What is Time? (It’s time for me to post!)

I haven’t posted hardly anything recently. But someone prompted me to write something about Time, and the result was interesting, so here goes:

What is Time?

Time is a word we use to apply to something that is familiar to most people starting at a certain age. A newborn infant, for example, would not have any conception of the idea of time. We must imagine whole worlds. Our current world, the current moment in time, is, despite all its complexity, a single unit. But we know what is meant by the word “Time” because we can recall living in other worlds, moments of the past, which *were* the world. So we live in the moment, and yet we remember and believe in other moments, including their entire worlds. What time means in physics is different from what time means to a person. In physics, time is turned into a mathematical thought, and predictions are made based on what the math indicates. Because the world conforms to those predictions to a large degree, time is thought to be merely a relation of space, by which I mean that we posit notions like a time *line* — a line being a spatial concept — and thus time is turned into a notion of space. Likewise, when an engineer plots the course of a cannonball through time, he points to the position of the ball at each moment.

But there is such a richness to the way we understand Time that one wonders whether it can be entirely reduced to Space. For example, when a fairy tale begins, “Once upon a time,” or likewise Star Wars begins, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away,” our psyches produce a dreamlike condition in which an entirely different world with entirely different physics becomes possible, and is even expected. The state of mind we experience when we are dreaming is hard to categorize in terms of ordinary time. Yet we use the word “time” precisely to invoke such experiences.

A dreamlike state is, in many ways, outside time. It takes place in what we might call Eternity. But our waking minds adapt to the world by imagining a set of physics that operate consistently on the same piece of material, i.e. the created universe. The mind creates Time, and then we apply the rules of Time to the world as we experience it. In many ways this allows us to tame the world. In other words, the fact that we do this must be justified, because it seems wrong to abandon reality as it presents itself in favor of a thought process that places things according to where they *should* be, instead of where they are. The justification is that the world causes too much anxiety in its latent state, and we need structuring ideas like that of Time, to reduce our anxiety. But that points to an important point, that even though our structuring ideas are able to reduce our anxiety to a tolerable level, they still feel like terrible sins — a thought which is reflected in the motif of the Fall of Man from the Garden of Paradise. Life within the Garden of Paradise precedes, among things, the advent of Time as an idea, and as a way of structuring our otherwise too intense experiences.

I would like to ask, besides Time, what other core mental constructs are there that help us prop up the world, and at the same time feel like terrible sins banishing us from Paradise?

Also, I don’t think I’ve talked enough about how the invocation of the idea of Time sets up the child’s mind to enter into a believable fantasy world. The child must have formed the idea of Time in order for “Once upon a time,” to have any effect. The day-night cycle is probably the most familiar way a child understands time. The light is on sometimes and off other times. And yet the world does not disintegrate merely because the light changes. Time is the concept that allows the world to continue to exist even though the light level changes. If you say to me, Once Upon a Time, I almost feel as if my rationality is being stolen from me, because I think I know what is meant by Time, and yet the magic of the phrase steals me from myself. I am anxious, therefore, that I don’t quite understand what Time really is.

Moreover, I feel like I *should* know. I’m forty years old, four times two times five. I feel like someone who is older than forty should have some idea what Time is. At any rate, my current working hypothesis is that Time is superordinate to the Paradisal mind. Contrary to the myth of the Garden of Eden, Paradise is not completely gone from human experience. It always exists, and under certain conditions, even the adult human mind will regress to expressing that state. The consciousness that creates Time is, according to my theory, layered *over* the Paradisal state. Paradise hasn’t gone away, it’s just been covered up.

See what I’ve done? I’ve turned Time into Space, like the physicists do. The myth of the Fall from Paradise suggests that Eden has been left in the *past*. But in order for there to *be* a past, the concept of Time must already exist. But how could the concept of Time be created as an event *in Time*, when according to me Time is a mental construct, more so than a physical reality? Reality is always experienced in the moment. All Time is subsumed within it. Most people can only dream of attaining a zen-like mind all the, ahem, Time. Therefore I resort to the idea of Space instead. Time is a mental construct that occurs in a mental layer *over* (or under) the realms without Time. The Timeless realms — Paradise, Eternity, etc. — can best be understood as coexisting with the Temporal realms, in Space. This is more pleasing to me than the idea of banishment. Remember that the mythos of banishment in Time proposes by its very nature an End of Time — an end of all things, an apocalypse of some sort or another.

