me, along with being a lot of other things, or what, but I think so. Perhaps resonating with your take on this, I see the personal self as one of the many sacred expressions of God; so that I am That, and That is also happy to be an I to my thou when I desire that, which I often do, because God expressed itself as me in the first place so, why wouldn’t she?

            I like your 229–will be back later. Pink eye has improved a lot over the last few hours…

            Memory loss–I don’t now anything about this, but I’ve considered a moment and I guess it seems not overly surprising. Awakening can be pretty traumatic. What I am definitely aware of is the erasing or neutralizing of painful emotions which accompany many memories and keep them (as someone has told me) “active in the short term memory” where they apparently take up bandwidth. After this happens most such memories do tend to fade as they aren’t very interesting most of the time, without the drama.

            I am curious if you have heard about physiological and/or neurological activities, changes, and side effects related to the practice of raising kundalini energy up the spine, and through the top of head (anterior fontanelle?). I recall seeing pictures passed around on facebook last year of imaged brains which supposedly compared a brain that was meditating and one that was not, and stated that the meditating brain showed little or now activity. It did in each case look dark compared to the other, for what that’s worth.

            In this practice you find your awareness in this place of bliss and a sense of bright yellow “light” where there is no mental chatter, yet you can think whatever you want to think. It’s just very focused and purposeful thought, and the light/bliss sensation seems to soothe and pacify you so that you don’t want to do anything else but stay there and continue as long as your body will sit upright. Patanjali described this as “seer, seeing, and seen” being reunited in one’s perceptions into the unity that was before we became individuals; Later yogis said this was a kind of dead end, and I agree. I at least didn’t really develop anything new or interesting till I decided to study Buddhism, where this sort of state is wedded to 6 other “factors of enlightenment” including clear perception and right thinking, but more importantly “Rapture” which really translates as loving kindness, compassion and 2 other forms of non-romantic love I tend to forget. This seemed to open up possibilities for exploration in meditation and also in the world or relationships, ideas.

            Buddhists that I know seem to have the best ideas about love/compassion as desiring celebrate others’ happiness and relieve others’ suffering; but I think we could add to this: to let others show compassion to us. Part of compassion, to me is learning that I need others to help heal me too, even non-Buddhists–even fiction writers.

            You know, I loved fiction btw, until last fall; have to say I don’t really get interested in it much any more. Not really sure why that is exactly. In terms of psychology, though I think it comes down to being far less interested in desire, suffering and drama. My son, also a writer, often says things like, “in order to write good fiction you have to ruin the characters’ lives” I never liked that but admitted it seemed to be true in most things I read. All of that used to get me going at least; now I just don’t care. If they are an actual human being, well then I care about them, but….ah…here we go…I don’t *identify* with the fictional characters much anymore because I know they’re not real. Why don’t I? My first response is, I don’t desire like they do (not nearly as much anyway), I don’t think of them as on a mission to try to grapple with and solve the thing I grapple with…yet…what if I read a book about a fictitious mystic who was nearly fully formed but struggling to finish the path? Not sure…I guess I would feel impatient really; thinking “just give me the issues she faces in an outline and let me go experience the solutions myself? Not sure….

            Ok–any medical information on the reason for loss of interest in non-fiction?

            You know for a while I’ve really thought about the author more than the characters anyway–“what problems is this author working on in their personal life that they are expressing in some more or less veiled way here? How could I conceivably help them with those?”

            Ok, very tired now, going to take a nap.

            You might want to just email me if we talk anymore.

            Probably best to wait a day or so first as this needs rest to be rational 🙂

            Karenmeginnis7@gmail.com.

            • I like the idea of not taking the verbal teachings of “Buddhas and Zen Masters” to be the ultimate rule. Great quote, thanks.

              I think all roads lead north with few if any exceptions. That is to say that each religious/ spiritual tradition can elevate humanity. Even Atheism (which is fundamentally spiritual, though it can’t be proven) can bring a person closer to God, in my opinion, by allowing a person to sense right and wrong the way I’d imagine God does – doing what’s right because it makes sense, not because a higher power must be obeyed. Not that Atheism is accurate in teaching God’s absence, but there’s always a positive spiritual lesson to be learned, even if spirituality doesn’t seem to exist for Atheists.

              I’d be depressed if I thought there was no God to talk to. But I’ll never know what it’s like to operate from a moral framework that lacks a Supreme Being. So that’s a spiritual lesson I’ll never learn in this lifetime.

              I would imagine that God feels a special kinship to Atheists because of the similarity of their situations.

              When I was a child in a rock band, my truest friend was an Atheist – the bass player. He still goes out of his way to do what’s right because it is right. No fear of punishment and no hope of reward in a next life. That’s got to warm God’s heart!

              I think you’re wise to embrace the useful parts of every spiritual tradition or scaffolding you encounter, even if you eventually feel the need to move on.

