This article was written just after the ‘Blood Moon’ eclipse began in Australia on July 28, 2018…
For some people it is just an astronomical event when the moon is imprinted with the earth’s shadow from the sun, and for others there is astrological symbolism and energetic meaning to it too.
From the latter point of view, lunar eclipses in general symbolise facing thyself. They reflect ushering out the old and bringing in the new, on both personal and collective levels. This can be a painful process at times, because serious change is usually a challenge for most people. However, this blood moon represents reflection, healing and change, particularly regarding the ageing fracture between the masculine and feminine. This isn’t just on an external level, but also internally too. After all, we all have both energies inside us, which unfortunately most of us haven’t integrated.
Now regardless if you personally believe in the philosophy of ‘as above, so below’, this lunar eclipse was nearly the longest of what is theoretically possible (it went for one hour and forty three minutes of a maximum one hour and forty seven minutes). Therefore, it gave us almost all it could for us to see it (and feel it). In that essence it represents deep reflection, which should encourage us to look deep into our own lives. As noted in this article: “This is a time for us to purge, cleanse, and detoxify.”
And how many of us need to take greater care of ourselves? How many of us need to detoxify our bodies and minds? The answer is essentially all of us. Whether it be physical health, mental health, or even just how we prioritise our time, we all have ways in which we’re not just reaching our ideals now and again, but we’re nowhere near them.
Many people have heard of ‘Dry July’, where we put down the beer and wine for a month to cleanse our bodies of alcohol. Although we probably haven’t done it exactly this way, the basic concept would have been applied in many manners, including implementing various alcohol-free, dieting, detoxification, fitness and fasting rituals for different lengths over our lives.
However, sometimes a grand reboot is required and if we don’t choose to do this consciously our natural growth cycle will always find a way to set us up with the opportunity, sometimes smooth and at others times rough, even if we choose not to capitalise on it.
The Birth of Flawless August
My partner Nicole co-hosts the ‘Mad Magic’ podcast with me, which is available on iTunes and all podcast Apps (see below for an episode on Flawless August). She is just as passionate as me when it comes to continuously growing and changing our lives. We’ve been practicing meditation, self-administered psychotherapy and other growth modalities for many years, but in recent months we’ve felt like a new wave of self-care was incredibly important for us.The other night we were discussing this topic and at one point I made a cheeky remark about ‘Dry July’, finishing it up with a joke about implementing ‘Flawless August’. The idea seemingly sprung from nowhere and at the time we weren’t serious about it, but after sleeping on it we’ve decided to give it a serious crack.However, it’s not just about alcohol. It’s about everything. It’s about what we put into our bodies, what we put into our minds, and how we behave towards ourselves and the world at large.
Therefore it encourages self-reflection, self-actualisation and self-mastery.
I’ve decided to share this with you in case you also have a deep yearning to upgrade your own life. So many of us are too focused on political, geopolitical, environmental, conspiratorial and other external affairs without giving ourselves the respect of taking great care our psychological and spiritual development. Of course it is important to shine light onto the injustices of our world, but it’s equally important to shine light on the injustices that we inflict on ourselves.
After all, if we truly want to bring about a better world for our children, then we need to become that which we desire our world to be.
To achieve it, we need to ensure we are at least pouring in as much energy internally, as we are externally. The adage ‘love yourself to love others’ has earned notoriety as a cliché, however the insight it offers is still extraordinarily potent: the more we love, respect, honour and care for ourselves, not in vane but authentic ways, the greater capacity we have to share it with our world, including other people and our environment.
So in as much as the last several decades have been extraordinarily powerful in terms of becoming more conscious and sovereign human beings, which has given rise to large waves of activism and change agency, the way we treat ourselves on an individual level is in most cases astoundingly inhumane. There is so much sickness, stress and sadness. Our habits are often self-abusive. Our self-care is replaced by dollars and doctors. We’re collectively screaming for a more just world, but individually we’re often failing to get even close to adequately caring for ourselves.
What is Flawless August?
The concept isn’t to become perfect, because that’s simply impossible in a dynamic system such as the human experience. So it’s not about becoming flawless at all, as growth is a never-ending and outright wonderful process of life. Alternatively, think of it like updating the software on your computer or phone: Flawless August is simply recognising ways we could improve how we treat ourselves – including our human family and natural systems too – and then acting on it.
