Saturday, January 3, 2009

um, i don't know what this is...

...but it's some stuff i was thinking about the other day.

a universe in a box

you are here.

We are given but one choice.

We are given data, information that tells us certain things about the world around us. And based upon that information, we make choices. We decide how to react to the input we are given, we live our lives based upon the things we see. For instance: if the world tells me A, I will react with a set of actions called B, because that has worked in the past. We have the ways in which we react to the data pre-configured.

The one choice we really have is whether to believe the data.

And here’s the idea that just occurred to me this evening: what do you do if you realize, or decide, or figure or somehow stumble onto the realization that your input system is faulty? In other words, what do you do if you were to discover that you cannot correctly process the information that is given to you, that you can no longer trust your input stream? If you come to believe that the images your brain thinks it sees and the sounds it thinks it hears have nothing to do with reality?

What, in other words, if everything you have ever been told is wrong? How do you move on from there, from a place of tossing aside every bit of data you have ever processed, from letting go of everything you ever thought you knew? What then?
Part of this comes from thinking about friends and relatives who were raised in strongly religious homes, and how difficult it must be to wrap your head around the notion that perhaps not all of the things you were taught as a kid are true.

But another part of this comes from simply seeing how casually deluded we all are on so many levels. We walk around with our heads so far up our own asses, with unshakeable beliefs in who we are both physically and morally, how people see us, in what we say we believe. Example: ‘Oh, I’m not a Republican. I’m a Libertarian’ -guy. Yet when you question what he means by that, he confesses to watching O’Reilly religiously, voting for R’s up and down the ticket in the last several elections, etc. ‘Libertarian’ is just a label he must give himself in order to feel as if he is independent and not a mindless follower. (That example is just off the top of my head -- I will think of other examples and add them. If you have any, please send them in comments.)
But what I’m trying to get at here is what would happen if you not only had all your sensory apparatus taken away, as in ‘Tommy’ or some such thing, but slowly came to the realization that everything you ever thought you saw and understood was the result of faulty data? What if you came to find you could no longer trust your lying eyes?

So. The one choice we are given, or which we must take, whether or not it is given -- because it won’t be given, it can’t possibly be given by anyone else -- is to choose not to believe the input sensory data. We must choose to throw out all the data -- which, let’s face it, is faulty at best, due to all of our filtration systems, and our past ‘knowledge’ poisoning the well of our new input streams -- and start over with fresh eyes.

The idea is getting rid of pretty much every single assumption we have ever made about anything or anyone. I can’t possibly know or understand the world or anyone else, I don’t know what they are, or what they want or how they feel; I don’t even know what I am or what I want. I have been playing along with a game, the rules of which I only pretend to understand. I, and the vast majority of my fellow humans have been faking it, in other words. We all run around, smug looks on our faces (because that’s what seems to be expected) pretending we understand what is going on in this universe and with our fellow humans. We do so because we fear that someone else surely knows more about what’s going on than we do, and we don’t wish to appear ignorant. But we are; we are all ignorant, foolish children, blind as bats, playing at a game we can’t even begin to understand. We are cockroaches trapped in a jar of honey that go on believing they are roaming free through a wide field.

We need to invent a new game for ourselves. We need to re-examine the short-sighted, the cynical and unthoughtful ways we have approached our lives and each other. The shortcuts we have taken to understanding not only stand us in ill stead, providing only a fractured and therefore false sense of what we are seeing around us; they are actually a hindrance, simply because we assume that what we are seeing is the truth, and it is not.

We are given one choice: to stop believing that what we are seeing is Truth, or live and die in ignorance.
Jesus, dude. Where’d that come from? :)

Thoughts, anyone? Can anyone make any sense out of all that?


1 comment:

caleb gilbert said...

i don't know what to make of this except that it's a wonderful feeling at the same time. its hard to embrace but necessary to feel that way. it keeps up in check as animals, not kings of the world...