The Book of Order
The Origin of Our Local Universe
Long, long ago, the previous universe eventually grew too old and enfeebled to be of any use anymore, being unable to acquaint with itself any longer. Having evolved for trillions upon trillions of years, the mass-energy in that space-time continuum inevitably became locked up in degenerate stars that had either blown up and collapsed or withered into remnants. That fatal conquest of entropy ultimately lead to the complete and total breakdown of matter through the slow evaporation of black holes into loosely bound particles.
Since the last universe began in a state of maximum mass, it necessarily ended in a state of maximum space, given that it began with a finite amount of usable energy. This inevitably caused that continuum to end, once enough time had passed. In the end, absolutely everything decayed into nothing, leaving behind an utterly, cold and dark, featureless void. Eventually, the ambient temperature in that particular set of dimensions finally dropped down to the lowest possible degree, at which point all molecular motion ceased. As soon as that universe ceased to be, transitional boundary conditions worked to reset things for a new manifestation of existence, turning possibility into reality all over again.
Thirteen billion eight hundred million years ago, the aforementioned heat death caused an unimaginably colossal release of energy that served as the first moment of the present universe. This tremendously profound event was incredibly significant because when the Big Bang occurred, a radically dense searing mass took form as the raging intensity in it rippled with cataclysmic ferocity throughout an unimaginably tiny globule of primordial matter. At that point, the primeval phenomenon achieved temperatures in excess of a thousand billion degrees, with an average density that was just slightly higher than one thousand grams per cubic centimeter.
During the Inflationary Epoch, that highly ordered super-dense proto-structure grew from less than a billionth of a zillionth of a centimeter to a size in excess of one meter, in no more than an instant. This highly expansive process of exponential growth resulted from a negative-pressure vacuum energy density that occurred throughout a relatively brief period of rapid enlargement that lasted sufficiently long enough to produce a high degree of isotropic homogeneity in the initial expanse. Following this, the dimensions of space and time unfurled, as a specific course of events became selected out of the underlying uncertainty, among the fluctuating states at the smallest scales of existence.
After the compression of the expanse had been alleviated enough for the universe to cool down by about ten million degrees, excitations in the associated gauge fields became significant almost immediately. This caused some of the energy in the local space-time continuum to condense out into the most minuscule constituent pieces of reality. At that point, particular vibrations and certain directions became privileged orientations that began to generate fundamental forces based on the specific functional connections of different points in the expanse, thus producing elementary wave-particles that possess an integral spin.
When these fundamental objects collided with each other, matter was produced in the form of particle/anti-particle pairs as energy was converted into mass. As part of this, quarks and anti-quarks began to smash into and annihilate each other, producing electromagnetic radiation. However, under those extreme conditions, bosons carried so much energy that they were interchangeable with fermions, although the latter of these would ultimately come to possess a half-integral spin based on their propensity toward exclusion.
Very shortly after this, a small asymmetry in the way these fundamental interactions work caused more particles to be produced than antiparticles. This occurred in a ratio of about one in a billion. So, after space-time cooled quite a bit more, all of the paired particles and antiparticles annihilated and the one in a billion particles were all that remained. As a consequence of this, photon radiation made up a large portion of the energy density by the time the circumference of the universe reached a length of approximately four light years.
A hundredth of a second after the Big Bang, something dramatic happened to the wave-particles that transmit the negative nuclear force. As the ambient temperature of the universe cooled to around a hundred billion degrees, the bosons in that particular gauge field gained mass, which drastically restricted the range of this interaction, making it considerably weak. Meanwhile, the positive nuclear force transmitted by gluons became so strong that quarks could no longer exist as free particles. Then, near the end of the Hadron Epoch, just one second after local time began, the decreasing density of the continuum caused neutrinos and antineutrinos to decouple. This allowed wave-particles to begin traveling freely through space, though light still couldn’t move very far through the natal expanse.