Or put another way, Flawless August is about striving towards becoming more of not just who we want to be, but more of who we need to be.
In that light, therefore, it’s a month of education. It’s learning ideas and strategies that are of immense benefit to ourselves and others. It’s expanding our consciousness around more authentic and honourable ways to live, and being able to share that humbly with others. It’s also about understanding that we’ll never be perfect, yet if we continuously get into more healthy patterns and behaviours, it is simply a more wise way to exist.
With that said, below is a list of ideas and ideals to guide you. If it speaks to you, share this article and hashtag the f*** out of #FlawlessAugust. If you’re not that interested personally, you can bet there will be many friends and family in your social circle who will be, so give them a head’s up by sharing this through your networks.
You can do whatever you like with it according to your personal circumstances. Not all ‘wants and needs’ will be applicable to every one of us, however based on my many years of providing personal and professional guidance it’s not just intelligent to have a general plan for our future, but it’s also highly effective to actually write down a list of goals which you look at every day to remind and inspire you to take the steps required to achieve them.
Trust me; it works. Writing down our goals and desires is incredibly powerful at helping them to manifest, so if you’re serious about wanting to think, feel and act better, then use this list as a reference for your own future growth and write down your own personal version of it too.
In any case, I hope that it helps you in some small or even large ways.
And to reiterate, this isn’t about doing everything flawlessly, although you are obviously free to attempt it if you so desire (including having a complete detoxification of your mind and body). But for succinct sakes, Flawless August has two primary purposes:
- Learn more about what you and the world require; and
- Do more to actualise it.
If you choose to have a crack at ‘Flawless August’ and would like to participate in a survey regarding your achievements and challenges, please email Phillip and Nicole at [email protected]
The Four Focuses of Flawless August
1. Be Mindful of the Food We Eat
The food we put into our bodies is extremely important for our short and long term health, as more and more studies show that many physical illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, allergies, arthritis and other common ailments, as well as mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, are linked to poor nutrition, an unhealthy gut and the dangerous chemical additives that are found in processed foods and sprayed on fruits and vegetables.
Of course every person’s circumstances are different and the reasons for mental and physical health problems are typically multilayered, which is why holistic health responses are growing throughout the Western world.
In addition, each individual is biologically unique and has different nutritional needs and reactions to various food groups. Therefore, researching and discovering what best works for our body and mind is our personal responsibility, including consulting a holistic health practitioner when relevant.
Ideas and Ideals:
- Grow your own food and buy from local, organic farmers where possible;
- Food should be as natural as possible, meaning organic, non-GMO and non-sprayed vegetables and fruits;
- Avoid foods that are processed and contain toxins and harmful chemicals;
- Consume food high in nutrition (eat seasonally and direct from the farm where possible);
- Include raw foods at times too;
- Limit or eliminate dairy products, as they can generate significant health issues;
- Limit or eliminate sugar in your diet as it has similar addictive impacts on the brain as heroin and cocaine and has adverse health effects;
- As a general rule, eat more plants and less meat than our usual diet as excessive meat consumption, especially red meat, is linked to cancer and other health issues;
- Limit or eliminate processed meats such as ham and bacon, as they are considered carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation (WHO);
- If we must eat animals, then they should be sourced locally if possible (including personally fishing and/or hunting), not factory farmed, are grass fed (not grain fed), and are treated humanely; and
- As another general rule we should eat less food than we usually do, as overeating is the norm; instead, eat more nutrition-rich foods.
2. Be Mindful of the Liquids We Drink
- Drink copious amounts of clean water that has been filtered from toxins such as Fluoride, has a high pH level (alkaline), is mineralised and even hydrogenised if possible (this is difficult for many of us without our own filtration system, so sourcing water from local springs is the next best step);
- Attempt to be alcohol free to give you a break from its heavy impact on your liver, other organs and health in general, especially during the week;
- No soft drink (soda), or sugary drinks at all;
- Freshly squeezed juice with no additives; and
- Limit of one coffee a day to avoid these nine side effects.