But what if the apocalypse is simply the moment when Time is understood as existing in Space, when Time is no longer allowed to tyrannize over other aspects of consciousness? No doubt prioritizing Time has given Western civilization much of its distinctive character, and will continue to do so so long as it feeds people at a sufficiently deep spiritual level. But there are many hints of our reaching the end of that fuel supply. I’m no literary expert, but I have read James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, in which I remember the third chapter consists mostly of a sermon given by a Catholic priest, who describes the ultimate consequences of allowing the concept of Time to tyrannize the psyche. The essence of the novel, and of James Joyce’s subsequent works, was a move towards Space, rather than Time. This is just one author and one book, but the scene stands out in my mind for its depiction of the consequences of the notion of Eternal Hellfire on Catholic consciousness — and how could the living psyche be more imprisoned by the idea of Time than that?

The Jews await the messiah. They never forget what happens to them. Their concept of history depends on the idea of a God who prioritizes events in Time above almost everything else. The Christians borrowed this idea for their religion. The Muslims — not so much. Islam seems to prioritize Space, rather than Time, although the Koran does acknowledge a Day of Doom. These are my thoughts. I’m not trying to pretend to be a religious expert. The early thinkers of the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution turned both Time and Space into geometry, which itself is primarily spatial rather than temporal.

But I think we’re headed to a point where we have fully mapped out, so to speak, the utility of the idea of Time. Currently we project our idea of Time onto the created universe, such that we can’t imagine the universe existing without Time. But this gives too much credit to the idea of Time. Time is a psychic construct, and the universe does not need it. No doubt *we* do. But it has a negative effect on our mental health to continue to believe that the universe needs Time the way we do. So we’ll slowly start to make that distinction.

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Watch This Helpful Video to Learn About Me

You can learn a lot about me by watching this video:

https://youtu.be/CFtsHf1lVI4

(Watch it! The following commentary assumes you already have…) I was lucky enough when I was 19 to have discovered Joseph Campbell, who served as a quasi-mentor to my “shamanic” experiences – I say quasi because he died ten years before I discovered him. Thus, unlike the modern man featured in this video, I have had a kind of guiding “rock” upon which I have invested my entire self-identity. But *like* him, I have been unable to reconcile my mystical experiences with having a job. But again *unlike* him, I have successfully used the only good part of the mental health system – social security disability – to obtain a safety net for the time being.

A Comment about Depression and Doctors

I’m repeating a comment I made on one of my own videos, as it seems quite accurate:

If we consider illnesses to span the range from being causes to being symptoms, depression is squarely in the latter category. But it is treated as if it’s a cause, because it relieves the “it’s your fault” burden off of people, and because there is a social taboo on being different. If we assume that half the time the cause of the depression (the mere symptom) is in the environment, we have to start accusing people other than the patient, up to and including society itself.

But even if the cause does reside in the individual, in their inability to integrate their personality into their greater life, modern materialist medicine is no help. Like the story of the man who dropped his keys somewhere else and was asked why he was looking under a distant streetlamp for them, and whose answer was “This is where the light is!”, doctors pass out medications because they have no skill in helping people integrate their personalities. (Well, certainly not in my case, anyway.)

The real difficulty of helping people integrate their personalities is that it’s very difficult to distinguish where mental health symptoms originate – from within or outside of the patient. Moreover, if a symptom does come from outside the patient, doctors are loath to accuse the families and other social institutions of being in the wrong, as those are very often the source of their livelihood. And sometimes the symptoms originate within the doctor himself(!), via the projection of the doctor’s own unconscious complexes.