              My wife’s grandfather was the first Buddhist Priest in Hawaii. He used to say that all roads lead up the same mountain. I never had the privilege of meeting him, but I’ve taken his words to heart.

              I agree that learning how to be balanced mentally is essential in all aspects of life, especially in the spiritual realm where it’s so easy to be swept away. And in my limited view, I think that meditation and many aspects of Buddhism offer that balance, especially if one doesn’t take the verbal teachings to be the ultimate rule.

              It’s interesting how academic psychologists like Steven Hayes have adopted the teachings of awareness straight from yoga. (See “Get Out of Your Mind and Into you Life – the new acceptance and commitment therapy.”)

              Yes, I do tend to pop bubbles. But I try to hang on to things that work and concepts that make sense to me, like the Coder of DNA being capable of understanding English.

              I think the luckiest thing that happened to me was learning to trust God with the final outcome for my soul. So much of religion seems to focus on the fearful question of what God might do to “my soul” in the next life. Once you realize that God is at least as supportive of you as you are of yourself, the worry is over. Whatever happens, it’s exactly what you would choose for yourself if you knew the big picture.

              The concept that each of us is truly God in the deepest sense may be entirely or partly true. Schrodinger’s “one mind” may be as literal as he meant it. My inability to be sure of it rests partly with the ingrained humility I live with, which makes me feel uncomfortable equating myself with the Ultimate Greatness. I’ve had my ego crushed enough to make me resist that potential truth for emotional reasons. But I know that God is rooting for me (and each one of us) as wholeheartedly as if God were actually me. So I do believe in one mind/ One Being at that level, at least.

              I’m encouraged to hear that your awakening has taken the sting out of many negative emotions. I’ve found emotional help in meditation as well as in limiting my carbohydrate intake to the point of mild ketosis (assisted with medium chain triglycerides), an easy version of “high intensity intermittent training,” and quitting a profession that was, I think, literally poisoning me (pathology practice).

              I see a parallel between yoga meditation where you sit and expose yourself to your negative emotions as they come while allowing them to drift by without upsetting you… and the technique of exposing a person with a phobia to gradually more and more of the feared experience. Both work in practice.

              I haven’t heard of any negative side effects associated with kundalini specifically. I would just steer clear of dominant personalities who might seek to control your worldview, your decision making and your money. Whenever there’s a drug or a practice that works, many people are tempted to step in and partake in gold-mining the situation. It’s easy to avoid them by going with only free services and soft-spoken, non-dogmatic, humble leaders.

              It’s true that slow breathing shunts blood to the prefrontal cortex. There is a “pleasure center” of sorts there on the left, so I’ve read. For me, this kind of reality doesn’t detract from the spiritual nature of the experience because I’m not a reductionist or a materialist. On the contrary, knowing how something works shows that the experience is part of God’s coding of our DNA.

              I love what you’re saying about Buddhism’s six other factors of enlightenment. Especially the rapture of loving kindness and the importance of clear perception and right thinking.
              I think most of the meaning of life stems from this rapture of loving kindness, however it may come to us. I think a rapture of love expresses how God feels toward us all the time, not just for an hour after meditating – haha. When this feeling flows through us to others, we’re truly alive.

              I think you’re probably right about Buddhism having the strongest insight into compassion. Many of the sayings attributed to Jesus, and especially his overall example of healing sick people, speak strongly of compassion and give us a look at it, but there are always those “difficult passages” to deal with if one makes the Bible an infallible likeness of God. (To me, such fundamentalism is limited in usefulness because, for some people, it shuts down rational as well as creative thinking and elevates a book to the practical equivalent of God, in terms of infallibility.)

              It’s so interesting that you’ve lost your love of fiction as a result of meditation – if I understand correctly. I may be suffering this same side effect, to a lesser degree. I took a $2,000 meditation course not long ago. After paying my money and signing pages of legal documents, the instructor, a PhD, informed us of the likely side effects of reaching his version of enlightenment (called “ongoing nonsymbolic experience”). I was eight weeks into the course – half way through – when I realized he wasn’t exaggerating about the side effects. One of the people in my group was complaining of marked short-term memory loss. Other were showing signs of it. That’s when I quit, but when I got back to writing fiction (after a few months of kidney stones, etc.) I constantly found myself drawn to nonfiction and away from fiction. I find TV and movies less entertaining now.

              What your son says about hurting his characters is exactly what held me back in my blog-novel “Hapa Girl DNA.” I loved that girl almost like a daughter – so much that I couldn’t stand to make her go through all the horrible things a readable story requires. I can totally relate to what your son is saying.

              As for medical reasons for this change, all I have is this: the brain is plastic. When a neuron fires together with another neuron, this signals the oligodendrocytes to wrap those two axons or dendrites together. So when you meditate you’re re-wiring your brain quite literally. The more hours you put into the firing of the new groups of neurons (used in meditation) the broader and more dominant their physical paths become in the brain. At some point, the new paths become so large they dominate and become the path of least resistance.