3. Be Mindful of Self-Care
Many people just allow the corporatised medicinal system to deal with issues regarding their health, however given the issues of false medical claims, ineffectiveness of many pharmaceutical drugs, high addiction to dangerous prescriptions, corruption and mainstream avoidance of cheap and natural medicines (such as baking soda, as well as Cannabis for the last Century), it is important for each of us to take greater responsibility when responding to our health and medicinal needs.
In addition, a simple diet change to nutrition-rich and toxin-less plant foods is in many cases all a person needs to do to cure their illness. Then of course preventative measures to avoid health problems are a must, as are educational and developmental strategies for our minds.
Plus, we all need some downtime and good times in our lives too.
I have broken self-care into eight sub-categories as it was integral for me when I was getting myself out of the depression I developed in early adulthood, as well as working out the specific ways I needed to evolve. These areas more or less overlap, but it’s a handy way to better understand ourselves, and our needs.
Ideas and Ideals:
- Physical Health
- More movement, greater fitness, self-massage, full body stretches everyday (along with a pure diet, stretching is a great way to begin to take care of your body if you’re overweight);
- Healthy food and water as mentioned above, as well as eliminate or limit drugs, including alcohol and pharmaceuticals;
- If you must smoke, smoke less and switch to organic tobacco;
- Declutter and deep clean home, car, office etc.; and
- Use non-toxic beauty and hygiene products.
- Psychological/Emotional Health
- Meditate for at least 10 minutes every morning and/or evening (here is an article to get you started and here is one describing dozens of scientifically proven health benefits);
- Healthy food and water as mentioned above;
- Consume independent, propaganda-free information and decrease social media interaction;
- Face and aim to overcome your hypocrisies and traumas, arrange your mind coherently through mindfulness and self-administered psychotherapy, clear your emotional and psychological baggage (let s*** go), heal hurts, practice forgiveness, expand consciousness in general through learning greater and more powerful truths; and
- Create and maintain boundaries on friends and family members who treat you poorly or drain you emotionally and energetically.
- Philosophical Health (Philo = love of and Sophia = wisdom)
- Identify and transform your false beliefs (try to start as fresh as you can to really dig out the lies fictions that we’ve carry since our childhood);
- Organise your philosophies (which we all have) into a coherent and consistent framework;
- Develop a grand vision of your existence which will create a stronger force field against life’s challenges and woes;
- Evolve and embody your cosmology;
- Invest time in transforming knowledge (information) into wisdom (action and behaviour); and
- Discover new ideas and concepts and learn new ways to perceive and conceive life.
- Sexual Health
- Ensure healthier self-pleasure practices, such as masturbating less if you do it too much or do it more if you don’t do it enough;
- Be more present with your partner when having sex, develop greater sexual communication including with fantasies, explore their body more, try new positions, set up sexual temple including burning candles, create more time and space for each other;
- Develop tantra techniques and be more present in your body;
- Ensure your fantasies are healthy; and
- Equally value giving and receiving, or according to the dynamics of your relationship.
- Creational Health
- Be more inventive, try out new hobbies, develop new interests, evolve hobby health;
- Paint, draw, build, cook, grow food and practice any other form of art;
- Explore more of your local areas; and
- Practice daily, weekly and monthly rituals.
- Recreational Health
- Increase time doing healthy leisure activities.
- Social Health
- Be around your friends and family in healthy and productive settings;
- Identify the roles and characters that you play that are not really you, so you can be who you need and want to be, instead of who society or your peers expect you to be;
- Mix with groups that are respectful to others and avoid those which have a herd mentality that inflict verbal, emotional or physical harm onto others;
- Get involved with local groups that aim to help your community; and
- Meet new people and explore new ways to socialise.
- Spiritual Health
- Spirituality can be viewed as simply honouring our intimate interconnection with life, regardless if we perceive it through ecological, quantum physical and/or metaphysical lenses;
- Respect the sovereignty of your spirit, dance with the mystery of existence, have awe for the many things we are yet to understand, connect with the self and all its’ layers;
- Investigate true astrology, numerology, sacred geometry;
- Connect with life in general (plant, animal, cosmic and metaphysical intelligence and essence);
- Practice enchantment, recognise your spirit quests, get out in nature more, apply reverence to your experience, be more grateful; and
- Keep a dream journal, meditate, generate out-of-body experiences, alter your states of consciousness through meditation and mindfulness.
