Meta Extentialist Experience

I am three years into a vicious workplace conflict that has caused me to have what I am calling a meta-existential crisis.

Regular existential crisis are what purpose or meaning can life have when you eventually die? But I think that is a small concern when you consider that since civilizations live and die, what purpose or meaning can individual lives have? Or whole planets, solar systems…. nothing is so bad that taking the extreme long view or biggest possible picture can’t make it worse.

I am experiencing a change in perception and sensory perceptions that I have no correlating experience for, other than the dramatic time perception shift that occurs when you think you might die during periods of actual possibility of death.

I have experienced the slowing of time as if a frame by frame advance with intermixed still scenes from my earlier life flashing before my eyes twice in my life – in both cases, I had no control over the situation (someone else was driving in one and I was drowning, being held underwater by someone thinking they were playful in the other)

At times when my life was in danger, and I was in control of the situation, I did not experience the frame by frame or life flashbacks, but rather a slightly slower than usual time, but more vivid detail of the event – several near fatal and barely avoided accidents in which I was a driver. While actual time didn’t change, my relationship to time changed, and these memories are more vivid and detailed, even though they are flashes.

I think that having a degree of control over the outcome is what makes a difference between the two experiences.

In any event, I am no longer experiencing time in a real/analog manner, but rather as variable speed and compression – life feels like a digital playback that I can alter by altering my perception, brain chemistry and by meditation.

I can’t reverse time, but I am not entirely sure that I didn’t die in November 2010 and everything from a particular date/event is my dying brain playing out an unrealizable possible future; so I regularly seek reality validation from other people is necessary to convince myself that it’s well after November 2010, and this is real.

Whatever this is and whatever real is….

So the question I have is, has anyone else experienced an existential crisis or had a collapse of your entire belief/faith system?

By faith, I am not meaning religious – but rather faith in a system you had trust in – I am basically a policy wonk who has been betrayed by the offices of authority, which, I am still to humiliated to go into.

(beware anyone with a manifesto)

Suffice to say, that my employer psychologically assaulted and took away my personal sovereignty and for several hours, I was without any civil rights – something that, as a lesbian, I am particularly sensitive to, having only had full civil rights since 2003 – when I was 35.

(when I was the ideal principle version if me)

So, I have been experiencing shifts in perception and time and these have manifest as physical as well as sensory experiences.

{as the ideal compromises – or learns to -(the to and fro wobble)}

Particularly when my mind is in an altered state by medication or blood sugar levels (also diabetic, so being sugar high makes me a bit loopy).

The physical sensations are like being a dishrag that is bent and twisted, complete with pulling, heat and twisting sensations – either as a whole body experience – and I feel compelled to turn in three or four loops when I am walking or to walk in small tight circles.

The number seven and pairs of numbers that add up to seven seem very significant for unclear reasons, with a suggestion of being phases or states.

These occur when I feel close to some kind of revelation of understanding, and it feels like some kind of truth or understanding will bubble to the top of my awareness from the depth of the experiences percolating deep in my mind, colliding and mashing until they make sense or give rise to a new understanding – often, it’s in parallel to the TV program or movie characters that feel like guides to humanity – I only watch DVD, so am selecting the programs being watched, not channel surfing – so sometimes, I feel compelled to watch particular shows, as if to be reminded of a particular revelation or understanding.

For example, Farscape, the US/Australian TV show is basically an existential crisis of the lead character who is thrown from earth into a strange universe and he has to decide who to trust, what matters and brings the universe to the brink of extinction if the parties won’t abide by what John has determined matters.

Deep Space Nine is the blue collar of STNG that comes into its Starfleet frontier to final conflict – High Noon at the Alpha-Gamma Quadrant Saloon – Quark’s That Is. Quark’s Saloon.

now, I can find a lot of information about existentialism, but nothing on what it sense sensor {sensually} and physically feels like

I think that people throughout history have had them, and what they have understood to matter and have meaning from the crisis are obvious and plain truths to anyone who wants to take a breath and think for a while.

I think that these experiences have been mis-characterized as religious experiences and are the experience behind the idea of revealed truth – rather than a crisis and self evident truth (in the context of the crisis, [at the every least,] if not the actual {as {it turns out} it happens truth as well.)

That it wasn’t enough for the person to gain an understanding and become a better person, but they or someone who heard them, sought to gain wealth and power by leveraging the obvious – work and play well with others type understanding – into a religion and give it a sheen of authority and mighty by adding “and god said so; so obey or else suffer the consequences by the god I claim told me so.”

(because seeing for yourself is the only certainty that one can be sure of…)

I think that it is these truths that are in all religions because they are truth and have been incorporated in the religions, rather than the religions based on the truth, since religion is not about truth, but consolidating power and wealth for very little work contribution to the group.

(and seeing enough to be able to understand what others see…)

In any event, I can’t stay on focus, because I cannot filter information – cognitive disinhibition – everything is meaningful and not and everything is relative and related, so nothing is.