Ecce Zacho: My New Video Blog

I’ve been making more videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMHAFupDnJaKbsslJlCt0zQ

I’m calling the new series Ecce Zacho, after the book Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche. I think I’ve finally acquired the self-confidence required to become my own advocate. This is a long time coming. I’m charismatic and interesting, which means video, via YouTube, is a natural medium. Given this, I ought to have started a regular video blog much earlier. But I suppose I just didn’t recognize the value and urgency of advocating for myself. The podcast with Ethan will continue, but it will clearly have to evolve to accommodate my solo venture:

http://ethanzachtrio.com/

Anyway, I hope to do at least one video everyday. It’s time for me to become a player on the world stage, which YouTube couldn’t possibly make any easier than it already has! YouTube is just ridiculous, and perfect for the likes of me. I’ll see you there.

I Saved Life!

Squirrel Trap

On my daily walk, I found a squirrel with its head stuck in this empty yogurt container. It couldn’t get its head out. I was stunned that I actually had the chance to do something. I step on the bottom of the yogurt, anchoring it. The squirrel’s head pulls out just a little. We try again, and it pops out. It then panic-jumps three feet in the air and scurries to safety. A life was in my hands… or at least under my shoe, and I did okay. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before in such a straightforward fashion!

Weird New Experience

Can’t believe what just happened to me. Thought I might blog about it. If people ask me who I am, I say I’m a mystic. I’m literally the only person I know who introduces himself as a mystic. Well, I say something like, “I call myself a mystic,” in a kind of friendly way that helps people realize I understand how strange that is.

So when I see this new local meetup.com group called Philadelphia Mystical Awareness Group, linked here: http://www.meetup.com/Philadelphia-Mystical-Awareness-Group/, I  was pleasantly surprised. Hey, a meetup group for mystics like myself, I thought. I’m going to copy the text directly from the website, to convey its tone:

Do you communicate directly with Spirit? Are you looking for a community to support your path and where you can truly be yourself? Look no further, you found your circle!

This is a group for like-minded people to gather and support one another in their spiritual/mystical awakening. We are a group for those who have developed a heightened sense of awareness of what exists beyond the 3D physical reality. This is not a group for those just beginning to develop their sensitive, intuitive abilities. One could call it a urban retreat for mystics. We will share our experiences in a safe, friendly, environment. We can also explore effective tools to enhance awareness such as astrology, dream interpretation, and mindfulness. We will build community and have fun in the process. Future meetups will include group discussions, lectures, social outings, and classes.

 I am creating this group because it is something I wish was available when I first discovered my gifts. There was no structure in place and I just learned on my own until teachers appeared much later on. As more and more people begin waking up, I feel called to give back and share what I have learned with others. Together we will create an oasis that is warm and inviting and inspirational.

So I happily sign up, thinking I’ll get to share my experiences in a “safe, friendly environment”… until I get to the sign-up questions.

On a lot of meetups, they want you to fill out a little questionnaire they have for you. I guess it’s a vetting process. It certainly was in this case.

The first question was: Say a little bit about yourself. I said: “I’m a hard-core mystic: http://www.streetshavenoname.wordpress.com

Second question: When did you first start communicating with Spirit? My answer: “I don’t call it Spirit, but I had my white light, rebirth experience in 1997 at the age of 20.”

Third question: Are you currently diagnosed with a mental illness, such as Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, etc.? My answer: “Yeah, why?”

Fourth question: If your answer to the 3rd question was Yes, are you currently being treated? My answer: “No. Why?”

I was pretty surprised at the last two questions. It reminds me that not everybody has such a low opinion of the mental health system as I do. To this day, I am still angry that the mental health system failed me so utterly as it did. In a way, it didn’t fail me, though, because it allowed me to get on Social Security for mental illness, which I now use to keep myself off the streets. But they did in fact fail me in that I never experienced any genuine ability on the part of the people who were supposed to know what to do with me. No ability to treat mental health problems at all. To this day I bear that cross, because I have to dig myself out of that hole alone.

I suppose that explains my disappointment when my membership to the meetup group was denied. Just like that, I know this group is not for me. It’s obviously only for mystics who don’t have mental health problems. But I’m wondering to myself, how many mystics don’t have mental health problems? Like, negative 2? I mean, why would you self-proclaim being a mystic if you didn’t ever have mental health problems?

I’m a mystic because I was cured by my mystical experience. I’m just shocked that this possibility never crossed the group leader’s mind, that a person stops needing treatment precisely when they see the mystical light. I might be reading too much into why my membership was rejected, of course, but I guess I’m just shocked by the shallowness of the criteria for a group which would seem to be so far beyond what I think the mental health system is designed for.