4. Be Mindful of World-Care
Most of us want to leave behind a world that is better than when we found it so that our future generations can benefit from that legacy. However, in this day and age the human population is divided more than ever, where fighting each other is more prevalent than collectively focusing on our commonalities, such as the poor design of our social system.
This does more harm than good, especially when the populace is increasingly hateful towards each other.
Whether it’s politics, science, entertainment or even spirituality, the herd mentality has fragmented the masses. As a result, many of the core issues of our current age seldom get attention by a good number of people. In addition, many people only focus on the injustices that are symptomatic to them, instead of also focusing on the root cause.
Therefore, when we become more mindful of our world-care, we must take a grand, objective view of the way our social system is designed so that our associated action can have the greatest effectiveness. Furthermore, given the hatred and abuse online and at partisan political events, we would all benefit by caring for and respecting people more, debating maturely and aiming to find common ground with one another.
Ideas and Ideals:
- Educate ourselves on the fundamental societal issues, as well as the potential solutions [Hint: the 4M’s are a good place to start, which are Management (poor government design and education failings), Media (propaganda issues and controlled outlets), Medicine (toxic drugs and unhealthy food supply) and Money (the supply is non-sovereign and money creation should be exclusive for community banks, not private banks)];
- Have greater focus on the issues with the design of the social system, not just its symptoms;
- Treat others with respect, even those you disagree with (unless they’re causing harm of course);
- Be properly educated if you engage in debates and do so in mature ways;
- Ensure you’re not parroting propaganda and lies;
- Do no harm, unless in self-defence (the golden rule);
- Objectively examine alternative opinions and perspectives to learn more, and then change your beliefs according to new insights into what is the reality of our reality;
- Behave in ways that recognise that we’ll never agree with all the beliefs of other people, but that we do have some common ground too, such as that we all want safety, happiness and wellness for ourselves and our loved ones;
- Behave in ways which encourage unification with your fellow man, not division;
- Get involved with local, national and international initiatives that genuinely aim to help move humanity in more honourable and just directions;
- Buy local where possible, shop in independent stores to avoid the multinational chains, examine the institutions you support with your money to determine if their ethics align with yours, bank with community-owned institutions;
- Smile and engage with people daily, introduce yourself to the people that you deal with on a weekly basis (shop keepers, people that you pass at work/on public transport), join a community group or class, visit and help out at your community garden, volunteer if you have the time, check in on your neighbours (especially the elderly);
- Adjust your footprint on the environment, such as household waste, composting, growing your own food, buying in bulk, reuse before recycle, avoid buying food in plastic, take your own shopping bags, make your own cleaning and beauty products, try not to buy anything new all month and source second hand items and clothing, donate/swap/sell items that you no longer use, be a weirdo and pick up other peoples trash when you are in nature;
- Learn about and practice permaculture, regardless to what degree you can; and
- Be part of the solutions, not the problems.
If you read to the end, well done, I appreciate your commitment. I hope you put even more commitment into yourself and your world for not just ‘Flawless August’, but your entire life too.
After all, you deserve it.
A way to get you determined and excited is by looking forward to how good you will be thinking, feeling and behaving after just a week, and then two, especially after consuming quality food, water and information.
To get started, put aside an entire day to get the resources you need for the week, so that you’re prepared. Research new recipes, new honourable news outlets, and new hobbies. And tell your friends and family so they can check in on your progress.
If you’re reading this after August has already begun, try doing it for a week or two anyway. For anyone who tests it out, take note of how easy it is in some ways and challenging in others. I’m sure people in more urbanised environments, for example, will find greater difficulty in sourcing quality food and water, however I’m near certain it’s not impossible.
And please feel free to report your experience to myself and Nicole at [email protected].
Thanks for reading and best care on your journey (see below for Podcast link).
About the Author
Phillip J. Watt is an author and presenter who lives on the Mid North Coast of NSW Australia. His first book, ‘The Simulation‘, is a daring exposé of the human experience in the 21st Century. His written and film work has reached into the millions of people and deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook, listen to his ‘Mad Magic’ Podcast on SoundCloud or Itunes, watch his short films and video interviews at his YouTube Channel or visit his website Pushing the Tipping Point.