              It’s just the opposite of learning to ruminate over negative thoughts – which, incidentally, my background in fundamentalist Christianity taught me to do during prayer, when at the end of each day I would, for years, mentally gather all the negative things I had done that day, feel as badly as possible about them, then beg God for forgiveness. Not good mental hygiene. (Don’t try this at home, haha.)

              So meditating has helped me get over my habit of ruminating on negative events, but it’s also diminished my enthusiasm for fiction – at least temporarily. I’ll probably get back to normal eventually.

              Or maybe I’ll get the courage to write nonfiction.

              • Wow. so much to respond to here. I must say, I was hoping you hadn’t been meditating, given your love of fiction. If you had been I had been thinking something like, well, ok, hopefully lack of interest in fiction will not be so bad because you’ll maybe have something else you also love? Such as say, nonfiction 🙂 But yes, based on your explanation we would think staying away from meditation would help. Also possibly finding something related reading and also writing fiction to do each day for a short period of time and building to a slightly longer period of time as tolerable? This is based partly on your piece about the book you used to teach your brain speed reading. Of course, you have to go easy at first, and also make sure to choose the activity for each to be as enjoyable/interesting as you can possibly make it. If you enjoy children’s books, that would be one way to start. I used to adore finding all the most gorgeously illustrated, most truly creative children’s books out of the library every week or so to read to my boys…and they all love reading a great deal. No I’m going to have to warn them to avoid meditation it sounds like…ouch.

                Oh, and the other idea to help get back your fiction mojo is: have 2 or 3 such sessions per day, of shorter duration (which may be all you can take at first anyway). I say this because you gave me an idea for my own issue which turns out to be working very well (which by the way, have been meaning to thank you). My issue is fibromyalgic pain. I read last fall that the Buddha taught his followers how to send enjoyable sensations into their limbs so that they could continue to meditate past the point where they would normally have given up due to pain/soreness. I was very encouraged by this and began to attempt the same with basically my whole body, and did achieve some gains but only for a few minutes per session, and not nearly strong enough to counter the pain signals.

                After reading your post on the brain plasticity book and your success with speed reading (oh that I could do this–may attempt it at some point), I saw that more could be done with less as you pointed out. Also it seems to me that if you can *enjoy* doing the task involved, 2 or 3 times a day, you may accomplish more sooner. This is in fact what I’ve been doing. I spend a few minutes during each meditation session (usually 2 or 3/day, as it is currently feasible) I’ve been focusing with yogic “effortless effort” on breathing endorphins into all my body parts, especially areas where there is a lot of pain. This effort fades after a bit and then I may come back to it before the meditation is done, but I also have this advantage that I’m already in a state of “total” (or close, whatever) concentration. And the meditation feels good, so it is an act that is it’s own reward.

                I’m really happy to say that after only a few days I’ve already seen significant improvement in my pain/pleasure control. I slept through the night 2 nights in a row, only needing 7 hours to get 7 hours of sleep. For me this is basically a miracle. Then during the day I’ve had moments where I would find myself feeling a hell of a lot of pain and would just breath endorphins back into the painful areas, and happily I got very significant reduction in pain; heck, the areas largely felt GOOD for a change. In the past I would have the idea that this general practice “should” work, but it would always seem that the pain was just more vivid than any countermeasure. So; thank you. I haven’t even read the book yet; there are other meditative uses I suspect it may also be good for.

                Fundamentalism–yeah….but I was wounded before they found me…but they didn’t help LOL

                I do like how you envision god feeling toward us–this is in fact how I feel toward god, most of the time. Wish I felt this way toward me a tad more, but everything takes time, comes in stages.

                Osho’s entourage turned out to involve some such gold miners, as a modern day example…

                The very knowledgeable teacher of a local buddhist group said the Buddha was asked by his disciples something about had he told them the whole truth, everything there is to know. They were in a forest at the time and the story goes he picked up a hand full of leaves and said something to the effect that, “these leaves in my hand represent all of the truth I’ve taught you; and all those leaves left in the forest are how much additional truth is out there.” I’m not nearly studied enough to have a way of guessing whether the Buddha was a historical figure, but these sorts of stories are one of the reason why I’m of the opinion that the textual evidence generally supports it; I mean, what religion do you know that would have let their founder say that if in fact they could avoid it? Same thing with him not being called a god by the scriptures either, for that matter.

                Yes, regarding yoga and Buddhism both as more advanced psychology in many ways, and so long ago. I often think that mental health professionals today have literally not the vaguest idea for the most part, that their most sophisticated theories 1. Were based on 2K plus-old eastern traditions, and 2. Are not nearly so put together as the original. I could tell you stories. Now, i would day Object Relations Theory did seem to be fairly nuanced when I studied it years ago; but it still acted as though desires creating personality was a good thing and not part of the problem. You may disagree, no problem; but I have serious doubts.

