“At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
F*** religion. F*** dogma. F*** trying to make yourself feel better by injecting an imaginary friend into the already confusing equation of existence. Focus instead on becoming a better person. Focus on thinking. Focus on action. It’s less about placation and more about taking things into deep consideration and then letting that s*** go. Even then, it’s less about pigeonholing truth and more about self-discovery.
Don’t get me wrong. Spirituality is vital. Be spiritual. But spirituality doesn’t require anyone to “believe” in it. Religion does. Spirituality is flexible; religion is dogmatic. Spirituality is liberating (courage-based); religion is authoritative (fear-based). Spirituality is painful growth; religion is comfortable stagnation. Spirituality is open-minded; religion is close-minded. Spirituality is interdependent; religion is codependent. Spirituality speaks a language older than words; religion speaks a language limited by words. Spirituality allows the Great Mystery (God) to be truly infinite; religion attempts to pigeonhole it into a finite construct. Most important of all, spirituality is full of questions (thought); religion is full of so called answers (belief).
If this seems harsh. Tough s***! I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear. I’m here to tell you what you need to hear. As renown philosopher Daniel Dennett said, “There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.” So buckle up, buttercup. Let your little snowflake heart melt all over the place. Make a g******** mess. You’re in for a ride.
The dangers of belief:
“It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief.” –George Bernard Shaw
Think about it. When has disbelief ever hurt anyone? And I don’t mean feelings. F*** feelings too. Now, ask yourself, when has belief hurt anyone? Take a moment. Think it through. Get the point?
Belief is dangerous precisely because if you believe in something completely, you’ll do anything, however irrational and however evil (ironic much?), to keep that belief in tact. You can’t be persuaded, because you believe.
Let’s say you believe in some arbitrary authority (God, queen, president, cop). You believe that they are righteous and good. You believe in their religion, politics, or laws. You believe in their infallibility. That belief is so deeply entrenched in you that nothing that authority could do would persuade you to believe otherwise.
Now, let’s say that authority convinced your pure “faithful” heart to do something that, had anyone else told you to do so, you would think it immoral. Like the Christian God telling Abraham to kill his oldest son to “test his faith” for example. What then? Careful, now. You’re on a slippery slope into Evil Town. Like Voltaire famously said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
Don’t get me wrong. Be confident. Be cool. Be calm, collected and controlled. But you don’t need belief for that. You don’t need faith and certainty to have confidence and achieve self-improvement. If anything, belief will hold you back. It will keep you from questioning things. It will keep you from thinking. And that’s the crux. That’s the kick in the pants. That’s the brain-dead fly in the proverbial ointment. If you cannot think, then you cannot be free.
The freedom of letting go of belief:
“Don’t believe yourself, and don’t believe anyone else. If you don’t believe, what is not true will dissolve in front of your eyes. Only what is true will remain, because what is true doesn’t need anyone to believe it.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz
Now, I know you’re probably shitting cognitive dissonance all up inside your Mormon magical underwear at this point. But take a deep breath, pull your brain out of your forefather’s a**, and think about the big picture for a second. As Samuel Coleridge said, “You do not believe; you only believe that you believe.”
The truth is that reality is the way it is despite your beliefs. I’m not saying that I know the way reality is. I’m saying that it is most certainly the way it is (whatever that is) despite what you believe. It’s self-evident. When you let go of belief, you’re simply rolling with that fact. You’re allowing that to be the case, despite your indoctrination, conditioning, upbringing, or brainwashing.
When you let go of belief, you let go of expectation, and you allow yourself to simply be with the naked, harsh, unforgiving truth of reality. The cold and hard truth of “you don’t know.” The pulsing blister of “you are going to die!” The answers to which should be: “Okay, let’s figure it out by weighing the evidence and then using probability as a guide to see if our “answers” are valid according to universal laws, and then keep questioning,” and, “Okay, I’m going to die. Great! I better get busy living the healthiest life I can live because I simply don’t know if this is the only chance I get to live a life well-lived or not.” Neither of which require belief. Both of which require you to sacrifice belief.
Not believing in anything is absolute freedom precisely because neither our intellect nor our imagination can be diminished by the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation.
Not believing in anything frees us to take everything into consideration. We become logically liberated, scientifically set free, and our rationality is relieved. We’re free to dig deeper into reality without the shame and guilt of dogmatic belief hanging over our heads.
Healthy skepticism and an intimacy with probability become our shifting bedrock, our foundational quicksand, our liberated measuring tool. We’re free to swim in the waters of uncertainty rather than remain chained to the pillars of certitude.