10 Things You Don’t Wan’t To Know About Yourself
“Freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” ~George Orwell
Sick of all those self-affirmation articles? Tired of all the self-help gurus blowing sunshine up your skirt? Need something a little more grounding? More down-to-earth? More humbling? Here’s a fresh batch of wake-up calls and kicks-in-the-shin straight from the oven. Get it while its hot…
1.) You are an animal:
“What a chimera then is humankind. What a novelty; what a monster, what a chaos.” ~Blaise Pascal
This one is painfully obvious, but you probably need a reminder.
You are a naked ape. You are blood and bones and improbable apposable thumbs. You were born from the womb and you will one day be food for worms. In the womb, you went through all the phases of evolution: from a single-celled amoeba to a multicellular tadpole to a brain-wielding infant.
In your short life, you will piss and s*** and bleed. You will rage and cry and sleep. You will go through all the profane motions of being a mortal mammal within an amoral universe. And here’s the real kick in the teeth: it’s going to hurt like hell. Hope you have a good sense of humor, because you’re going to need it.
2.) You are fallible:
“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” ~W.B. Yeats
You are terribly imperfect. You will make mistakes. More so, you are mistaken about a great many things. Most of which you will probably never admit to yourself, because admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.
But it goes deeper than that. There are fallibilities within fallibilities. It’s a veritable fractal forest of fallibility. A fractal wrongness, if you will.
You are more wrong about things than you can possibly imagine, and yet you insist. You force your wrongness. You are fierce with it, ruthlessly certain with it. You are so hungry for rightness that you bludgeon the Truth with your wrongness. All the while imagining that you are right.
As it turns out, you are more likely to be right by admitting that you are probably wrong than by declaring that you are probably right.
3.) You are a hypocrite:
“You have not learned to play and mock the way a man ought to play and mock. Are we not always seated at a great table for play and mockery? Learn to laugh at yourselves as a man ought to laugh. Learn to laugh beyond yourselves, and learn to laugh well.” ~Nietzsche
You are a hypocrite by nature. By the fact that you perceive an unfathomable reality with fallible faculties. It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you are a “you” precludes hypocrisy. The self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem. More akin to a chaotic theater of actors than a single personality.
Indeed, the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was always inevitable. Merely the biproduct of a fallible self.
Amidst this mayhem of fallible selfhood, you will experience dissimulation and self-deception, dishonesty and deep pretension, inauthenticity and artificiality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is hidden beneath layer upon layer of subconscious/unconscious double-dealings, feigned sincerity, two-faced unctuousness, and the mealymouthed choruses of canting contradictions.
Your hypocrisy knows no bounds, so you might as well own up to it.
4.) You will fail:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett
Failure is a given when you are merely a fallible, hypocritical animal going through the motions of living life in an uncertain universe.
But there is wisdom hidden in failure if you are keen to it. Setbacks can be transformed into steppingstones. Tragedy can be hardwired into comedy. Catastrophe can be whittled into accomplishment. You can build a ladder out of the shattered pieces of your life and climb out of the abyss.
But guess what? You will probably fail again. The higher you climb the farther you may fall. When it comes to failure, there is always a deeper abyss. Defeat, hard luck, and utter collapse are right around the corner. Disappointment is Accomplishment’s kissing cousin. Tragedy is Triumph’s red-headed stepchild. Today’s achievement could very well be tomorrow’s tripwire. So be it. Use it all as a sharpening stone for your all-too-mortal soul.
5.) You are never not broken:
“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” ~M.C. Escher
Wholeness does not imply perfection. It infers embracing brokenness as an essential part of being human. There is never a state in which you are not broken.
You are a walking, talking broken heart going through the motions of breaking apart and coming back together again. This also applies to the mind, the body, and the soul. You are constantly in a state of repair.
Your suffering is sufferable. What’s insufferable is your ideal of perfection. There will always be pain. There will always be heartache. There will always be existential angst. We wreck ourselves against these. Then we knock out the dents, mend the cracks, and heal the wounds. We do this in the hope that it will make us stronger. But perhaps it won’t.
The wound may or may not become a sacred wound. All you can do is hurt, heal, and hope. Hurt, heal, and hope. From fragility to robustness to antifragility, you will always be in a state of falling apart and coming back together again. Embrace it.