                On Hapa Girl–I feel for you. I’ve seen what Mike does to his characters, and I have to say, it takes a stout heart to do that. I don’t know that I could have caused my characters that level of pain, unless maybe I used them pretty transparently (to myself anyway) as a surrogates to work on my own issues.

                Ok, gotta close down for the night…

                Sleep well, God needs you to write her a story of her life tomorrow 🙂

                • I think meditation helped my love of fiction as well as my creativity before I took that course and spent too many hours each day meditating – for eight weeks. For me, that was out of balance. But on the other hand, being able to rise above the drama of emotional pain associated with the human condition may be worth it for most, if not all people.

                  The side effects of “Ongoing Nonsymbolic Experience” came in relation to a person’s success in achieving various hierarchical levels (with numbers attached!) of O.N.E., according to the PhD leading the “study.” The worst side effect he listed was something to the effect that if you reach a high enough level (level IV, I think) you would lose all emotion, including love. I wrote the man a couple of times and suggested that he might list the possible side effects before taking people’s money, but he never wrote back.

                  Anyway, nothing is perfect. If I were suffering severe depression for whatever reason, I would meditate a ton, give up all love of fiction and a lot more to escape the nightmare of anhedonia. Balance probably isn’t the same (in its specifics) for everybody.

                  I think part of the problem causing my recent loss of motivation for finishing the novel I’m halfway through lies in the fact that I’m a “seat-of-the-pants” writer by nature, which makes me accustomed to experiencing a sort of lifelike relationship with my characters. The novel I’m doing now has an outline that I’m trying to follow. Plus, in writing it, I was blazing ahead, one chapter after another without the perfectionist’s constant editing that I normally do, a terrible habit in most ways, but not all bad in terms of connecting emotionally with the characters. And then there’s the violence (or at least constant conflict) that almost necessarily has to happen in readable sf, and after I write a violent scene my mind is full of this question: “Is this what I really want to contribute to the world? More violence?” So I’ve got multiple reasons for hitting the wall. It’s probably for the better.

                  I’m glad you’re making progress in overcoming your fibromyalgic pain. I think I may have experienced a tiny hint of that intense pain myself, years ago. For a while, every time I sneezed I’d have a strange and intense pain under my arms that would last for half a minute or so. It may not have been related to fibromyalgia at all, but it hurt worse than anything and seemed to have no reasonable cause.

                  In my reading of the non-mainstream health related literature I’ve come across claims of success in treating fibromyalgia. I don’t remember the specifics, but if I can come across them again, I’ll let you know. You’ve certainly read more than I have about it.

                  I like the concept of “effortless effort” that you mention. There’s a lot to that concept. When I was writing “Hapa Girl” I would read nonfiction and watch fringe videos (fringe medicine, fringe UFO stuff, etc.) until an idea would click in my mind and I felt that I’d discovered something worth sharing, then I’d effortlessly (also artlessly) weave it into the story. It was a slow process, but like meditation, it was a reward in itself. If I tried to push the story ahead without a new non-fiction “message” bubbling inside my head and demanding to get out, I would find the writing process too much like work.

                  I’m so glad you’re finding the miracle of better sleep. For me it makes all the difference in the world. My brain doesn’t tolerate poor sleep or too little of it. Coyle’s book (The Talent Code) has so many practical applications.

                  Yes, fundamentalism isn’t my dish of tea anymore, but they were probably a great influence on me in many ways. I was a rock drummer at age 13, headed for who knows where but maybe a life of addiction, when a very strict fundamentalist religion took hold of me and taught me to pray again. Not everything they taught me was helpful, of course, but that one thing, being able to talk to God again (like I did when I was a child, ages 3 to 5), has been a huge plus throughout my life. The biggest downside of the religion may have been the social rejection I constantly received for being “too religious” and strict with myself. Nobody likes to have those “holier-than-thou” type people around, and though I tried not to feel that way or act that way, it’s basically impossible to abstain from a long list of social behaviors (“sins” like drinking, eating meat, etc.) and avoid giving people a supercilious message every time you show up. At least for me. Plus I’m a quiet person, and like my son says, “If you don’t talk, people will assume the worst about you.”

                  But if I should come across an ancient or even a modern document that I think is infallible, I’ll become a fundamentalist again. It’s just that this time I’ll read the whole thing carefully before deciding it’s infallible. Rookie mistake back when I was 14 and joined without reading the “infallible” book from cover to cover first.

                  I don’t think it would make sense for there to be an infallible book that some people have access to and others don’t but I’ve been wrong before. Frequently.

                  This is a wonderful quote, “these leaves in my hand represent all of the truth I’ve taught you; and all those leaves left in the forest are how much additional truth is out there.” Thank you.