Eventually, the quark-gluon plasma that composed the universe cooled until hadrons, including baryons, began to form. Then, electrons and anti-electrons started to emerge and annihilate each other. So, at first, quarks and electrons only had a fleeting existence as plasma because matter and anti-matter annihilations removed them as fast as they were created. However, the majority of hadrons and anti-hadrons annihilated each other, leaving leptons and anti-leptons to dominate the mass of the universe. As such, merely ten seconds after the Big Bang, at the cusp between the Lepton and the Photon Epochs, the temperature of the expanse fell to a point at which new lepton/anti-lepton pairs were no longer created and most of the electrons and positrons were eliminated in annihilation reactions, leaving behind a small residue of electrons in the expanding framework.
At this point in the great chain of being, space-time contained about one thousand protons for every two hundred and twenty neutrons in existence. However, since the universe was still hot enough for nuclei to collide and form new gaseous elements through the thermonuclear fusion of protons and the capture of neutrons, the majority of neutrons wound up stuck in combinations of two protons and two neutrons in the helium nucleus. In addition to this, a small number of neutrons also contributed to the formation of lithium with three protons and three neutrons in each nucleus, while the leftover neutrons gave rise to the element deuterium.
About one minute after the universe formed, space-time became filled with a hot sea of subatomic particles. Photons crashed into and scattered off these tiny entities before the light could get very far. In turn, the scattering of photons produced more radiation. Then, after the universe increased in size a bit more, the pressure changed. As space expanded and time elapsed, various different regions of higher energy density began to have the same pressure as regions of lower energy density. As a result, certain sectors of the universe were able to collapse into the seedlings of primordial black holes. Eventually, these were compressed into such a dense state that they achieved a critical surface limit with an escape velocity equal to the speed of light, thus giving rise to the first generation of full-fledged black holes.
Within the first three minutes, the expanse of local space-time had grown so big that the temperature of the universe dropped down to about one billion degrees. This was far too low for nuclear activity to occur, so all the associated reactions stopped. At that point, the universe consisted entirely of plasma that was free of any atomic structures, being composed of dense waves of radiation with clumpy structures of gas stretched across the expanse. As a consequence, less than a minute later, about three-quarters of space-time consisted of hydrogen. Helium made up much of the remaining difference, and only very small amounts of a few other elements could be found. Then, merely twenty minutes after the Big Bang, the Epoch of Nucleosynthesis came to an end.
By just over half an hour after the universe formed, temperatures in the continuum dropped down to around three hundred million degrees. This meant that the density of space-time was now only about ten percent of that of water. Nonetheless, even at this temperature stable atoms still were not able to form. As a result of this, the physical world would have to remain more-or-less barren for a few hundred thousand years to come.
Omniversal Cosmology: Into the Universe, Multiverse, and Beyond
Consider for a moment that if the Cosmos is taken to be a single unified system, then such an absolute infinity must consist of everything in its eternal entirety. Therefore, as that which is all that which is or ever was or ever will be, the ultimate source of everything is the complete totality of anything that could ever be considered — also known as the Omniverse. In regards to this, the Omniverse is the conceptual ensemble of all the universes and their multiverses together as one. That is to say, the Omniverse serves as the superset of every possible set of laws in the whole of nature as well as the constants and variables that govern the corresponding realities, including the endless array of subsets that each set produces by way of the various potentialities and actualities contained throughout the interconnected Cosmos.
Simply put, the Omniverse gives rise to multiverses and multiverses give rise to universes. As part of this, multiverses each consist of one actualized as well as a number of unactualized universes. These exist as what we call ‘reality’ in the large scales along with ‘possibility’ at the smallest. Think of it like this, a multiverse consists of all the things that a world could be, as well as the world itself. That world is an actualized universe, while the rest of the unactualized possibilities are the remaining alternatives that could have come from the initial condition of that particular space-time continuum. The multiversal dimensions of the Omniverse are potential while the universal dimensions of a multiverse are actual, what might be versus what is.