6.) You have a dark side:
“There are no shortcuts to wholeness. The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we know ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say, ‘I am all of the above.’” ~Parker J. Palmer
You have a shadow. Even your shadow has a shadow called the golden shadow. Your shadow is your repressed or unconscious self, struggling to be liberated and more conscious. Awareness is key. Becoming aware of our shadow side is shining a light into the darkness and giving our dark side permission to shine its blacklight back into the blinding light, which creates a unity of opposites.
An empowered dark side balances out the equation of the complicated human condition. Without this balance, you risk fragile one-dimensionality and a brittle ego terrified of taking responsibility for its shadow and thus fearful of the shadow of others.
You cannot fully know yourself without knowing your dark side and embracing your shadow. Such wholeness breeds wisdom and the ability to experience the full range of what it means to be human.
7.) Your beliefs limit you:
“If you adopt an idea or perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to truth.” ~The Buddha
Your beliefs are incredibly restricting. You’ve been indoctrinated to think that you need to believe. Even worse, you’ve been brainwashed to believe more than you think.
In the battle against bewitchment, all beliefs, no matter how powerful or well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought and self-improvement.
tter to think rather than believe. Thinking that something might be true allows for error, fallibility, and wrongness. Believing that something is certainly true cuts us off from all other possibilities. Belief is all or nothing, predicated upon faith despite facts or evidence. Thought is open-ended, taking beliefs, facts, and evidence into deep consideration and then using probability and validity to discover the truth.
More importantly, thinking rather than believing allows for skepticism and questioning. It is considered blasphemous to question a belief. Whereas questioning a thought is considered appropriate. Might as well just skip belief altogether and simply take things into thoughtful consideration.
8.) You are culturally conditioned:
“When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don’t join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare.” ~Tom Robbins
You are programmed to think a certain way. This programming has propped-up your identity into perceiving a particular worldview that may or may not be based in reality. It might not even be healthy. This identity tied up in your worldview is an abstraction of an abstraction, a story within a story that you’ve convinced yourself is true.
But you have the power to reprogram your programming.
We are all conditioned by culture. The key is to become aware of it and to weigh our conditioning against the truth of reality. Then recondition the conditioning. We each have our own Plato’s Cave to navigate.
The extent to which you can become aware of your own “cave” will be the extent of your flexibility, open-mindedness, and personal freedom.
9.) You know less than you think:
“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.” ~Robert Rubin
You think you know more than you actually do. Your certainty about a great many things limits your imagination, creative thinking, and ability to question. It leads to dogmatic reasoning and close-mindedness.
ou are just so certain, aren’t you? Your certitude is so powerful that you cannot see past your beliefs. Hung up on what you’ve found, you have given up the search. Your journey has come to an end. Your certainty has led you to a dead-end. You are stuck. And the only way out is to question what you think you know.
The more you question, the more you realize that the only answer that makes any sense is to keep questioning. When you stop questioning the journey for truth comes to an end and stagnation, sloth, and dogmatism begin to rule your world. Keep things in perspective by accepting that you know less than you think you do and keep questioning.
10.) Your life is terribly inconsequential:
“Don’t slip on the banana peel of nihilism, even while listening to the roar of Nothingness.” ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti
When it comes down to it, your life is a flash in the pan. It’s dust in the cosmic wind. It’s an infinitesimally insignificant spark in an unfathomably dark, unforgiving, and meaningless universe. But it is a spark.
What you do won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But it’s very important that you do it anyway. Why? Because you are the universe attempting to become aware of itself. You are an awareness machine in an otherwise unaware cosmos. You are a meaning-generator in a reality void of meaning. You might be nothing more than a speck in the universe, but you are also the entire universe in a speck.
Either way, you will one day be dust. Your tiny insignificant life will end. Face that fleetingness with a fierceness. Laugh into the abyss. Face fear with fearlessness. Climb the highest mountain and kick God in the nuts. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or not. None of it will matter in the end. You will still be the butt-end of the cosmic joke. It’s all laughable. So you might as well have a laugh.
Gary Z McGee, Self-inflicted Philosophy, republished here with permission.
Physicists Suggest All Matter Could Be Made Up of Energy ‘Fragments’
Matter is what makes up the Universe, but what makes up matter? This question has long been tricky for those who think about it – especially for the physicists.
Reflecting recent trends in physics, my colleague Jeffrey Eischen and I have described an updated way to think about matter. We propose that matter is not made of particles or waves, as was long thought, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made of fragments of energy.
