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Philosophy

Prison break

The ego is a construction that grows more and more rigid with time until it becomes a prison that stops you from exploring and growing. Like a house full of valuables that you can never leave because you have to guard it against thieves.

Ego death, in a magical sense, is a transformation, a temporarily transcendence from self-centeredness, a way of cleaning out bad habits, misconceptions, etc, that bog down the mind, before the inevitable resurrection as a (hopefully) better person follows.

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Philosophy

What changes?

With magic I change reality. But it’s my model of reality that changes, and maybe yours, not actual reality itself. Actual reality may change though, through actions we make as a result of our changes in those inner models of reality.

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Philosophy

Selves, snakes and sticks

Our selves do not end in our bodies. It reaches out, especially to other humans, but also to the whole planet. This intertwining makes egoism impossible. The neurons in our brains are wired from how we were raised and what culture we were exposed to. By purpose and coincidence. We got our parents, our friends and our enemies reaching deep into our physical brains.

Based on past experience the brain, in every moment anew, predicts a model of reality. Senses are mostly used as error correction. The brain considers the state of your body and predicts the best course of action to survive and thrive. It predicts thoughts and emotions. It predicts what we experience as our selves. The self is a non-physical concept. Like a projection. Our brain is a prism and our self is the rainbow.

There is no innate self stored somewhere inside us. A newborn have no experience, no self. We are only born with tools and possibilities. With that the self is constructed by interaction and circumstance. Sometimes it is built by chance and habit. Sometimes it becomes a facade that we believe ourselves. But what may feel as different selves are facets of the same thing – your brain trying to make sense of the world to survive.

Modern neuroscience dispels the myth of our human side having to subdue our animal side in a struggle between the reptilian brain versus the neocortex. In fact it is all one unit, one network, developed all at the same time. Emotions are not uncontrollable beasts that live inside your head and your logic is not a shepherd trying to keep them in check. We have more control than we think.

Our brains are so tuned to predict all the time that they predict things that are not real. It predicts that the stick on the ground is a poisonous snake. Because that is better than to mistake a snake for a stick. The downside is when you get anxiety, which is the brain wanting to get away from a potentially dangerous situation, from having to much to do at work, which is rarely life-threatening.

Anxiety and depression could (at least in part) be results of prediction error. The brain shuts down attention and interest in the world to save resources for anticipated action. Comfort eating works because the brain gets satisfied by stocking up on energy that it expects to release, any minute now, as response to an imminent catastrophe. Which mostly never comes.

But, and here the beauty of it finally comes, prediction can be harnessed for many amazing things. We humans have, on top of physical reality, created a new social reality where intangible things exist. Concepts like Sundays, tickets, red means stop, chess, Osiris, social classes, the Cuba crisis. Many wonderful and horrible things that are not real but still affect us and thereby in extension also affect reality. Dreams, fantasy and fiction are predictions without error correction from reality.

Our lives are predictions. We are predictions. We love predictions. We love taking part in prediction-fiction. The fiction of who we are, the fiction of culture, of religion, of stories, songs and paintings. The arts are predictions which from a safe distance gives us the thrill of trying to figure out whether we see snakes or sticks.


These rambling thoughts are me trying to sort out what I learned from some books on neuroscience I have read lately. One book in particular is How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett.

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Philosophy

The magic selves

Our selves don’t exist. We don’t have an I when we are born. I am not something unique or predestined we are born with. It is something we continuously create in the now our entire lives.

We build concepts that we call I from all we experience, or learn, about our bodies, our environment and our social reality. It is not constant, it changes with new knowledge, experience and ideas.

Our selves are inseparable from our bodies. The self is our body. The self change when the body change. Influenced by the self, or other persons selves, the body can in turn also change.

We have one self, but that self has many instances. Created by many networks in the brain it becomes an overlapping palette of personalities that are granted dominance in different situations.

All these concepts we create are what makes up our concept of reality. What we think is real is just a model of reality. The concepts change which causes our perception of reality to change

Working actively with trying to change the self, an by extension changing other peoples selves, by transforming concepts is what I in many previous posts on this website have referred to as magic.

It is however important to remember that magic doesn’t exist, even if it’s real. Because magic is also a concept that we create. Much like our selves. So we use one concept to change another concept. We are all conceptions.