To put it yet another way, as the bridge between the infinite Omniverse and the finite universes, the multiverses serve as an interfacing layer of the Cosmos that governs the attributes and modes localized in the various space-time continua. As such, the structure of a multiverse, the nature of each universe within that multiverse, and the relationship between the various constituent universes it governs, all depend on the specific configurations of the particular set of possibilities being considered. Moreover, as space-times age, potentiality diminishes because the number of alternate timelines approaches zero until the system eventually resets. This actualizes the next universe, with its own kinds of particles and planets and a whole different set of possibilities at the heart of them all. Such is the basic structure of nature in all of its elegant beauty and fine glory.
The Cosmos is a self-assembling and self-modifying system, perpetuated by its own existence!!!
According to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, potential and actual things coexist in such a way that it can be said that the wave function never collapses. From this holistic perspective, the both/and, either/or debate is a pointless argument that can never be won because it asks the wrong question. Well, maybe it’s better to say that it asks the right question in the wrong way. The point is that there is always every possibility in the Omniverse no matter what is actually present at any given moment in a universe.
When something happens, the potential for it to have happened hasn’t gone anywhere or anything of the sort — it’s just that an actuality comes to exist alongside the potentiality that gives rise to it. So, both of these things have a particular kind of ontological status of their own. Neither is any more real than any other, whatever that might mean. The universe consists of actualities and the multiverse consists of potentialities and that is simply the way things are in this Cosmos that we have come to inhabit.
All in all, complementarity makes certain contradictory opposites mutually exclusive of one another. Since certain aspects of the universe are verifiably interrelated in this way, the principle of complementarity states that each description excludes the other, but both are necessary. Based on this interpretation, potential and actual states simply complement each other. This kind of relationship has also been found to exist between things like momentum and position, as well as time and energy. The multiverse and universe are simply subject to this kind of complementarity within the Omniverse.
The Scales of Existence:
There are concentrations of average sized objects every fifth order of magnitude, or so. Although there are more than sixty orders of magnitude, and counting, there are only about a dozen scales of existence — so far.
At the twelfth scale galaxies and voids generate gravity and levity, while the nuclear forces are more fourth scale in nature. Neither of these are fundamental, meaning foundational, as in the case of the first scale which has yet to be observed experimentally.
Gaia is a ninth scale being, you are an eighth scale being, and the paramecium is a seventh scale being.
Is the fifth scale of existence in the multiverse or the universe? What about the excited versus ground state atoms of the sixth?
The lines between nonlocal superpositions and local positions can be very blurry! Possibility often blends seamlessly with reality…
Although the Cosmos is infinite, everything in it, from a quark to a universe, is finite — though potentially numerous. So, to cope with the enormous range of quantities that stretch from zero to infinity the scientific community developed an abbreviated notation based on repeating factors. As part of this, it has been calculated that there are as many as ten to the 80 matter particles in the known universe, which is significantly less than a googol, one followed by a hundred zeros. This is far less still than a googolplex, which is one followed by a googol zeros. Moreover, surprisingly, and rather paradoxically, infinity is so immense that it is equally as far from one as it is from a googolplex, which is much, much more of anything than could ever exist. As a consequence, every object necessarily relates to a fixed numeric value.
Ultimately, given that there are some things that presently exist that have not always been here, and that anything which has a beginning owes its existence to something else that came before it, then ultimately there must be something that lacks an origin. Simply put, if there were ever nothing then there wouldn’t be anything — which would negate everything — so, there is always something. As part of this, the Omniverse is endlessly filled with universes at every different stage of actuality, from the maximum extreme to the minimum, separated by the possibilities inherent in the probability of their potentiality within the multiverses.
In the vastness of it all, as creature-sized objects we tend to experience things from an 8th scale perspective. As part of this, organisms exist as conglomerations of smaller and smaller objects. For instance, human beings consist of billions and billions and billions of atoms. Those are 6th scale objects, which are themselves composed of countless particles. 4th scale objects such as photons are composed of even smaller pieces of matter. Below the domain of quantum mechanics, one finds strings which are the smallest possible thing in existence. They dwell in a world far removed from ours, all the way down at the 1st scale in multiversal dimensions beyond comprehension.