                  Here’s a thought that for me fits into that concept:

                  “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
                  – Niels Bohr

                  Coming from Bohr, this gives me great pause. When statements seem to contradict other statements within a spiritual tradition or scripture, I probably shouldn’t be too quick to throw the whole thing out. That could be the mistake I’m making currently, of course.

                  The concept that one spiritual tradition is true and the others are false or at least inferior is probably in some ways a misunderstanding of truth from a broader, higher, smarter perspective.

                  I don’t think it matters if the Buddha was a historical figure, though I’d bet money he was. I think many of the ancient “myths” are loaded with historical reality. Not infallibility, but natural human messages of truth. Only a small percentage of humans seem to be born liars (sociopaths). I doubt they’ve created all the ancient stories and passed them off as history.

                  “Desires creating personality” is probably not all good or all bad, in my view. “Thou shall not covet,” is excellent advice for most things, but a yoga student desiring the knowledge of a master is positive personality development in action.

                  To follow this “commandment” from ancient Egypt would require a lot of desire, too:

                  “Each day have I labored more than was required of me.”

                  In some belief systems, avoidance of a version of “sin” becomes central, crowding out all desire for positive active virtues. For me, it was often like this in the Church I spent most of my life supporting.

                  Thank you for the encouragement to write a story for God today. That’s inspiring. 🙂

      • Ok, just read 229H street. Actually this seems perfectly plausible at least at first glance. When I try to figure out why we came here in the first place, no other answer ever truly make sense to me accept “to have an adventure”, or maybe just, to experience everything that infinite potential is potential of manifesting. If we are not each also one and the same as an infinite unchanging transpersonal god, then it becomes a little easier to say “and also to learn lessons such as empathy”.

        I have been really intrigued by your take on the personal god every since I read this article yesterday or the day before, and I’ve finally put into words most or all of what I find difficult to understand. It’s all written in good faith, but I do admit to having a dislike for your position. I hope what came through is my curiosity. If not, please accept my apologies in advance.

        You really like that Personal God idea a lot, don’t you? Even more than a god who can be personal when you need it to but is more than that, correct? When I think of a personal god, I guess I find myself wondering, which personality will be the divine one? I mean; you can’t really be all things to all people if you’re not all things, right? So, a personality would seem to need definition to be personal? Otherwise we’re back to al things, logically?

        And if God is one single (albeit possibly a little more complex and flexible, but not to much or how could we relate?) personality, then is it one to whom I can relate? If I can relate to this personality, are you sure everyone who wants to relate to God will be able to relate to Her? I mean, even here in my country (US) there are some very different people. Move into very different cultures and you get people who a whole other order of different from me. Will all of them and all of us here, be able to relate to this God?

        And then: ok, well, maybe this God is like someone I don’t like–maybe someone I don’t like a lot. Certain religions envision God as such a person. What if She, or He, is like that sort of person? Now what do I do?

        From your 229H street image, I get a sort of sense of God as a personality like that of George Carlin–kind of humorous, easy going, yet very capable of kicking someone in the pants when necessary. It seems like such a Person could get along with a lot of people who wanted to know Her/Him/Them, but I really doubt it would be feasible to get along with all interested parties…

        I wonder how do you solve such apparent conundrums, or where does your idea of personality take you if it does not take you into such bogs?

        I think the part that I dislike most about reading you on this subject is that it reminds me of feelings I had a decade or so ago, when I felt (as I was learning yoga philosophy) that I was losing faith in the idea of a personal god. To be honest, since our discussion, I’m still trying to fully bring those memories and feelings to awareness so I can see where I am with them now. I hope nothing important got lost, truthfully, as I’m not sure what I would do now if I found that something had…not looking for any more dark nights of the soul for at least another week or so…

        • The 229 concept of each of us, one by one, living in a place called Reality, coming to wonder what sort of person we would be without God living in our neighborhood – this thing came to me when I was writing a chapter in “Hapa Girl DNA.” I’ve decided it makes decent enough sense for now, though I’m under no delusion that it’s literally true. I’d imagine the truth is much more complex and possibly not understandable from our current perspective as Earth-bound humans in this Universe.

          Yes, the concept of God as a being capable of understanding me and caring about humans the way we care about our kids rings true to me and means everything. But I wouldn’t for a moment limit God to this picture.

          I think God could be literally the fabric of this Universe (matter, energy and everything else) as well as an infinite number of other Universes, and at the same “time” be a being with a physical body who lives outside or inside of space and time. Or a being without anything I would consider a physical body.

          The concept that God is literally each one of us is certainly worthy of great respect – I shy from it only because it conflicts with my sense of humility, quite likely a misguided sense that’s been beaten into me.

          The one thing I feel sure of is that God is literally a person, however infinitely more than a person God might be.

          Your insightful questions about whether or not each of us can relate to a personal God who is less than infinite assumes that personhood must detract from God’s infinite nature. I think that an infinite being would be less than infinite if lacking in personality, personhood, the ability to love, speak and listen.