My current conclusions about the mental health system are that mystical experiences just aren’t on their radar. My original mistake with them, if you can call it a mistake at all, was that I was too innocent to realize that they were completely incompetent to deal with people like me. Unfortunately, I clearly just made the same mistake with the “Philadelphia Mystical Awareness Group”.

Just goes to show you, appearances mean nothing… literally, they mean nothing!

Alright, I admit it, I’m a little traumatized by this experience. Not like I really need more meetup groups to go to. Just didn’t realize the stigma of mental illness would be so strong in a “mystical awareness group.”

Original Transcript on Self-Love

I am going to post the email transcript of what I wrote on Self Love, the Edited for Blogging version of which appeared here just two posts ago. Besides being interesting, it’s a demonstration for comparison on how things appear when I edit my own material. This is a huge issue for my book, since editing tends to stifle the original flow, and yet often my reason insists on pedantically doing just that.

Friend: You’ve been thinking a lot about self-starter and I’ve been thinking a lot about unconditional love and acceptance of self. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Me: Well I guess acceptance of self depends on self-awareness first. You can’t accept what you’re not aware of. Self-awareness is stifled both by a lack of feedback and a lack of introspection. A baby learns what a person is by watching other people. Eventually it realizes that it is one of those things it sees walking around and talking. Therefore people are not as aware of themselves as they are of the people around them. What I always strive for is self-awareness, but that is extremely hard. I’ve invested years of my life just trying to gain an adequate amount of self-awareness.

Another thing to think about is the protective barriers the psyche creates in order to promote its own well-being. All beliefs in (a loving) God are such a protection. So it’s important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t live in reality, but must erect defenses which allow them to love themselves. Obviously these barriers can be damaging, because they blind the person from reality, allowing them to hurt other people in the process. But from this point of view, very few people can actually love themselves – most have to lie to themselves instead. So is it ethical to lie to oneself and thereby gain the self-confidence which comes from believing false things? Or is it better to have the life force sucked out of you by confronting the truth? It’s a choice each individual has to make (I basically chose the latter).

Acceptance of self is most required when no one else accepts you. The more you’re accepted by others, the less self-accepting you have to do. But how to do it without holding any delusions? Well, one of the best techniques is to acquire some secret knowledge. Some secret knowledge is fake, but the person ignores that fact because having a secret is far more important to them than whether their secrets are true or not. Hence all the talk about the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories. But these are delusions. Other secret knowledge is actually true, and this kind can give you a legitimate boost to your self esteem. If you gain secret knowledge, it can help a lot. That’s how I get a lot of my self-esteem.

Beyond secret knowledge, what can you do? Well, it’s easy to say “Find where you belong!”, but anyone’s who’s done that probably doesn’t need self-love. For a lot of people, maybe they don’t belong anywhere. And then what? Well, we could take the opposite approach and make a list of all the things which prevent you from killing your own body. In other words, stare death straight in the face. People don’t want to do this because maybe their reasons for living will turn out to be delusions. But if you’re really committed to self love, you could make a commitment to kill yourself if you can’t find things which really and truly keep you from doing so. In other words, forget everything anyone says about why you should live, and confront the matter on your own. You will find self-love or you will die trying! Honestly, that’s probably the best way to approach the topic, because now it’s just between you and you. You want self-love? That’s how you find it.

Let’s say you’ve chosen to live. Okay, now you have your baseline. Now we want more things. Maybe we can’t get them, but we’re alive, so we might as well try. Where does love come in here? I guess more love equals more confidence, hence greater risk-taking and better chances of reward. But there is so much competition for the rewards of life. Why would anyone love you who was competing with you? Can we expect people to love us when we are competing with them? No. Therefore you can only expect love from people who are not competing with you. Maybe you can get love from people who are striving for other things, but maybe not. Obviously self-love is good when you can’t get it anywhere else. But when you are competing, people will have less compassion for you, because they will not see you as needy or desperate, so why should they love you? Only unusually strong people will be able to love someone who doesn’t help them directly.