Anyways, when I get close to the bigger, game changing understanding, the physical whole body sensations of being twisted and rung like a dishcloth, shrinks down to the sensations being scaled for just my head, and my jaw moves and cracks and I feel like the bones of my skull are shifting like tectonic plates, my vision blurs, my muscles strain and I taste blood in my mouth and my teeth ache in my jaw

I can understand that a person would interpreted these as being a religious touched by god experience, but the ideas and understanding are not out of line with reality and often affirming of ideal reality, they are organic and are my own intuitive leaps and understanding of how I would like the world to be

and how the world is not

okay that was a ratchet paradigm shift, owie owie owie

seismic skull clatter

writing this is making me experience what I am trying to describe

and maybe there’s a reason no one describes the sensations

it means that someone will phone the nice young men in the clean white coats…….

Existentially Yours

Nothing

Something

Everything

Anything

Yes, no, both, neither

Yes, maybe, no

Positive, negative

Creation, existence, destruction, nothing

Love, sex, orgasm, true love, big bang, creation

Metaphor, everything and nothing

Rise and fall, back and forth, compromise, limbo

Everything is it’s polar opposite,

truth is everything to it’s absolute

lies are nothing to it’s absolute

truth and lies are absolute

absolute is relative to something

something is nothing

Creation, existence, destruction, nothing

God

Understand everything

Perpetual self awareness

Positive, negative, yes, no

Self aware

compromise, yes, no

Choices, absent, present,

personality

identity

we are everything and nothing (identity)

we are relative – magnitudes of the same extremes (personality)

everyone is another version of ourselves

we are all switches for each other, off and on

genes, binary

molecules, solar systems

bouncing and switching

atoms, genes, cells, organisms, organs, systems, individual

individual is a part of the collective

individuals are more than the sum of their parts

we must each play a part

we are parts

we are parts of each other

switches

everyone

anyone

someone

one

no one

all or nothing

yes, no

both

none

aware, unaware, self aware, oblivious

exist, express, create, communicate

evolution, creation

orgasm

hero working through all possibilities

villain opposing at each turn

heroes are villains working in reverse

switching, switching each other

trying to take each other along

influence, manipulate, bully, corrupt

violence

peace

yes, no

oblivion, peace, protest, up-rise, revolt, civil war, war, warfare

Mouth, taking in everything tolerable, destroying it

Digestive, extraction, selection, absorption, expellation

Excreting, anus, gas, liquid, solids

Mouth, anus, star, black hole

Something, mumble, nothing, yell

Yell, hearing, action, reaction

Yes no

Light dark

Sight blind

See, aware, conscious, self aware, enlightenment, self enlightenment, perpetual enlightenment, unenlightened

Collective, individual, compassion, individual as part, parts become whole, the whole is the sum of it’s parts, self-aware, enlightened, self enlightened, yes no, perpetually enlightened god

Everything, nothing

Yes, no

Expand, contract

Erupt, disburse, nothing

Nothing, something

Individual, Driving it opposing it, compromise; both neither; me you; me or you, yes no

Nothing, everything, no one everyone god

Driving it, helping it, mocking it, in on it, opposing it, resigned to it, bored of it

Yes             maybe        neither        everything  nothing, depressed, is that all there is

Here it comes again, orgasm

Life is sex, creation

Life is consumption and destruction

This is insanity

But I am sane

Sane is clarity, but insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results, there’s nothing sane about clarity when you have to consider everything to be right

Right, wrong,

Yes, no

And endless loop

Life imitates sex – missionary to kinky

It doesn’t matter which path, as long as it takes us there

Paths are interwoven patterns

Patterns of loops, forward, backwards, sideways, up, down, movement, stillness

Patterns abstract and concrete

There and not

Everything and nothing

Yes no

Shift POV, left, right, centered, justified

To the side, balanced

Yes, no

Heartbeats

Rhythm – music, art

Pattern

Math, science

Each word a beginning, an end, a branch, a joining

Patterns are a rich tapestry

Tapestry of life

Life is a journey

Journeys are made of steps

Foot steps

Rhythm

Digress, loop back, stop, move ahead

Rhythm of the night

Night day, light dark

Yes, no

Exist or not

Exist, create

Comsume, expel

To destroy is to create

Mouths nourish and destroy

Digestion blends and extracts

Expel, expunge, expose, reveal, truth

Destruction is creation

Something from nothing

Yes no

We eat, we blend, extract, destroy and expel

So, are farts the big bang or is orgasm

Orgasm deconstructs, rests, sleep

Sleep is the little death

Orgasm before sleep

Life before death

Sex nourishes and consumes us

Casts us into darkness

Waking to light

Existing

Awareness, conscious

Self aware

Awake

Awake is walking sleep

Existence is experiencing everything

Time makes that impossible

Time is relative

Relative is absolute

All and nothing

All or nothing

Yes no

Either both

Maybe

Expel, express, communication, common frame, POV

Tools, technology

Letters, language

Extract expand

Acronyms, words, phrases, sayings, expressions, thoughts, belief

Faith, dogma

Feel the pattern, see the pattern, be the pattern

The pattern collapses and pulls into itself

Push, pull, yes, no

Push me pull you switch

Me you, or and

Me

You

Me and you love

You

Me

Me more than you, selfish

You more than me, true love

The pattern, flipping, becomes a ling, flip becomes a dot

Dot’s shadow is a line

Shadows, light dark, twilight

Yes maybe no

Shadows, twilight, light, dark

Any light is light

No light is dark

Polar opposites

Yes or no

Resolved is the beginning and end

perpetually

but I’ve solved problems that felt big before and never experienced this

experience nothing?