          Also the question of God’s personhood seems to assume that our purpose here is to discover God or to come to believe a certain linear story. Actually I often suspect our purpose here is just the opposite – to discover our true characters apart from God.

          My fictional myth is suggesting that this Universe was created to give us the experience of a reality where God’s existence is plausibly deniable, so that we’ll discover ourselves in unbiased terms.

          I’ve spent most of my life being wrong about these sorts of things, so I’m fully prepared to be wrong about everything right now.

          After all, if God’s purpose here is to hide from us and let us satisfy our curiosity about ourselves, why would I be going against God and trying to point out how DNA provides concrete evidence of God’s existence?

          Great question. I have no answer, but I have a sense that God’s not the slightest bit upset at me for being at odds with my own myth.

          DNA provides sound evidence of God’s existence, but it doesn’t force belief.

          Forced belief comes from government schools preaching a Universe without purpose or meaning, while denying that they’re stuffing a spiritual worldview down everyone’s throats.

          What do we do if a religion teaches a version of God that we can’t abide? Good question.

          I say, find another religion or create your own. That’s basically what I’ve done, anyway. In the Old Test we read that God commanded Israel to kill men, women, children and animals, then take possession of their land.

          After 9/11/01 I subjectively discovered (to the best of my limited ability) that God didn’t give such a command to ancient Israel, any more than Allah gave such a command to the religious people who brought down the Towers. Sure the “heathen” in the promised land may have been considered inhuman. For that matter they may have had DNA that could be objectively regarded as significantly different from homo sapiens. But it’s still genocide. God is not likely to be commanding any sort of genocide – ever – in my opinion.

          So I left fundamentalism in all its forms but held on to the relationship with God that I had when I was a small kid and hadn’t ever heard the concept of an infallible Bible. (We occasionally went to the Episcopal Church when I was a young child. It was years later that we found ourselves in a more fundamentalist Christian Church. Christian fundamentalists do a ton of good work throughout the world, of course, so I’m not trying to paint things in black and white here. It’s just that for me at this point in my life, elevating a book to the level of infallibility doesn’t seem reasonable when it paints God as instigating genocide. That’s not to say that the Bible and other ancient writings are worthless, they’re not. They’re full of valuable things. They’re just not accurate in every way about everything.

          And perhaps I’m wrong. There are plenty of books I haven’t read and plenty of planets out there, no doubt some of them more loaded with books than Earth. Maybe there is an infallible book somewhere.)

          I sort of see God as a Surfer who’s interested in letting the good times roll, but sensitive enough to pause the action and explore with us our non-Divine inner space. I’m certain that the pain and suffering in this Universe hurts God as deeply, sharply and directly as it hurts us, but like a Buddhist Priest in Hawaii, God has learned to deal with pain in practical ways so that we can continue to explore this Universe’s surf, internal and external, with free wills intact.

          I don’t see God as willing to kick anyone in the pants ever, but that’s a personal subjective view. Certainly there are, for instance, sociopath pedophiles doing unspeakable things. There are those who would demand that God punish them in some way. I understand and respect that feeling, and would imagine that God has a logical response. I myself don’t. I just can’t picture God as violent, but I don’t insist that my biased views of God are accurate.

          Where does my idea of personality take me, if not into the bogs of personality clashes? – to paraphrase your question.

          I guess I’ve seen people without personality, comatose and lying in bed. Those who love them stand around the bed and cry. Each of them would give anything to have that poor kid wake up and say one more obnoxious, childish, self-centered word about anything. It’s probably all about love in the final analysis. Personalities are all good when the character is unconditionally loving. That’s how I see God, and honestly, as best I can tell at this point in time, that’s exactly how I feel towards my two kids.

          If the yoga philosophy caused you to lose faith in a personal God, think of the wonderful things you’ve gained from yoga meditation and philosophy, and how easy it would have been for the one who wrote the DNA code to show up visibly and influence us all directly – yet God didn’t go that route.

          For much of recorded history, spirituality and religion have been dictated by geography – we believed what the people in our part of the globe believed. God didn’t step in and change that setup, in fact it exists to a large degree today.

          So linear belief structures (religious stories) must not be as much of a life-and-death issue as many religions would have us believe.

          Yoga is working for you. I doubt that God would want you to change that. If I’m right, he cares more about your well being than your linear beliefs.

          If you can progress in your journey with yoga and Buddhism and at the same time make intermittent room for a personal God, that’s probably a positive development. But if the experience of a personal God interferes with your spiritual growth in yoga, it’s most likely better to stick with what’s working for you.

          Most belief systems think that they’ve got everything right. I’d be willing to bet that none of the religions on this planet have everything right.

          In fact, I doubt that we modern humans are smart enough to understand the elements of reality needed to grasp history from God’s perspective.

          Stick with compassion, love, a balanced mind, the things that most everyone knows are right.