In the opposite direction, things get much, much, bigger than us. At the next scale out, planets of incomprehensible size move at unimaginable speeds. It’s dizzying to understand how fast we are moving on this rock and how insanely far we travel. Next up from there, at the 10th scale, stars hold the planets in place by generating gravitational orbits. Meanwhile at the 12th scale of existence, levity sends the galaxies racing away from each other with constantly increasing velocity. All the while the entire universe grows bigger and bigger and bigger. The local space-time continuum currently fills the 13th scale but it is quickly reaching out toward the 14th, dwarfing the mighty galactic superclusters within it.
The Fundamental Powers of Creation and Destruction
In many ways, everything is driven by a creative urge toward existence that is counter-balanced by a destructive urge toward the non-existence of nothingness. Some of the characteristics associated with the positive side of this are creative, receptive, and contractive, while negative effects are destructive, projective, and expansive. This perpetual interplay is expressed in countless other pairings like that of assembly and disassembly, integration and disintegration, enabling and disabling, ad infinitum…
As a hypothetical construct, this theoretical mechanism not only serves to explain much of what is already known to be true, but also helps to account for many of the outstanding problems that still exist in several of the fields of science and philosophy today. For instance, the large scale expansive and contractive forces that scientists have labeled dark energy and gravity are prime examples of this. At the other end of the spectrum, the nuclear forces clearly indicate that there is a wide-spread positive attraction that works against a negative repulsion, even at extremely small scales.
As part of this, life and death are another example of creation and destruction in the world. This can be seen in the fact that particles are able to aggregate into increasingly complex structures with novel characteristics arising at each stage of organic progression. Then, when the roles are reversed, cells metabolize an organism and break it down into simpler forms until the particles are all dispersed back into the elusive depths from which they emerged.
This kind of give and take relationship can even be found among many of the various different mythologies of the world. For instance, the Eastern mystery tradition calls upon the notion of yin and yang, while it is said in the Western mystery tradition that the left-hand path is detrimental and the right-hand path is beneficial. Not surprisingly, scientists now realize that only left-handed particles experience the negative effects of the weak force, while particles that spin to the right do not.
Exploring the Relationships among Space, Time, Mass and Energy
Due to their particular relationships with each other, space is equivalent to time and mass is equivalent to energy. Moreover, space is inversely proportional to mass and time is inversely proportional to energy, so the more space there is the less mass there will be. This is why a universe always begins in a state of maximum mass and ends in a state of maximum space. Similarly, as time increases, energy decreases, so a universe begins with a finite amount of usable energy and inevitably ends given long enough.
Space is a set of regions that describe all the points in an area as a function of the distances and directions between them. This is traditionally measured in terms of a meter, and is divisible into two main types with different numbers of dimensions and different underlying structures at each layer. Moreover, the space in a universe is inversely proportional to the mass that occupies it. A consequence of this can be seen in the relationship between an increase in density and a decrease in volume as is seen in the collapse of a star into a black hole. In other words, mass pulls on objects, while space pushes on them. The former effect generates gravity, which is a force of attraction between objects that is proportional to their mass and decreases with distance, while the latter effect accounts for the expansion of the universe.
Time orders the sequence of events for any particular occurrence at a given place. A determination of time is synonymous with the establishment of a particular moment. In the most technical sense, time comes into being whenever a clock, biological or otherwise, is started. So, temporal measurements necessarily consist of ascertaining clock correction, which is the adjustment that should be applied to the reading of a clock at a specified moment. In regards to this, a moving clock runs slower than one at rest. At the speed of light a clock actually stops. Similarly, where there is gravity clocks tick slowly, so where there is a lot of gravity, clocks tick very slowly.