Most of life is unfortunately a barter system, where people use each other to meet their own needs. Unconditional love is very rare indeed. Usually only babies receive unconditional love. And that’s an enormous amount of hard work! That’s a good example of how hard it is to unconditionally love someone. It’s not easy, and that’s why it’s rare.

Okay, just some thoughts off the top o’ me head there.

Friend: Wow! I just read your email like it was some kind of movie thriller!! Hanging on the edge of my seat and waiting (not so patiently) for what comes next!! I will turn this around soonest but I did want to thank you in advance for your thoughtful and really insightful response. My Goodness – WOW. I’m looking forward to responding!

Hope you’re doing really well, Zack. 🙂

Friend, a week later: Hi there! How are you doing?? […] I’m headed back to Esalen this Saturday […]. I’m nervous! In the singing one, you have to get up in front of the group and sing a capella with no music. In the dancing ones, I want to try to express myself – not chicken out. These things get me antsy! Does that ever happen to you? Any suggestions??

Me: Well, I hear alcohol removes both your inhibitions & your skill. If only it would remove just your inhibitions! I guess you could meditate upon the cosmic irrelevance of everything. That’s it, just ponder the cosmic irrelevance of everything. That oughta do it…

Friend, two weeks later: Hi there! Hope you’re doing well! I owe you an email and I will get that to you soon. I just wanted to quickly mention something from my trip. (I got home last night.) I was talking to two people about your email. Separately. (And, btw, I don’t go around sharing what you write to me with the whole world but I was really FLOORED by what you said – in a GOOD way – and I really wanted to bring it into the light.) When I told the first guy about your “cosmic irrelevance” comment, he said, “Wow. Only someone REALLY SMART can write something like that.” I said – I know!! The second (a retired psychotherapist) said – Oh my God. What insight. I said – I know!!

Wanted you to know!

Me: Thanks! Just rereading my long email made me wonder why I wanted to edit it when I put it on my blog, because it flowed really well just as is. I think I’ll repost it! Thanks so much for this feedback. It’s just like I said above – I couldn’t even see myself when writing that and needed an outsider. Fascinating!

A Little Passage on the Nature of the Mother

The mother forgives a person his trespasses, that is, it allows him to ignore his natural weaknesses so that he can promote his strengths. This can be a problem if the person abuses this opportunity and allows others to take up the slack of what are properly his own weaknesses. But sometimes it is the best thing that can happen, since the development of a person’s strength may break new ground and on this new ground afford him new opportunities not available on the original ground. For example, if a person is able to escape his home situation and go to a college (alma mater, “nourishing mother”) which grants him tools for social and financial independence, he may later revisit more effectively unhealed wounds deriving from his weaknesses. That did not happen with me. I have ever been forced to solve the problems issuing from my weaknesses right at the place they issued, because I had no mother who could play the forgiving role which would allow me to escape them until I was strong enough to deal with them in a not-all-consuming and/or non-self-destructive way.

Some solace can be found in works like the biblical Book of Job and the great Carl Jung’s Answer to Job, which go to great lengths to rationalize the meaning of human suffering. When God admits in chapter 2 that Satan persuaded him to let him attack Job “for no reason at all”, it gets to the core of what it’s like to have either no mother, or a horrible one.

Question About Unconditional Love and Self-Acceptance

My friend was wondering about the following question in an email, and she liked my answer so much that I decided to post it here too:

Q: I’ve been thinking a lot about unconditional love and acceptance of self. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Well I guess acceptance of self depends on self-awareness first. You can’t accept what you’re not aware of. Self-awareness is stifled both by a lack of feedback and a lack of introspection. A baby learns what a person is by watching other people. Eventually it realizes that it is one of those things it sees walking around and talking. Therefore people are not as aware of themselves as they are of the people around them. What I always strive for is self-awareness, but that is extremely hard. I’ve invested years of my life just trying to gain an adequate amount of self-awareness.

Another thing to think about are the psyche’s self-promoting protective barriers. All beliefs in (a loving) God are such protections. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t live in reality, but must erect defenses which allow them to love themselves. Obviously these barriers can be damaging, because they blind the person from reality, allowing them to hurt other people in the process. But from this point of view, very few people can actually love themselves – most have to lie to themselves instead. So is it ethical to lie to oneself and thereby gain the self-confidence which comes from believing false things? Or is it better to have the life force sucked out of you by confronting the truth? It’s a choice each individual has to make (I basically chose the latter).

