Meditation and mindful practices - Vipassana, Jungian 'ego death', Buddhism nondualism, transcending the Maya, Mahayana Buddhism advaya, Dzogchen samadhi - wonderful aspirations, complex practices, a handbook for reaching ego-death liberation from the emotional animal idiot within. OR ARE THEY?
Friend versus enemy, faithful versus corrupted, good versus evil: choose your favorite dichotomy, it doesn't matter. Tribalism is compelling. It's melodrama designed to misdirect public discourse away from scrutinizing the real business of exploitation. Governments, corporations, institutions, vested interests, city halls, these power dynamics use the same method. Democracy itself subordinates to this corrupt pantomime.
Few people give two hoots about climate change and of those few the drop off rate from children who care to adults who don't is significant. But this is a threat to the whole planet's future. Why don't we all care more? What's gone wrong with our collective psyche?
As human beings we know that FREE WILL matters. It's one of our most prized possessions. It's the basis of our concepts of freedom and individuality and self-identity. But what is FREE WILL if we are conditioned to only make choices that suit conventional agenda? What use is FREE WILL unless it's exercising FREE CHOICE out of the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH?
They say the self is an illusion and as proof ask: "Where is the actual you?" The brain? But not all brains are conscious. The soul? No evidence exists. What if the very question is missing the point, made meaningless by assumptions about sentience that run contrary to fact? Consider this hypothesis...
Answers to frequently asked questions about psilocybin, DMT (D-methyltryptamine, a.k.a. the spirit molecule) and the pineal gland (the human brain's atrophied third eye, a.k.a. the dreamcaster). Some answers may be familiar but there is new and original theory here too, as part of the "Five Lateral Essays on Consciousness" collection.
Psychedelic excitation - as in a D.M.T. trip - brings us into contact with strange transcendent beings, sentient entities that seem independent, conscious and 100% real. But what are these machine elves? Are they real? Has DMT opened the 'third eye'? Are we communicating with aliens, across the universe divide?
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is a psychological state, observed when a brain holds onto a belief (about reality) in the face of persistent contradictory evidence; by somehow ignoring it. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is stressful but not as disturbing as having to explode a belief. The brain's natural non-stress state, however, is COGNITIVE CONSONANCE, where belief is evidentially and consistently in alignment with reality. The less easily observed but nonetheless essential enabler of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is known as COGNITIVE ASSONANCE. ASSONANCE recasts DISSONANCE with most of its stress removed so it feels almost as natural as CONSONANCE.
Reality is parsed through the prism of storytelling. This can be beautiful, distilled intensity that’s emotional and compelling. It can be horrifying, focused on fears and misery. In all cases it’s occupying; it passes the day. Trouble is, the storytelling may have outlived its usefulness and what no doubt has driven homo sapiens to date may now be the recipe for our extinction.