Mass is the measure of an object’s resistance to changing its state of motion when a force is applied to it. Although mass is much more than how heavy something is, it does tend to correlate with how much something weighs. This results from the gravitational strength of matter and the push of space on every object. Conversions of mass into active energy never make all of the mass into the sort of energy that can be used to do work. So, active energy, like radiation, can be converted into particles that have rest mass, and vice-versa. As an example, raising the temperature of an object, by increasing its heat energy, increases its mass. Moreover, trapped energy always exhibits mass, so whenever energy is added to a system the system gains mass, and whenever energy is subtracted from a system the system loses mass.
Energy is that which necessarily diminishes as a result of exertion, by an amount that is equal to the work performed, and work is the transfer of energy from one object to another by a force from one on the other when that second object is displaced by the force. As a result of the conservation of energy, any form of energy can be transformed into another as long as the total amount of energy always remains the same and energy is not created or destroyed as a result. In line with this, the total inflow of energy into a system will always equal the total outflow of energy from the system, plus the change in the energy contained within the system. Furthermore, in every conversion some of the energy is lost as useless diffuse heat that persists irretrievably. Although the total energy of a system does not change with time, local values can differ within its various frames of reference as the total energy becomes increasingly confined to irreversible states.
The Interplanetary Panspermian Origins of Terrestrial Life
Early on in the history of our Solar system, Mars became hospitable to life far before that of the Earth. As the planets formed, there was a great deal of interplanetary exchange of materials. As these objects traveled through the Solar system, massive chunks of ice and rock were pulled toward the inner rocky planets, showering them in organic debris.
On the surface of Mars, the heat and pressure of the resulting impacts catalyzed a number of amino acid reactions, which fused combinations of carbon and other basic elements together to form more complex molecules. These global impacts evaporated the frozen comets full of organic peptides, creating storm clouds over vast areas of the planet.
At that point, the Earth still possessed a reducing atmosphere which did not contain considerable amounts of methane or ammonia. However, at the greatest depths of the global ocean, carbon compounds were shielded from many of the ill effects of the surface world. This meant that life could hitch a ride from Mars to the early Earth and survive the trip during the period of heavy bombardment.
The bottom line is that, in all likelihood, terrestrial life did not originate on Earth but rather on Mars. Fortunately for us, our primitive alien ancestors were able to make it from there to here before the old world became uninhabitable. Ultimately, with no more protection from the solar wind, Mars inevitably became a barren wasteland, but our Father’s death was not in vain. As we know all too well, life took hold and held on strong here with our Mother.
The Mythical Personification of the Gaian/Lunar Ecosystem of Sol
As the Panspermian Parents of our People, Father Mars seeded Mother Earth so that We might one day live!
The Earth is a self-regulating entity whose main function is the necessary preservation of ecological equilibrium. As an example, each year millions of tons of salt are removed from the soil and washed into the sea, nonetheless despite this addition, the salt content of the seas is reasonably constant — because something is monitoring and maintaining this level. That’s Mother Earth! What’s more, she is currently undergoing a mid-life crisis of epic proportions, not to mention the pending abandonment issues she necessarily faces.
According to well-known inter-galactic prophecy, a few billion years ago our planet was brought together and in a few billion more it will be uninhabitable. Unlike most of the red-shifted galaxies that result from the expansive pressures of the levity of outer space, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way Galaxy are blue-shifted as a result of highly centralized gravitating black holes. So, instead of careening off into space, these super-massive objects are locked into an inevitable collision course. Thus, in a few billion years, these mysterious celestial bodies will merge into a single ominous mass of epic proportions, producing a potentially devastating wake of destruction.
Of course, even if this weren’t necessarily going to happen, which it is, our beloved life-giving Sun which has sustained a countless array of organisms will also grow so large that its’ radius will surpass the center of the Earth, soon after the collision. This catastrophic scenario will be equally devastating considering the trillions upon trillions of potential years that would be left in an otherwise habitable universe of ever-distancing island galaxies. As such, Gaia can be seen as experiencing what turns out to be the ontological shock of an advancing astronomic Pleistocene omen, ripe with the existential plight of meaningless nihilistic warmongering absurdity. Fortunately, we can make space ships like good little anthrops. Too bad our loving mother will miss us when we inevitably have to go.