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Philosophy

Neverending

A human is not one individual being. Inside us all there are many separate systems that negotiates with each other all the time. If you take a Jungian stance the mind consists of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious, all with separate values and goals, that together make up what we think of as our selves.

But the mind does not exist ex nihilo. It all arises from physical processes in our bodies. Our brains contain a multitude of overlapping networks that create many different instances of prediction, conceptualization and decision that compete for dominance.

Add to that the influence of both neurons and bacteria in the gut system, the reflex arcs of the spinal chord and many other autonomic regulatory processes. Then we start to see the complexity of the conglomerate that is a human being. We think with our whole bodies.

And it it does not stop within our bodies. There are numerous external connections that are impossible to omit when considering who we are and how we act. Cultural conventions, social interaction, political discourse, access to resources, different environments, and even the daily change in weather – it all greatly affects us, our behavior and our self-image.

Our minds are inextricably intertwined with the whole body. Our bodies are likewise inextricably interconnected with the whole outside world. We are not isolated individuals. We are highly connected networks. From our innermost thoughts to the utmost edges of the universe.

Our selves never end.

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Philosophy

The next field is?

Excite and assemble some energy and it will be quarks. Combine them and they turn into particles, who turn into atoms, to molecules, to chemistry, to biology, to consciousness, to… What new state would combined consciousnesses turn into?

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Philosophy

Awakedreaming Reality

I just had an interesting experience. I was awakedreaming reality. I was incredibly tired this afternoon and laid down in my sofa to rest a bit. Closed my eyes but didn’t fall asleep. I went into that state of mind where you are aware of the surroundings and the sound, but your connection to the body is getting fluid. I thought about various things and then started to dream while still conscious.

I was dreaming that I saw exactly what I should see if I opened my eyes. I felt my eyes being closed but yet I saw my living room in front of me, clearly and vividly, as if my eyes had been open. After a few seconds the phenomena disappeared and I opened my eyes. The angle, field of view and the light in the room was slightly different but it was no difference in how real what I had dreamt and what I now saw with my eyes was. The dream and reality was equally real.

The brain is constantly creating its perception of actual reality in our minds whether the impressions are gathered externally, from our senses, or internally, from our dreams and imagination. This creation of the world doesn’t stop when we are sleeping, the brain never shut down, only our selves. We are always the same corporeal entity, whether we are sleeping or awake, as the conscious or unconscious I is only one of many parts that is us.

Our brains perception of actual reality, what we call existence, is one single continuous dream, as long as the span of our lives.

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Illustration Philosophy

Schematic over influences

Schematic over influences
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Philosophy

About Actual Reality

In the light of deeper insight I need to nuance my earlier writing about the percieved unrealness of reality and how the existence of alternative realities really works.

There is only one reality: The actual reality that is everywhere. The phenomenal world where actions take place, where matter and energy interact, where there are distances and passing time.

Any perceived variations and alternatives to actual reality are just different interpretations in our creative minds due to perspective, relativity, lack of or erroneous information, state of mind, substances, art, culture, etc. What we experience are models – the brains best guess of what is going on.

These variations manifest as multitudes of sub-realities, like bubbles, overlapping or separate layers of perception, inside actual reality. They are readily created wherever there are one or more consciousnesses present and can be personal, shared or both. Actual reality is a frothing foam of sub-bubbles.

However, no matter how real, alternative or separate these sub-realities seem, our minds, which is where they exist, are still a part of the one fundamental, all-encompassing actual reality. Like any fictitious scene performed on a stage, it is still done in reality, inside a real theater building. Fiction is as real as reality.

Naked reality is unreachable to us. We’re prodding and probing it, measuring and calculating it’s features, and from these results we know that it’s actually there. But to our conscious minds it’s hidden behind a veil of math and language. To us it appears uncertain, abstruse and ineffable, like a god.

And if reality itself is the creating force rather than the created: How do we raise our eyes from the details we study? How do we connect the pieces to see the entire countenance? How can we see the actual reality behind the veil and fathom it’s all encompassing splendor?

There is only one reality. But within it – a myriad of perspectives.

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Philosophy

Reminder

Learn, forget, explore, remember.

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Illustration Philosophy

The Garden

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Philosophy

The Sin of Blocking

The only sin is blocking. To block is to hinder someone else doing something. Could be drastic: killing them and blocking them from living. Or minor: saying something negative and blocking them from their good mood. Ruining things for others to gain yourself is the Sin of Blocking.