When it comes down to it, letting go of belief allows us the freedom of being wrong. It’s finally admitting that we are a species that is profoundly fallible and prone to mistakes. We’re a barely evolved naked ape going through the awkward motions of its adolescent phase of existence. We’re a floundering and confused species.
Indeed. My believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster gets me nowhere, except maybe entertained. Better to simply take it into consideration as a silly belief that some people might have, and then laugh at it. Laugh at myself. Poke holes in it. Question why I might believe that “his noodly appendage will save me from my sins.” Or why I insist on wearing a colander for a hat. As with all things, a good sense of humor will set you free.
The importance of reasoning rather than believing:
“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” ~R. Buckminster Fuller
Caveat credentis: believer beware. Rather than believe in things, take things into consideration. It is simple to alter considerations, but it’s almost impossible to alter beliefs. And altering both considerations and beliefs are vital for the healthy, progressive evolution of our species.
Taking things into consideration is far superior to believing in them because we are a fallible, ever-changing, still-evolving species. We happen to be a species with a big brain, which gives us a false sense of security that we have discovered answers to complex questions. Along with the false sense of accomplishment that we’ve evolved to a peak state.
But when it really comes down to it we are merely big-brained mammals stumbling through a vast cosmos of which we have barely even scratched the surface.
That’s why we must take things into consideration rather than believe in them. Belief is limiting. Taking things into consideration is limitless. Belief is mental slavery. Taking things into consideration is mental liberation.
The best way to maintain a healthy, reasonable skepticism, and not devolve into an ignorant, sycophantic, violent mess of a human, is to take things into deep consideration and then question them rather than believe in them. When you come up with what seems like a solid answer, simply take it into consideration rather than believe in it. In other words: entertain the answer without accepting it. Then use the “answer” as a tool so that it doesn’t turn you into a tool.
In the end, believing in nothing frees you up to rethink and re-imagine, regardless of the cultural, political, and religious boxes seeking to contain you. Believing in nothing frees you up to be truly alive, in the moment, rather than merely waiting to die. It opens something up for you to explore. It gives you something to question. It gives you something to have an adventure with.
Believing in nothing liberates you from the chains of dogma so that you can discover the courage of self-improvement. It releases you from the bondage of certitude so that you can gain the wherewithal of self-confidence in the face of uncertainty. It’s having the vulnerable mettle of courage despite the invulnerable metal of faith.
Believing in nothing is absolute freedom because you can finally see how everything is connected to everything else, and how attempting to stuff infinity into the finite nutshell of a belief is done in vain. It’s perhaps the vainest act of all. Better to not be vain in the first place. Better to remain in a state of constant awe, in love with the moment, bewildered and astonished by the grandeur of the unknown.
Imagination liberated. Intellect untethered. Love unmoored. Humor dethroning all gods. Unlimited by belief but limited by cosmic law. Allowing the universe to be the way it is despite our beliefs, because the universe is going to be that way anyway. So we might as well get better at living in accordance with it.
Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field
A neuroscientist has suggested in a new theory that our consciousness is derived from a field of electromagnetic waves given off by neurons.
The study published last month in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness is entirely based off a theory absent of tangible evidence. However, the author of the research Johnjoe McFadden said that his hypothesis could offer a way forward for robots that think and feel emotions.
McFadden believes that neuron waves of electrical activity get sent out and as they propagate across the brain, they help compose our entire conscious experience.
Johnjoe McFadden, is a molecular geneticist and director of quantum biology at the University of Surrey. McFadden points to flaws in other models of consciousness as the reason that we don’t have sentient artificial intelligence or robots capable of achieving consciousness.
McFadden’s hypothesis swerves away from most traditional neuroscientists, who generally see consciousness as a narrative that our brain constructs out of our senses, perceptions, and actions. Instead, McFadden returns to a more empirical version of dualism — the idea that consciousness stems from something other than our brain matter.
McFadden’s theory adapts the idea of “dualism,” which is the belief that consciousness is a supernatural force. Dualism has long been rejected by scientists and ruled pseudo-science, but McFadden has attempted to apply a scientific explanation for the idea, which hasn’t been done before.
Neuroscience news reports that the theory is based on scientific fact:
“The theory is based on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the wire-like nerve fibres, but they also send a pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is usually disregarded, yet it carries the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, rather than a flow of atoms in and out of the nerves.”
It’s also a fact we have an electromagnetic field surrounding our brain is well-known and is detected by brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function and supernatural. Instead, McFadden contends that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving the ‘free will’ of an individual.
“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” McFadden said in a press release published by Medical Xpress. “I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”
Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics
(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.
On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.
The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.
The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.
Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.
The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.
At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.
Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of marijuana during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.
The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.
In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.
“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.
Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.
Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.
The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.
The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.
“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
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