The more others accept you, the less self-accepting you have to do. Therefore self-acceptance is most necessary when no one else accepts you. But how to do it without holding any delusions?

One of the best techniques I’ve found is to acquire some secret knowledge. Secret knowledge is so valuable that most people harbor secrets that aren’t even true. The self-esteem value of having a secret is far more important than whether it is true or not. Hence all the talk about the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories. But these are delusions. Other secret knowledge is actually true, and this kind can give you a legitimate boost to your self esteem. If you gain secret knowledge, it can help a lot. That’s how I get a lot of my self-esteem.

But beyond that, what can you do?

Well, it’s easy to say “Find where you belong!”, but anyone’s who’s done that probably has enough self-love. For a lot of people, they don’t belong anywhere. And then what? We could take the opposite approach and make a list of all the things which prevent you from killing yourself. In other words, stare death straight in the face. People don’t want to do this because maybe their reasons for living will turn out to be delusions. But if you’re really want to find self-love, you could make a commitment to killing yourself if you can’t find things which really and truly keep you from doing so. In other words, forget what anyone else says about why you should live, and confront the matter on your own. You will find self-love or die trying! Honestly, that’s probably the best way to approach the topic, because now it’s just between you and you. You want self-love? That’s how you find it.

Okay, let’s say you’ve chosen to live. Now you have your baseline. Now we want more things. Maybe we can’t get them, but as long as we’re alive, we might as well try. What does love get you here? It seems to me that more love equals more confidence, hence greater risk-taking and better chances of reward. But there is so much competition for the rewards of life. Why would anyone love you who was competing with you? Can we expect people to love us when we are competing with them? No. Therefore you can only expect love from people outside the areas you are competing with them for. Maybe you can get it, but maybe not. Obviously self-love is good when there’s no other source. But when you are competing, people will have less compassion for you, because they will not see you as needy or desperate, so why should they love you? Only unusually strong people will be able to love someone who doesn’t help them directly.

Unconditional love is very rare indeed. Most people need to spend all their time on their own needs. To love something unconditionally means to get outside oneself. It’s impractical. Life is more of a barter system, where people use each other rather than love each other. In the case of genetic kin, there is a kind of genetic love which is sometimes unconditional, but only if it succeeds in pushing the relation’s ego out of the way.

I think the desire for unconditional love is to alleviate guilt. The unloved is wondering what they did or could have done to cause the undesired outcome. How can someone be convinced that there was nothing they could have done? If they’ve received the shadow-projection of a close relation, then that relation received a boost of confidence, at the cost of the target’s being overwhelmed with doubt. Sometimes that’s the most important thing for someone to realize, the key to alleviating unbearable guilt. On the other hand, maybe that someone is guilty. Did their mother love them so much that they expect to be loved even while oppressing their rivals?

Let’s not look for unconditional love. What I seek is unconditional fairness, that I will not be blamed – nor loved – for that which I did not do. And I seek wisdom, so that I can know whether what I do ought to be blamed or loved. And patience, of course, for when what is blamed ought to be loved instead, and vice versa.

Recent Thoughts About the Cross, Powerlessness, and Obscurity

I haven’t put much on my blog recently. The main metaphor for how I feel is “pinned to a cross on a hot day”. One of the main draws of Christianity is the imagination of what it’s like to be pinned to a cross. On the one hand, you’re being made an example of by the ruling power. On the other hand there was so much life left to live, so much potential and possibility for this body, which is cut dramatically short by the public’s need to make examples of people. Part public wrath, part ruling power enforcing domestic order – who knows how much of Jesus’s punishment was due to which… But there is this silencing of any future wisdom which might have come out of the crucified man. Cutting off of life.

But I have my life, so where’s the comparison? My empire is internal. The power which stifles me is my own conscience. I’m supposed to exercise free speech – I have nothing else to exercise. I have no credentials, no family responsibility, no career. I should be making public statements. But I am stuck on a cross. I don’t know how to make public statements. Every once in a while I post to my blog. Even confessing that I’m stuck is a public statement. Yet I struggle even with how to confess. Even making a public statement such as this tears at me. I’m making it, so I convince myself it’s good. I need to say something, because I don’t want all my thoughts and feelings to go to waste in obscurity.