Experience everything

Who said that?

I’m the only one

But I heard something

There must be someone else

Only one is god

Another god is maybe one before me?

I am the only one, there can be no others before me

But there is another one

Love hate like indifferent

Yes no

I wonder if men fixate on Jesus and women on Joan of Arc

And the civilization that ties to each is different, male female different

Sexuality is about who you’re attracted to, attraction is fatal, true attraction is preference for the other person over yourself, true love

Gender is part of identity, who you identify with

Men

Gay man

Woman

Gay woman

MtFwM  straight is gay

MtFwW gay is straight

WtMwW straight is gay

WtMwW gay is straight

Yes, no, maybe, both doubled into itself, a transition in the pattern

True love is opposites

Opposites are switches, genes

Off on

You always hurt the one you love, ignorance is absence from god, so hate the minority who is closest to god

Life, death, reincarnation, eternity

Yes no

The start is the beginning, stillness, looping, everywhere and no where

Life, death, reincarnation, eternity

Life Branches off into every possible experience

Death is oblivion

Reincarnation is perpetual rebirth, redeath

Perpetual is eternity

Everything is nothing

Yes no

Everything exists within and without, in-between and nowhere

Everything is a building block that works both directions in order of magnitude

When everything has happened, there’s nothing left

Enlightenment is the individual process of evolution

You don’t know

You think you know

You’re sure you know

You know

You get it

You’re in on it

You’re the target of it

You’re the push back

Gravity, repulsion, love, hate, light dark, yes no – all and nothing

Contradiction in everything, but it

……..

Enlightenment interruptus

………

Pulled back to reality from absolute abstraction

New loop within the loop

The closer you get to truth, the more limited your option

Truth is a death trap

Gnostic agnostic

Theist atheist

Thinker doer

I am self aware of the pattern

Accept, in which case, I can move on to unawareness and existence, sanity, random from pattern

Reject, in which case, I am stuck, looped, repeating, insane

If I accept, I am in on it

Loop around

Accept again, and I am inside and resisting it. Mocking? Fighting?

Ah, creation again, new layer

What can I accept?

Wait, is this the new final layer

Agnostic (can’t know the pattern) clueless, doubt

Gnostic (know the pattern) clued in

Atheist (reject pattern) ignore clues, reject, negative

Theist (embrace pattern) embrace clues, accept, positive

Skepticism is resisting knowledge of all things, reality, fiction, fantasy, imagination

Skepticism is nothing

(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (Gnostic) get it, (theist) in on it

– the last thing I had to deal with was fear? Of knowledge?

Wasn’t that the garden of eden story – eating from the tree of knowledge

Apples with seeds, seeds that sprout things or not

Tree of life

(atheist) Reject (agnostic) Doubt, (theist) get it, (gnostic) in on it

Joy at living forever (theist), boredom of living forever (Gnostic), confusion am I living forever (agnostic) I am not living forever (atheist)

Octave is 7 and the share/switch

7 storylines

6 stories and the game changer/switch

6 stories are 3 told one way, 3 in reverse

Switch changes the story direction

One switch theist – in on it    Three switches – levels of awareness of it

All we can realize is that there’s always another layer

Ignored

Revered (god)

Reverence (self aware)

Respect my reverence (entitled)

Arrogant, Respect

(demand, command)

Respect is not bestowed(mock) Respect is earned (admire

Theist (aka it = God)/driver/control of all

Gnostic (in on it) demands control, drives the group

Agnostic (all and none,) rejects control, submits to the group

Atheist (individual)/passenger/control of nothing

Did this just swing from

Being life itself/god that to be an atheist is to have god inside you so that there is no external evidence, Gnostic, and doubt unsure where god is

The internet is the collective brain, where we choose what we encounter to play out over and over again, like a pattern, is the pattern, aware of the pattern

When you are surrounded by all the versions of yourself you become all and none in one

Black hole, mouth, anus, pulling in expelling out, turning everything inside out and upside down, twisted at a distance and linear up close

Distance and closeness is awareness, being aware of being aware of enlightenment

Being enlightened about enlightenment is perpetual enlightenment

All paths are to understanding what god is, and god is anything we want

Majorities and minorities form as similarly enlightened people form larger groups that must tear apart and collapse on itself

People collapse into each other is sex

Orgasm is merging, elimination and creation

Each level of of unaware to enlightened is the

The higher you go, the more outside you are so can only see the surface and not the machinations

So seeing only the surface, we make assumptions about what we know

We make an ass of you and me

Self Mocking you

Single

Singles

Couple

Couples

Threesome

Threesomes

Mixed Group

Mixed Groups

One man and 1++W

One woman and 1++M

One man and 1++M

One woman and 1++W

One MtF and 1++M

One MtF and 1++W

One FtM and 1++M

One MtF and 1++W

One MtF and 1++MtF

One MtF and 1++ FtM

One FtM and 1++MtF

One FtM and 1++FtM

Why do I keep being interrupted just as I think I am close to the resolve?