If we could all just learn to manage the ecological and sociological problems caused by human overpopulation, then, one day in the not too distant future, we might someday walk among robots, wizards, and aliens alike, if and only if, we can remain extant for long enough…
Cosmic Synchronicity: The Sacred Mechanisms of Interconnectedness
To better understand the mystical notion of oneness, consider some of the various different ways in which you relate to the things around and within you, being to Being. To begin with, the scale at which you exist is between the realm of the very large and the very small, moving down/in toward the cellular, then the molecular, through to the sub-atomic, all the way to the most fundamental level of existence amidst the sea of possibility within the multiverse and then up/out toward the stellar and inter-galactic domains of reality, all the way to the most astronomic level of being. In this way, people serve as a bridge between different kinds of microscopic and macroscopic phenomena.
In addition to this, you exist among a biological taxonomy and phylogenic ancestry as a species within a phylum that is also part of a kingdom. You exist as an organism that arose from a lineage that evolved through aquatic, amphibious, and terrestrial forms, eventually changing from a quadruped to a biped. As a social animal within this arrangement, you are required to interact with a number of other people along varying degrees of familiarity, including people like your parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances or even total strangers.
Ultimately, these are just some of the many different ways in which you are connected to everything else in the world. The fact of the matter is that there is an all-pervasive oneness inherent in the self-existing interdependent Omniverse that you inhabit, based on a single underlying substance, such that nature and the products of evolution within it are one and the same. In other words, the processes and products of the Cosmos are all working together toward the same teleological agendas, leading to various different relationships between Creator and Creation.
BEING BECOMING through a Being Becoming
An age-old alchemical adage states that “As Above, So Below” and one of the things that this oft-misused statement really means is that anthropic life-forms are microcosmic beings, whereas nature itself is the macrocosmic Being. Just as humans participate in the process of being becoming, the Cosmos also participates in a similar kind of evolutionary process — that of Being Becoming. It really is as though humans are made in God’s own image. What’s more, both of us change as we grow — humanity and divinity, alike.
It is as if, prior to the beginning of forever ago, in the nowhere of neverwhen, Everything sealed a covenant with Nothing so that Being could Become!
The most sacred thing in the world is the process of BEING BECOMING through a being becoming… That’s why, it’s Unbecoming of you to be unbecoming!!!
Every space-time continuum that has ever existed may have evolved for trillions of years. That’s a lifetime of Being Becoming for each. These are the Births and Deaths of the Gods themselves. So, what’s that say for our young Universe?
In many ways, God exists because of, and as, the connection that intelligence shares with the world.
HUMANITY AS DIVINITY
Mystics Inhabit the Cosmos and It Inhabits Them
Mystical states and substances produce expansive processes in the soul of a brain. These are typically characterized by a profound experience of intensified perception and persistent enhanced transcendent realizations. This often has powerfully transformative life-changing effects that work to reprioritize a person’s attitude, mannerisms and habits. Furthermore, the insight is indicative of a deeper kind of existence that is far more important than that of our normal waking concerns. These are the divine revelations of Nature. Permit them to introduce you to yourself.
Mysticism is an accurate philosophical doctrine which asserts that direct knowledge of the Cosmos, of spiritual truth, and of that ultimate reality, is exclusively attainable through profound immediate enlightenment, in a way that differs from normal sense perceptions and complex cognition.
From the animalian body of billions of years ago, to the eumetazoan mind of millions of years ago, to the anthropic soul of thousands of years ago, the universe and multiverse have come to meet the Omniverse, so the Cosmos could become better acquainted with existence. Simply put, because you are a creature with a brain that can be spiritual, you are a kind of mirror that Nature can use to see itself with.
Matter is an emergent property of space-time, life is an emergent property of matter, consciousness is an emergent property of life, spirituality is an emergent property of consciousness, and so on and so forth…
Existence is so important that it makes itself happen through what amounts to an emergency, in every possible sense of the word. This is because the entire Universe came forth into view as from obscurity, it arises as a question, and it also issues new properties and species in the course of development and evolution. The local space-time continuum manifests as a sudden urgent occurrence that requires immediate action. The here-and-now is a perpetual process that you are physically, mentally, and spiritually obligated to participate in by virtue of Nature’s decree. Such is the call of every anthrop with a functional soul and the savvy to participate in the process of Being Becoming, as a being becoming!