      • You know what,
        I think I may have committed a context-related communication error here, and if so, please forgive, and also please feel welcome to delete my previous comment about a personal god and this one as well:

        Normally I have conversations like these in discussion groups’ threads or by instant message or email, where all the participants are understood to be continuing only at their own wish to do so and until they are done with the subject. I completely forgot to factor into the equation here that we are on your blog; that you may be politely indicating to me that you do not wish to discuss things related to eastern metaphysical ideas about an impersonal god.

        If that is the case, I certainly respect that; I don’t want to insist that you should adopt my thoughts on the nature of the the divine.

        In any case; if we continue the discussion, it might be best to continue by email; I’m really not sure what the standard protocol of behavior is on discussions a blog such as this which continue past this point, as I’ve never seen it before; since the discussion is on things which we all hold very dear, I think it best to do so where the stakes might be lower for both of us.

        Thanks, and my apologies for any communication missteps

        • No worries, Karen. I’m taking a long time to respond to your last two comments because you’ve given me much to think about. I’m proud to have your words on my blog. Proud and honored. My other readers will be blessed by this opportunity to hear your thoughts. If other blogs tend to have short comments, that’s irrelevant here.
          Additionally, I’d prefer to continue our comments on my blog rather than emails simply because I’m so inexcusably slow at answering emails. I can go many months before answering an email because I struggle with procrastination. It’s shameful and a source of disappointment in myself. If we switch to email, I’m most likely going to disappoint you. I’d like to avoid that if possible. 🙂

          I’ll respond to your latest two previous comments as soon as I’ve read them a few more times and have given them adequate thought. Thank you for your patience. 🙂 Don’t worry about anything. Not where I’m concerned.

    • Thanks, I totally agree with you. There was a time when scientists thought the brain was a sponge for cooling the body. In my case it’s probably true. Most other scientists use it as their primary measuring device, though they may not realize it.

    • Thank you. I’m 61 years old and currently questioning more than I did as a teenager. I’ve become aware of how ideas and information are filtered from public awareness by various gatekeepers in each area of interest, from politics and religion to science.

      The ability that people have right now to put their ideas in places like YouTube, Amazon and blogs where there are no gatekeepers is unprecedented, and will probably help our species see a broader reality.

  4. Nicely done. My approach to this serious topic is to use playful SF (which you found on my website, thank you for subscribing, https://keithkennyblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/dating-on-callisto/) to bypass thought-trained conformity. This thread runs through many of my posts. I try to tread lightly but you had no trouble discerning my meaning.

    I’m sure if a Ferrari roadster showed up in my driveway (I drive a Subaru Forester) and I argued it was intelligently designed, many scientists would be offended — its maintenance is too expensive to indicate intelligence.

    • I think I’d side with science on the Ferrari issue, hahaha.

      I’m stalled now in the first draft of an sf novel that involves the question of free will. Suddenly I find myself over here writing a nonfiction blog post, wondering if I should be working on a nonfiction book before my neurons agree with science and become an illusion. Haha. (I’m not getting any younger.)

      Yes, I like the way you bypass conformity in your science fiction. To grab a quote from one of your stories…

      “We discover what is already created. We believe that if one looks for it, the path of discovery is clear. All math and science link to it. Edison and Einstein both talked about following existing paths. Needing to see oneself, one’s institution, or one’s government as the ultimate creator is a great stumbling block.”

      People who liked any small part of my “Hapa Girl DNA” blog-novel should click over to your site right now and really enjoy themselves:

      https://keithkennyblog.wordpress.com/about-keith/

      Anyone reading this, take note of the following excerpt from Keith Kenny’s “About” page:

      “In 40+ years with CIA, I worked at every level from watch officer and tactical operations to sensor development and informing national policy. Re-missioned from intelligence, I’m inclined to write science fiction.”

      Now that’s what I call an interesting background for an author of any genre of fiction, especially science fiction.

      It’s an honor to meet you, Keith. Thank you for checking out my blog. If you have a collection of email addresses from your fans, please add mine to the list: cytopathology (at) gmail (dot) com. Feel free to email me any time. I’ll buy all your novels, for sure.

      Talmage

  5. Scientific materialism is an especially silly form of religion. The absence of meaning is pursued by its dogma, instead of truth. It asks that we not question the fundamental forces which shape the very perspectives science applies when looking at the universe. Instead, we are to worship various microscopes or telescopes as gods. It tells us that patterns we have predicted and measured up until this minute should be bowed down to.

    This materialism creates a loop, asking us to stop applying the scientific method. My guess is that people pursue materialism to feel a reassuring sense of certainty. This equates to a sort of evangelical nihilism.

    For “mind” to exist, or purpose or meaning, it does not require the limited forms of perception and thought that humans employ. There is no reason to believe that we can understand what truly moves this universe. Materialism is simply an excuse to quit trying. That way we can simply point at a measuring device and worship its lack of agency and intent.