Everything interrelated, in all directions, in none, expanding collapsing

A funnel dimensionally   – infinity and zero

Game Changers

I have been involved in an authentic discussion on an internet forum – I know sounds impossible, but it’s true. The entire discussion is here. It starts off as a normal theist/atheist debate – well, as a grown up one for the most part – but then Ben and I enter into a very intense discussion where we are using the same language to describe ever slightly different things.

During this discussion, I was for the first time ever, able to article a though about the origins of the universe as perpetual existence, in which creation and armageddon – creation and destruction are balanced.

The short version is that everything is energy, and a lower magnitude order of energy is matter – black holes pull everything in and compress the energy and white hole explode that compressed energy out and is the conduit for creation.

All the dark energy and dark matter is that which exists in potential or unrealized realities in our universe – every universe is telling every possible story that there is be to told, and it’s our collective and individual choices that direct the story from potentially being told to what is actually told.

In this way, the future is bright and everything could potentially happen – but our nature (aka genetics) give us our potential and our nurture (experience of other people) gives us our limitations within that potential.

Every now and then, a person can break through the limitations and potential and exceed it – these are the people who are the social game changers – they push the rest us off onto a slightly different trajectory than we would have, had that person not changed the game.

I digress for a moment and say that the first time I wrote a letter to the editor of my local daily paper was back in the 1980’s. A letter was published that said, in effect, we shouldn’t make a fuss over Elvis Presley, because he was just a human and a singer and he didn’t impact history.

The letter that I wrote responded with: Elvis was a human in the same way that Hitler or JFK were just humans. Elvis changed the culture and thus did change history and who else did the letter writer think could change human history – snails?

Nearly thirty years later and now with the blog – the biggest unedited letter to the editor opportunity since it lacks an editor, I expand on that simple outraged thought:

Game changers can be a representative force for good or evil, but either way, they represent a collective choice to change direction. When we talk about game changers, it is usually in terms of that they changed the course of history – as if history was on a set course, instead of plodding forward from the last game changer until someone does something and we all get behind the new direction.

Game changers can be in any arena but their impact is far sweeping and often, unable to be directly connected back, so profound are the changes they bring. Because what a game changer does, is act as a focal point for a collecgive existential crisis. They represent an extreme of a value that as a society, we’re all over the map is – game changers polarize the population, until the value crisis is resolved.

Hitler was a crisis of orderliness – all the mechanisms of society ran like clockwork under Hitler – he standardized railway lines, he increased employment and restored a proud identity – and the world could have gotten behind his family values even for he demanded the arts reflect purity in mind and representation – he was trained in architectural paintings – and his paintings where technically well made – they just didn’t have any purity of heart or imagine in them – and this is where they fell flat.

This is also where Hitler fell flat, for his goals were not to restore a sense of order, but rather to marshal forces for a purification – a genocide of everyone deemed lesser than.

The world could not get behind this, for, everyone is lesser than someone else – Hitler was nothing short of total annihilation of human kind – the diversity of humans is our strength – adaptability – if Hitler had succeeded, he would have had to turn on his own Austrians as falling short of the ideal – tall blond and blue eyes.

It also didn’t seem to register on the nazis, that the countries with the highest concentrations of tall, blond and blue eyed people – Holland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden – wanted nothing to do with his ideas. And, if they could have had any understanding of genetics – these northern Aryans were descended from the original Aryans, who started in India. The paler features being merely acclimated traits to the colder and less sunny climate in the north.

Of course, my favorite game changer is Elvis Presley – and I put him in comparison to Hitler because Hitler was intentionally trying to remake the world in a specific manner – whereas, Elvis was a game changer in a wholly organic and unintentional way.

Elvis Presley grew up in the poorest circumstances possible for a white person – the American South. His father is often referred to as a sharecropper, but that is a gross exaggeration, since Vernon was in fact a layabout who drifted from job to job without a thought to the legality of the job and he ended up for a short time in one of the harshest prisons of the south for altering a cheque – a small fraud of less than ten dollars.

Elvis was probably more scarred by the authorities removing his father than the poverty he grew up with, because the poverty was an experience that everyone he knew was having, so it was normal. This prison stint is likely why Elvis had something of a fetish for the symbols of authority – badges, uniforms and guns – because authority meant power.

Elvis wanted to sing and entertain people and he wanted to make enough money to support his parents, whom he referred to as his babies.

Elvis the game changer response to Hitler.

Hitler represented purity and order. Purity in behaviour, in body and mind, and purity of person – when purity ideas combine in religion and politics, ethnic cleansing is sure to follow.

Elvis represented everything impure about people – but impure in the fun and untamed sense – in him, the impurities were express through music, a joyful celebration of all that is earthy and basic drives for sex, food, colour, excess, vulgar but  an uplifting vulgar, a joyful vulgar. Elvis was the embodiment of racial equality, the unadulterated public sex, for Elvis didn’t just wiggle, Elvis fucked us all – the performance style of the fifties was exaggerated sexual movements and the represses teens threw off the social chastity belts and screamed and writhed and fucked back.