I know that I have a lot of thoughts and feelings which someone would appreciate. I want them to coalesce. There are no rules to life. Maybe I’ll try to write my book again, or another book. All people suggest action. My instincts do not suggest action. I imagine a great crowd of critics, all of whom suggest doing something, instead of nothing. Doing nothing is the sin. Jesus did nothing on his cross. That’s the image, a person who can’t do anything. Jesus did, however, have the advantage of being observed. I am doing nothing in complete obscurity.

Why do I feel like the power of an Empire restricts me from doing things? That, and the disdain of unseen critics. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to do it? The horizontal and the vertical beams. Does anybody want anything? Whatever I want, I am cut off from it by learned helplessness. People tell me to do what I want. I don’t want anything. I want other people to want things. I can get what I want if I can give them what they want. But nobody wants anything.

I do want things. I want to be able to assemble a book, for example. Right now, I’m just crucified, so I post to my blog as if that’s some kind of substitute for accomplishing what I really want. Good enough. I reread what I wrote and feel like I’ve said something. This whole thing came out of a need to say something. To serve the dual function of saying something and of helping myself by confessing my helplessness.

I’m not that helpless. I’m just a young man wondering if by the time I accomplish anything I’ll be too old to reap the rewards for it.

My plan rests on, among other things, overcoming my fear of obscurity. To even admit that I have such a fear indicates a partial overcoming of it. Not being afraid of being obscure means that I can act regardless of whether anyone cares what I do. Sadly, I think this is a needed accomplishment, expressing disdain for anybody who thinks their opinion of me matters to me. Not fearing obscurity means not caring what people think, which may itself lead to obscurity, but it can also lead to admiration, since people admire independence. What’s hard is that the very loving affection one so desperately craves is precisely what one has to stop caring about. And I must understand the degree to which I crave others’ affection before I can let go of it. I can’t proceed silently, as if I am immune to their opinions. But the craving lessens as soon as its full power is recognized. I am finally becoming aware of all the ways flattery and affection can reward a person, which paradoxically allows me to stop caring about them so much.

Video: God: Lazy or OCD???

Here is the link: http://youtu.be/tEMl9jO_CP0

I’m definitely still experimenting with styles. In this case I have decided to post the exact transcript here. It would be nice to find a way to have what’s said on the video and the text on my blog complement each other instead of being the exact same thing, but I’m starting with a verbatim copy.

I wanted to make a video on something I just thought of, which is why God is lazy. Proof of why God is lazy. I guess it’s somewhat controversial to say that, but here’s the thing. If God did exist and he had the power to create the universe, and he had a great conscience, a very good Will, and the power to apply that Will, why would he make a bunch of rules which were always obeyed in the universe, unless he was too lazy to be bothered with thinking of new rules?

I’m talking about the laws of physics here.

God is lazy because It, or He, uses the same rules all the time for physical reality, and can’t be bothered to use new ones. For example, instead of making something interesting happen to a given asteroid, it is allowed to float for hundreds of millions of years in the same stupid orbit.

But what do I mean when I say ‘lazy’? Is lazy always such a bad thing? How do I distinguish laziness from apathy, in which God just doesn’t care? Maybe laziness is where you don’t work hard even if you do care, whereas apathy is where you don’t work hard, but only on the things that you don’t care about.

In that case, I can’t say that God is completely lazy, because He’s not lazy in all of the areas concerned. After all, when it comes to actually executing the rules, He’s quite the opposite of lazy. Unlike a human being who’s trying to assemble an interesting video, the god who executes the laws of nature never fails to execute them with the utmost perfection. This God does the exact same things to all particles, at all times, so completely thoroughly that He is more the type you would accuse of obsessive compulsive disorder rather than laziness.