    Scientific materialism does this in an attempt to evade the fact that our very own senses, the eyes and brain we hold up to those microscopes, are measuring devices that emit meaning and create patterns in this world simply by being turned on. The humming of awe and wonder we hear from the soul isn’t noise, it is part of the signal of living. De-valuing the unmeasurable is a sad attempt to squelch our inborn thirst for meaning and purpose by decrying it as original sin.

    • Thank you for enritching my blog with your level-headed, insightful thoughts. I think materialistic reductionism is a crippling belief system, probably responsible for the depression that many young people suffer these days in big University settings. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were given an alternative, but like most forms of fundamentalism, “my way is right and everybody else’s way is wrong.” Humanity needs to get past that.

    • Wow, another INFJ! I should write more often on this subject. 🙂

      Thank you for pointing me to those two fascinating articles you wrote in your blog. I really love this little gem you wrote:

      “This is not denying science, this IS WHAT SCIENCE IS SUPPOSED TO BE DOING IN THE FIRST PLACE.”

      Well said!

      Quantum physics and genetics are pointing the way for scientists and the rest of us to cast off the depressing chains of materialistic reductionism and bring meaning and purpose back from the realm of illusion.

      I’m interested to read more of what you have to say about Jesus, too. I’m probably not worthy to call myself a Christian anymore because I no longer believe that there are any infallible sources of information, including modern science, but I would humbly like to consider myself a follower because much of what is attributed to Jesus in the Gospels rings transcendent to me, including my favorite:

      “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

      I’m still trying to figure out exactly how this is done, but logically it seems to be the only way our species is going to avoid nuclear war and overcome our self-destructive violent tendencies.

  6. So glad to see you back in the trenches!
    Hope the recent ” adventures” are behind you now…

    Fun fact : in India we visited some magnificent cave temples carved …by hand on solid granite…
    back home I broke two drills to remove two granite tiles from a friend’s kitchen,…hahaha

    Cheers to your health and to the continuity of your journey my friend 🙂

    • Hi Spira!

      What a great example of bringing archiology into the “laboratory” at home! There’s nothing like a little first-hand experience to make us question mainstream dogma.

      It’s nice to be retired from pathology, otherwise I could ruin my career by doubting the Empire of Evolution. That’s like denying that the Earth is round.

      Hey, I’m doing a 61 year-old’s version of “high intensity interval training” and it’s making a radical difference in the clarity of my mind and the positivity of my ambient mood. I was reading a health related book by an MD/ND who thanked God that she’d discovered high intensity interval training because it turned her life around. Thinking back on my own experience, I remembered how playing basketball once a week in my 40’s was one of the most positive experiences of my life. It changed Sundays completely, transforming them from the fearful day before Monday’s horrible workload to the highlight of my week. I would day dream all week long about some decent shot I’d made the Sunday before. Now I realize that basketball is a perfect example of high intensity interval training disguised as a game. I wish there was a basketball league for ancient doctors who can’t jump and never could. 😉

      Recently I listened to an MD lecturing on the health benefits of Boron. You might be interested. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJp7SW1pY2I . The guy’s not a spectacular speaker, but he’s making some interesting points. I need to do more reading on the subject before I can promote or question what he’s saying.

      Take care, Spira. It’s always absolutely wonderful to hear from you!

      I owe you an email, too.

      • :)

        I’m an INFJ as well…and we don’t mirror one another diddly-squat! 🙂

        Hm… You must be more knowledge-based… Architectural thinking… Fact-based.

        Me? Spongey… (I AM the sponge itself). Once mopped up, facts bounce around inside of me in an abstract sort of way and – astonishingly, and inspite of myself – wisdom keeps me safely grounded.)

        Actually, I haven’t got a clue how I work…but the composition of Whose I am has pulled me through quite well thus far. 🙂

        …and, no. I’m not a “nut.”

        • I’ll bet we’re more alike in person than we seem on paper. For instance, I’ll bet we would be able to sit and talk effortlessly for an hour about things that interest both of us. Since INFJ’s are uncommon in my world, that would be a rare experience for me. The “small talk” that comes so naturally to most people tends to make me sit quietly and listen. And when I speak, I’m always at risk of boring most people significantly. But probably not INFJ’s.

          I think I know what you mean about “Whose I am.” I’ve lived with a sense of belonging to God since early childhood. I’d feel so alone if I didn’t have God to constantly talk to. I just wish I was half decent at listening and acting on the guidance.

          Hey, of course you’re not a nut. Who would ever think such a thing? Not me, that’s for sure. 🙂

  7. wow…science science science. scientist are always proving something someway somehow. and i must commend them for their great jobs but its juz that i dont always agree with them.
    well atleast 30%
    lol
    but on a more serious note, well done for this post. i mean,u r such a great writter and i will always keep saying that.
    Thanks also for the visits to my site.
    take care xoxoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s