No performer would ever stand still to sing again until Sade in the 1980s, who made stillness her rebellion against the over choreographed performances that came after Elvis, reaching their penultimate in Madonna and Micheal Jackson.

Sadly, by which time, the audiences were once again used to carefully controlled performances and techno music, rather than the joyous and raw and authentic emotional release of the short explosion that the rockabilly, before it became the more mainstream and tame rock n roll.

John Lennon once said that Elvis died when he went into the army, but I think Lennon was being kind – Elvis the game changer died when his contract was sold to RCA and Elvis was no longer in partnership with Sam Phillips, who got the best of Elvis, Scotty and Bill – and Elvis, allowed himself to be led by Col. Parker, who took careful steps to separate Elvis from Scotty and Bill and turned Elvis away from the pure sexual art path and into a groomed commercial product.

We would not see Sun Elvis again, until 1968, when leather clad and running with sweat, Elvis again connected to his sexual power and made love to us all and then ended, white and powder dry, pouring out his soul, with If I Can Dream.

Please let that dream come true, indeed.

Hitler is the template for all that we should avoid in a political leader – one who dictates the party message, closes the field to differing opinions and especially prevents the development of future party leaders, seeks to control the role of women in society, controls eduction, focuses on families only and characters non-conformity as deviant – and in particular sexual deviance from the norm, scapegoats sub-cultures as being the cause of society problems and inequity, when it is the demand to conformity and purity that invents and is the basis for the inequity that sub-cultures and ethnic minorities are subjected to discrimination upon.

Elvis is the template to oppose these puritanical political-religious leaders – and he arose unforeseen from the ashes of the US South to challenge the social status set in motion by Senator McCarthy – a man not very distinguishable from Hitler at all in any meaningful sense, except that he did not achieve the degree of absolute power that Hitler had, McCarthy was limited to influence through threat and scare tactics.

Elvis equalized the the dominate white with the subculture of black, he was religiously zealous and worshiped authority and his 1950’s concerts should be viewed as southern revival gatherings. But Elvis never recognized himself as having any authority or power and thus it tempered his impact – for if Elvis had retained control of his artistic career, we well may have been pushed too fast, too far, beyond what we were collectively able to manage – so, Elvis, had to be not only tamed, but sacrificed.

Elvis himself, spent his life in a state of bewilderment, why him, of all people, was he Elvis Presley? To grow up so poor and then on the cusp of adulthood, become the most famous and controversial performer and the lighting rod for debate about public morals.

No one could have been prepared for the kind of existential crisis that would cause for a boy who was the first of either family side to complete high school, who aspired to the middle class American dream, to be entertaining people in a way that was no different to him than the churches he was raised in – Elvis brought what was his sense of normal onto the rest of us. Egalitarian and earthy, of the flesh and pure in spirit.

Elvis was the joy of living to the fullest, despite all hardships and setbacks, because you can’t know how long you will have life or how long a good stretch of life will last.

This is why Elvis was receptive to the message that he was a flash in the pan and he should get while the getting was good. Elvis, like everyone else, didn’t expect to last.

So, he listened to what Parker and the studios told him, they had the experience and were the experts – and he listened until he couldn’t anymore – then he would take control. When he did, no one could stand before him.

Sadly, this is in the purest sense, the SUN recordings and the 1968 tv special. Everything else was Elvis tamed and controlled, but still, Elvis working within constraints and Elvis phoning it in, was more often than not, better than most other people’s most authentic efforts.

And nothing that pure and gold could last. Elvis left the building of his own accord.

How Individuals bring social change

From my current experience within an existential existentialist crisis (what meaning can a life of meaning have when societies are not durable and civilizations rise and fall); I have come to understand that there are absolute truths. They are beautiful and boring, both at the same time.

But what the specific truths are, are in fact clichés – and they fall flat for the majority of us as trite and as bumper sticker caliber and resonant as simple truth – for an absolute truth is the distilled essence, and it is elegant and beautiful – which is why truth is beauty and beauty truth and that is all we know or need to know as Keats wrote – and thy do not need to be defined in relationship to a third factor to qualify theme as is endlessly debated in literature classes – which makes truth is beauty so simple and elegant and absolutely true in and of itself – therein lies the beauty!

The clinches are conveyed to us in poetry – which very little that is claimed to be poetry actually is – for poetry is extremely structured and economical, highly compacted phrases and words with multiple nuances – and not, as o called modern poetry is, lacking reason and rhyme and tends towards randomness and chaos – for in this state, there is no truth as everything is equal, with the same and no meaning at all.

Structure is a framework for understanding, and people who avoid mastering structure in favour of making their own story telling – which is about the construction, the structure – cannot convey meaning to their audience, with whom, the structure is the framework of understanding and meaning.

Knowing what forms denote a sonnet, we can understand the form and the meaning within and be able to determine the success or failure of the sonnet to achieve it’s ability to convey meaning and the value or beauty of the meaning.