From Five to One
The ancient Greeks conceived of five building blocks of matter – from bottom to top: earth, water, air, fire and aether. Aether was the matter that filled the heavens and explained the rotation of the stars, as observed from the Earth vantage point.
These were the first most basic elements from which one could build up a world. Their conceptions of the physical elements did not change dramatically for nearly 2,000 years.
Then, about 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea that all matter exists at points called particles. One hundred fifty years after that, James Clerk Maxwell introduced the electromagnetic wave – the underlying and often invisible form of magnetism, electricity and light.
The particle served as the building block for mechanics and the wave for electromagnetism – and the public settled on the particle and the wave as the two building blocks of matter. Together, the particles and waves became the building blocks of all kinds of matter.
This was a vast improvement over the ancient Greeks’ five elements but was still flawed. In a famous series of experiments, known as the double-slit experiments, light sometimes acts like a particle and at other times acts like a wave. And while the theories and math of waves and particles allow scientists to make incredibly accurate predictions about the Universe, the rules break down at the largest and tiniest scales.
Einstein proposed a remedy in his theory of general relativity. Using the mathematical tools available to him at the time, Einstein was able to better explain certain physical phenomena and also resolve a longstanding paradox relating to inertia and gravity.
But instead of improving on particles or waves, he eliminated them as he proposed the warping of space and time.
Using newer mathematical tools, my colleague and I have demonstrated a new theory that may accurately describe the Universe. Instead of basing the theory on the warping of space and time, we considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than the particle and the wave.
Scientists understand that particles and waves are existential opposites: A particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point, and waves exist everywhere except at the points that create them.
My colleague and I thought it made logical sense for there to be an underlying connection between them.
Flow and Fragments of Energy
Our theory begins with a new fundamental idea – that energy always “flows” through regions of space and time.
Think of energy as made up of lines that fill up a region of space and time, flowing into and out of that region, never beginning, never ending and never crossing one another.
Working from the idea of a universe of flowing energy lines, we looked for a single building block for the flowing energy. If we could find and define such a thing, we hoped we could use it to accurately make predictions about the Universe at the largest and tiniest scales.
There were many building blocks to choose from mathematically, but we sought one that had the features of both the particle and wave – concentrated like the particle but also spread out over space and time like the wave.
The answer was a building block that looks like a concentration of energy – kind of like a star – having energy that is highest at the center, and that gets smaller farther away from the center.
Much to our surprise, we discovered that there were only a limited number of ways to describe a concentration of energy that flows. Of those, we found just one that works in accordance with our mathematical definition of flow.
We named it a fragment of energy. For the math and physics aficionados, it is defined as A = -⍺/r where ⍺ is intensity and r is the distance function.
Using the fragment of energy as a building block of matter, we then constructed the math necessary to solve physics problems. The final step was to test it out.
Back to Einstein, Adding Universality
More than 100 ago, Einstein had turned to two legendary problems in physics to validate general relativity: the ever-so-slight yearly shift – or precession – in Mercury’s orbit, and the tiny bending of light as it passes the Sun.
These problems were at the two extremes of the size spectrum. Neither wave nor particle theories of matter could solve them, but general relativity did.
The theory of general relativity warped space and time in such way as to cause the trajectory of Mercury to shift and light to bend in precisely the amounts seen in astronomical observations.
If our new theory was to have a chance at replacing the particle and the wave with the presumably more fundamental fragment, we would have to be able to solve these problems with our theory, too.
For the precession-of-Mercury problem, we modeled the Sun as an enormous stationary fragment of energy and Mercury as a smaller but still enormous slow-moving fragment of energy. For the bending-of-light problem, the Sun was modeled the same way, but the photon was modeled as a minuscule fragment of energy moving at the speed of light.
In both problems, we calculated the trajectories of the moving fragments and got the same answers as those predicted by the theory of general relativity. We were stunned.
Our initial work demonstrated how a new building block is capable of accurately modeling bodies from the enormous to the minuscule. Where particles and waves break down, the fragment of energy building block held strong.
The fragment could be a single potentially universal building block from which to model reality mathematically – and update the way people think about the building blocks of the Universe.
Republished from TheConversation.com under Creative Commons
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.”
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