And yet he also seems lazy – why put so much effort into obeying such a small set of physical laws instead of coming up with new ones to suit the needs of the situation? It appears that either He doesn’t have the creative capacity to imagine news laws, or that He simply lacks the willpower to do so. Either way, it would appear that God is extremely OCD when applying the laws, and extremely lazy when it comes to creating new ones.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not the kind of person who will sit around and allow God to know the answer while I remain in the dark. When I ask a question, I never end it with, “Well, that’s something that only God can know. Why would I ask it if I was willing to accept that something I can hardly see would know the answer. Anyway, back to the topic.

So why does God seem so unconcerned with the rules themselves, and yet, so obsessive with the application of the rules?

It’s almost seems as if God has enslaved himself to his own rules! It is as if the God who executes the laws of nature committed some mortal sin ealry on in His divine career, and was expelled from the garden of Eden… or whatever the “God” version of the garden of Eden is, and is now forced to apply these rules for all eternity, in exactly the same way. I mean, any human who was forced to obey such a small set of rules over such a long period of time and over such a vast area would certainly feel he had been enslaved by the cruelest of masters.

The sheer amount of disdain exhibited by the creator [the lazy creator] of the rules for whatever God was subsequently forced to enact them [for all eternity], to my mind lends plausibility to someone who is inclined to believe in polytheism. The evident nonchalance with which the rules were created compared to the astounding diligence with which they were subsequently executed suggests two different Gods, the lazy one and the OCD one. The contrast between these two gods is so stark that the only reason I am initially inclined to consider them as one God is because of the history of monotheism and the common cultural background of the modern times. However, if I do choose to consider both of these gods as the same god, and I amalgamate the total laziness compared to the total OCD-ness, then I guess I end up a little bit in the middle. In other words, it would appear God is, in totality, neither completely lazy nor completely OCD.

However, I can’t avoid the feeling that, in merging these two gods, I am simply papering over what is genuinely such a great difference that polytheism – the idea of two Gods – is just as easily plausible as monotheism.

A Passage from Hume’s A Treatise on Human Nature

I haven’t spent a huge amount of time reading the famous Scottish philosopher David Hume, but I might start. I was briefly poring over his A Treatise on Human Nature in the Barnes & Noble in Philadelphia (thank Goodness for the survival of this type of bookstore!) and I found this passage near the end of “Book One”. I find it very moving and can strongly relate. This isn’t mere “philosophy” in the modern academic sense – it’s far too human for that:

But before I launch out into those immense depths of philosophy, which lie before me, I find myself inclined to stop a moment in my present station, and to ponder that voyage, which I have undertaken, and which undoubtedly requires the utmost art and industry to be brought to a happy conclusion. Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escaped shipwreck in passing a small frith, has yet the temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel, and even carries his ambition so far as to think of compassing the globe under these disadvantageous circumstances. My memory of past errors and perplexities, makes me diffident for the future. The wretched condition, weakness, and disorder of the faculties, I must employ in my enquiries, encrease my apprehensions. And the impossibility of amending or correcting these faculties, reduces me almost to despair, and makes me resolve to perish on the barren rock, on which I am at present, rather than venture myself upon that boundless ocean, which runs out into immensity. This sudden view of my danger strikes me with melancholy; and as it is usual for that passion, above all others, to indulge itself; I cannot forbear feeding my despair, with all those desponding reflections, which the present subject furnishes me with in such abundance.

I am first affrighted and confounded with that forelorn solitude, in which I am placed in my philosophy, and fancy myself some strange uncouth monster, who not being able to mingle and unite in society, has been expelled all human commerce, and left utterly abandoned and disconsolate. Fain would I run into the crowd for shelter and warmth; but cannot prevail with myself to mix with such deformity. I call upon others to join me, in order to make a company apart; but no one will hearken to me. Every one keeps at a distance, and dreads that storm, which beats upon me from every side. I have exposed myself to the enmity of all metaphysicians, logicians, mathematicians, and even theologians; and can I wonder at the insults I must suffer? I have declared my disapprobation of their systems; and can I be surprized, if they should express a hatred of mine and of my person? When I look abroad, I foresee on every side, dispute, contradiction, anger, calumny and detraction. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and ignorance. All the world conspires to oppose and contradict me; though such is my weakness, that I feel all my opinions loosen and fall of themselves, when unsupported by the approbation of others. Every step I take is with hesitation, and every new reflection makes me dread an error and absurdity in my reasoning.