Much like a sport has meaning from the game rules and conventions – one can enjoy any sport where the rules are understood and followed – and watching a game with an uneven number of players in widely diverse uniforms, on an unfamiliar field and equipment and inconsistent plays and referee calls would make little sense and be frustrating – even on a pleasant weather day with an alcoholic beverage and no place else to be. So does poetry and story telling derived meaning from the rules and the framework of the rules.

Our culture, our civilization, our beliefs and everything else that generates meaning – which is to say, anything that communicates meaning to us – is dependant on the framework, the rules of the framework and the resulting actions, relationships or objects.

Self esteem is no different – when we derive our self esteem from an internally sustaining source of self worth – we truly have boundless energy. What throws us out of kilter and lowers our self esteem are external messages that demean or deny our value.

But we are an object in a larger structure – each acting independently in a social structure that has conventions and rules – which are derived from the social framework.

So, if your self worth comes from within, but your society does not recognize your individual value – then you have to question the validity of your value or the values of society.

When enough people question the values of the society – social change occurs. Women got to vote. Slavery was legally abolished. Civil rights are enshrined and as more people accept that change in the social framework, the civil rights become enforced and over time, just part of the framework.

This way, it remains possible for a person to deny marriage to gays and lesbians, but cringe in horror at the suggestion that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

People who are amendable to change are those who’s personal framework of self value is inconsistent with the social rules and framework – or, they are people who’s personal framework has only recently been accommodated within the social framework and are still feeling the rejection keenly enough to empathize with other groups who are out of sync with the social framework.

It’s all fine and good for gays and lesbians to have civil rights enshrined in law when white gay and lesbians are then able to move about the white mainstream, while non-white gays and lesbians – who often worked to achieve the advancement, inclusion in the social framework, but who continue to be second class in the social framework because they are not white, they battle a compounded out of sync as non-white gays and lesbians. They are faced with mainstream discrimination as non-white members of a largely white society and discrimination as a gay person in a mainstream heterosexual society, and as a non-white gay person in the smaller non-white sub culture of the mainstream society. So, a white gay person in a largely white society faces the single level discrimination as gay in straight-world, but the non-white gay person faces two counts of mainstream and one count of subculture discrimination.

The characteristic that you value – yourself, your sexuality, your beliefs, every factor that makes you you – when it is not tolerated or even criminalized by the larger society – you face only two options. Change yourself or change society.

You are an agent of change.

What opposes you are the people, and their larger groups, who dominate society and make the rules within the framework. The framework is very influenced by religion or political agendas – which is why societies that are more homogenous are more harmonious – the majority is accommodated in the existing framework and there are very few minority groups or individuals seeking accommodation and inclusion.

That the Scandinavian countries have the highest standards of living and the least amount of social discord is not because they are Scandinavian, but rather because the majority of individual members share the same primary group identifiers.

This is why it is almost funny that the Nazi party idealized tall blonde and blue eyed people – they appear to have the best society – but, this is a ideology based on a faulty premise that it is the characteristics, rather than the degree of a set of characteristics that are shared. What makes the Nazi ideology is laughable is that the Scandinavian countries largely rejected Nazi ideology and the highest ranking Nazis were not at all Scandinavian.

So, back to societies in general and away from the evil that happens when political or religious ideology corrupts absolutely when that political and religious ideology is not kept in check and balance with the larger society.

The reason that social advances arrive in fits and spurts is actually a numbers game. Change literally does start with one person standing up and challenging the social conventions. When enough other people stand up and demand change on their own or on behalf of other people, then change occurs – first in law, and as people acclimate, then in practice – the change then becomes the convention, which people then defend the convention from further change – when the changes are not consistent with their own self value in relationship to the social rules and social framework.

This is how a religious person who is convinced that a person’s value is based on their compliance with god’s will – whatever that is currently defined as – will claim to be loving of all people while opposing a legal change that recognizes that person’s social value. AKA love the sinner, hate the sin. Which means, it’s tough love and tough noogies for being socially accepted you sinner.

The religious person will resist social change that means that a person they do not value – ie ethnic, sexual and belief minorities (beliefs being religions other than ones’s own, political views other than one’s one, or worse, non-belief) – suddenly has social value – because the one thing that a religious and political fundamentalist believer values above people, is compliance with the rules of the framework. The framework being their religious or political (usually their religious and political beliefs)  beliefs.

So, it is not the case that the Republican Party – you know, Lincoln’s party that freed the slaves – is being highjacked by the Christian religious right who oppose further advancement of rights of other and specifically sexual minorities – but rather that the party has been hijacked by religious fundamentalism that is unable to see that there is a difference between religious law and civil law. When you listen to the religious fundamentalists – how they define what is it to be an American – conformity, my country right or wrong, god first and country second – this is the very framework of theocratic nations; which are seen by the American fundies as a special kind of enemy for failing to share the values of what America stands for individual sovereignty and rights and freedoms – which if you exercise them, you are not a good American.

It truly does do your head right in if you think too hard about it.

But, this is why the fundamentalist are so driven to force everyone to comply, because then you don’t stand outside of their logic and see the obvious flaws. That they have no internal self worth and can only feel and having meaning within their preferred framework (their religion)

Fundamentalists are agents of status quo – they oppose change because change means that they have less personal value, and worst, if people who fundamentalists see as less valuable (women and other ethnicities) are deemed by the larger society to have value – then it calls into questions the fundie values who value the rules of society above all values. Largely because they expect to be able to be the primary if not only source of what those social values and rules and framework are.

Fundamentalists, individually and collectively, to retain value, have no option other than to oppose change. Reformers, individually and collectively, in order to gain value, have little option other than to create change.

So, we have societies that are currently dictatorship under religion (theocracies) or under an individual (political ideologies personified by a personality cult – ie Hitler, Stalin, Ghaddfi, Mao, etc) and we have societies that have stabilized under a duality of a two party system – then, we have more multicultural societies, as countries with alternative systems with a multiplicity of parties and often are democratic in other than first past the post systems.

The countries, and by extension the populations that enjoy the highest standard of living – with respect to life span, wealth distribution, health care, crime rates, economic participation and all the other measures that make life meaningful and enjoyable – are the countries where the population’s defaults are homogenous (ie: Scandinavian countries) and are xenophobic as a result – or countries which have a multi-party and more complex than first past the post systems of government and with a diverse population where, the majority of groups within the culture are deemed to be equally valuable both as group and individuals in relationship to one another.

Part of being a reformer, is to not be content with the social framework until all groups within the society achieve that equilibrium balance – which is why here is a sequence to the establishment of rights.

So, in the USA, Ethnic minorities had to be equal to the mainstream ethnicity in law before gender rights with respect to women being able to vote could occur. When gender rights become enshrined in law, the social convention of sexuality necessarily becomes a public discussion – as each of us in turn, compares and contrasts our sameness and differences – and, as each of us individually determine value, we align in shared value groups, who then align in interest with other groups and eventually social change becomes a juggernaught.

Society, becomes a perpetually sustained cycle of  change, as the unconventional becomes the convention.

Thus, the cliché of conventionality resonates with truth and is tiresome; both at the same time. And ain’t that beautiful?

Competing Afterlifes

 

The dual purpose of the afterlife

The afterlife is either a place where you are rewarded or punished according to how you lived on earth or it is a place of rest and contemplation before returning to life to continue learning until you’ve learned enough to reach oblivion aka nirvana.

Either way, it makes life a dress rehearsal or endless summer classes until you achieve eternal bliss or oblivion.

So, why can’t death just be the start of oblivion and avoid the messy inconsistency of an afterlife at all?

Partly, because without making death seem scary in some way – the authority structures have not way to ensure that you are compliant with the behaviours said authority wants you and us as a group to behave in – largely, they want us to ensure that the authority structure is maintained.

Because people will generally not behave in specific manners unless they are tricked, forced or bribed when the behaviours are clearly outside of their self interest.

Now, it is in my interest to obey the civil laws to maintain the degree of freedom that my society wants, to avoid pain and punishment – however, this is not why I obey the civil laws.

I obey the civil laws largely because they are in line with my values – partly because the values of the society I was raised in form my beliefs – which is why there’s a diversity of societies and belief systems – they are after all geographically dependant – and my values are also based on my experiences, education and my individual nature.

So, if the law against murder was removed from the criminal code, it does not mean that I would run out and being to murder people willy nilly. The idea is actually revolting – which is why it takes a lot of training in military and police settings to break the social norm in people against murder and say that murder of complete strangers when you are both in uniforms is okay, but not when you’re in a public or private setting in street clothes.

The purpose of claims for an afterlife is the only leverage that religions have in cultures that are not governed by said religion. Fear of punishment is the tool of religion and political beliefs.

You would have no need to fear punishment in a secular society with clearly articulated civil laws – however, there has yet to be such a society so far in human history – if you did not break the rules of said society. Democratic countries are made up of people with religious and political agendas, and the civil laws are influenced by these beliefs and as such, areas of law while appearing secular are too often driven by religious or political ideologies and worse, are enforced by people who are driven by said ideologies.

This is why the demographics of prison systems do not reflect the demographics of the general non-imprisoned population. Prison is a mixture of people with criminal anti-social behaviour and people with behaviours that have been criminalized by ideology. Worse, often people who are in prison are members of stigmatized groups, usually ethnic or economic minorities, who are unable to access equal legal representation to majority groups and these minority individuals are generally sentenced with longer punishments for the same offence as a majority individual. They tend to be punished fro both the crime and their group affiliations.

The reason that prison relates to the afterlife, especially in the USA, where there is a strong religious sentiment of “kill or punish them all and let god sort them out”. The problem with this is that the person who is asserting god’s supreme justice never seems to understand that they are in fact, sending people to the final reward well ahead of schedule and that they are somehow exempt from that same justice, despite their own actions falling far short and deserving of punishment in kind.

Because of this belief, based on no factual evidence, that true justice occurs after death, there is little incentive to identify and prosecute the correct individual and instead send to prison a look like because the entire group of individuals is guilty of something and they will all be punished again in the afterlife – that it matters little what torments we subject these guilty by association individuals to in the actual life. Since we have the concept of double jeopardy in civil law, if we really accepted that people will be properly punished after death – then prison and the criminal justice system is a complete waste of time and serves only to provide employment to the special few and provide some measure of punishment to the deemed guilty – a kick before they are down for the count. So to speak.

 

Afterlife as reward or punishment.

Given the prison evaluation above, how can the afterlife make sense if this is the purpose?

If I am a good person and am awarded with heaven – and part of that is being reunited with all my lost loved ones – what if one of those loved ones is deemed hell-bound?

How can my heaven be complete without my beloved scoundrel family member if they are in hell? Do I get an ideal copy of this loved one for my heaven while the real loved one is on hell?

Certainly, my heaven would not include eternal torment for anyone I loved.

Even in this life, parents of criminals still love them and want their criminal loved one to live well and happy and not be in jail, despite their crimes. Even full well knowing what the crimes are – many parents are not in denial of their offspring’s criminal activity – especially in mafia or other crime families.

If heave is being reunited with lost love ones – even if they are all good and well meaning people – is heaven really a perpetual holiday gathering of family and friends?

Many of us do not look forward to that happening now on a long weekend, even for part of an evening, just to say hi to everyone, have a drink and then head out to celebrate the holiday with non-family. Can it be heaven if you can’t leave the party?

Or, is the perpetual party where everyone is after death and it’s heaven or hell depending on your personal preference? Because I know people to whom being stuck in the same room with their family for an hour is an eternity of hell. Man, you’d want to die all over again to be stuck in that situation for all actual eternity.

Perpetual Learning afterlife

So, what if the afterlife is perpetual learning with or without a rest recess as most religions posit.

Perpetual learning sounds heavenly to those of us who enjoy learning – but learning to achieve what – eventual nirvana or oblivion?

This would be hell for people who dislike and actively avoid learning – ironically, these are the religious believers. We can tell because religion provides all the answers you know, so why do you need to keep learning when all the lessons are handed to you just because you believed?

For those of us who enjoy learning and want to learn – learning until you can achieve oblivion makes the learning pointless. Learning only has meaning when you can apply and build on lessons. Never ending life means there’s no urgency to learning, no final buzzer to say that the time is up. When time is endless, time looses meaning.

A moment is eternity and eternity lasts a moment. One is as good as the other. It is because there is a time limit that learning and life has meaning.

Imagine a TV channel where an endless number of people were playing a sports game – no uniforms to know who is playing against who, every kind of ball, net and goal indicator on the playing area, which is drawn in several geometric lines and people running, walking, throwing, kicking and carrying the balls everywhere, and the scoreboard flashes random numbers, letters and pictures – and there’s no timer to let you know the units of game time or the end of the game. Watching for a few minutes gives you the same understanding as watching continuously for a year.

 

Life matters

Life matters because it’s what we can know that we have and life has a limit to make what we do in this life matter in this life.

People who posit that there is any all power, all knowing god who gives life meaning not only have to ignore a lot of cognitive dissonance like how can here be free will with an omnipotent god who sees and knows everything, or why a loving god would allow so much suffering – are living life small and in fear of their petty and vindictive god. It is because the idea of a god is so inconsistent with life, that religion must not be questioned, for asking questions is the undoing of religion and of god – if you are intellectually honest and unafraid of the answers.

Our lives have the meaning that we each give our own life.

It is because life is limited that is it value and things that are valuable have meaning and worth. Having a limited supply of something makes each item in that supply more valuable than a person who has an endless supply of the same items.

It’s diminishing returns – this is why it’s alarming that the majority of the global wealth is controlled by 2% of the global population. That 2% needs religion and politician ideology to keep the wealth to themselves, rather than share it so that everyone has an equitable share of the wealth – especially given that the wealth is created by everyone’s labour. So, the way for the supply of items that you have has value, is if you have very little and so it’s valuable to you; or, if you have the entire available supply, so you have the only stockpile and no one else has any. This way, having 1 billion of a thing regains value if no one else has any.

Life matters because it’s finite and you have a limited amount of actions and acquisition of items and learning – so, what you chose to accumulate – material or intellection or emotional wealth – in relationship with the people you encounter over your life – is up to you.

Life is value all on it’s own

Give your life – and yourself as a consequence – the value you see it as having.

It is a difficult thing to understand that value comes from within and not without.

People who determine their value based on external factors – be it a god, a parent or other people and worse – other people’s values – are doomed to be unhappy and make their own life a living hell. Which nicely explains why religious believers are so keen to recruit – as if having population numbers make those beliefs more valid.

The only difference between a religion and a cult is the duration of time and number of members. The other differences are trivial – but life doesn’t have to be so.

I am told by believers that I encounter on line that hell is the absence of god. I would say that hell is the absence of value and when you determine your value by external criteria, like a god, then you are absent of value and in a funny way, your god.

But determining your own value, you are in effect, being your own god and can then experience heaven. Experience nirvana, a balance of everything, on demand in the here and now.

And, you only have to have an existential existentialist crisis to achieve it – nothing to buy, nothing really to read – heck, with the internet, the reading is pretty much free.

There no cost to you except putting in the work and time. For you, for your own benefit.

Then, life becomes very purposeful and meaningful with clarity. The unexamined life truly is not living, it’s merely marking time and usually unpleasantly.