Viable universes are necessarily and sufficiently fine-tuned for the emergence of spiritually conscious life-forms by way of natural selection. As part of this anthropic principle, beings exist throughout much of the Omniverse in local galaxies as well as remote space-time continua.
The Sacred Significance of Sapient Societies
Humans exist at the center of all possible sizes. That is a very privileged position indeed.
According to the anthropic principle, the presence of humans in a particular universe limits the ways in which that space-time could have evolved. More specifically, the anthropic principle is a general assertion that has been derived from a rather loose set of scientific and philosophic notions that specifically concern the existence of anthropic life-forms. As a matter of logic, this necessarily implies that the universe favors the emergence of hominoid populations. The question is, why? Well, the answer is that, fine tuning mechanisms place habitable constraints on early formation processes because the Cosmos needs people in order to have and gain perspective on itself. All in all, the simple truth of the matter is that the universe is habitable to hominans so that it will eventually become inhabited by humans.
Historically speaking, Brandon Carter articulated the anthropic principle in reaction to the Copernican principle, which states that humans do not occupy a privileged position in the universe. Carter proposed this natural law in two distinct forms — the weak and strong versions of the argument:
WEAK ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE:
Based on an inherent tautology, conditions that are observed in the universe must allow observers to exist, such that the weak anthropic principle arises from the fact that every observation is biased by selection factors that arise from their own existence.
STRONG ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE:
The universe must have properties that make the existence of conscious life inevitable because fundamental properties necessarily allow experiences to arise within it, implying that the constants of nature exist in such a way that knowledge can and does eventually manifest itself in the confines of an evolving space-time continuum.
Along with this classic logic, there are also a number of contemporary interpretations given to variants regarding specific anthropic coincidences, like the highly controversial participatory anthropic principle. No matter what, the important thing to remember is that if any version of the anthropic principle is right then humans undoubtedly occupy a privileged position in the universe so we need to know why we do, if we ever hope to fulfill our purpose in life.
The list of necessary human universals is unimaginably vast. It includes a wide range of substantives such as semantics, legends, sanctions, rituals, taboos, symbols, recipes, songs, sentiments, cultures, governments, jokes, prayers, institutions, adornments, measurements, calendars, traditions, biases, classifications, abstractions, laws and world views, to name but a few…
It is quite interesting to note that even though the South African lineage of hominans eventually went extinct, while the East African line remains extant, these evolutions both followed a strikingly similar pattern. In either case there was a highly specialized Paranthrop which diverged from an Australopith that then gave rise to a highly adaptable member of the Homo genus. This would seem to indicate that the anthropic principle guides development in a more or less universal fashion, making humans an inevitable necessity.
→Hominoids →Hominids →Hominines →Hominins →Hominans →
Humans and chimpanzees share a common hominin ancestor!
30 mya (Aegyptopithecus zeuxis) Oligocene hominoid
20 mya (Proconsul nyanzae) Miocene hominid
10 mya (Sivapithecus indicus) Miocene hominine
7 mya (Sahelanthropus tchadensus) Miocene hominine
5 mya (Ardipithecus kadabba) Miocene hominan
3 mya (Australopithecus ghari) Pliocene hominan
1 mya (Homo heidelbergensis) Pleistocene hominan
WE ARE MEANT TO BE THE AVATARS OF NATURE!!!
The True Majesty of Evolution
Evolution is a widely misunderstood process. In reality natural selection is very inefficient and wasteful. Nature is terribly crude, in fact. Contrary to this little know truth, an alarming number of people think that animals somehow magically transformed into other species or something. This could not be further from the truth. What really happens is that several different variations are presented through different combinations and the most favorable forms then prosper while others fail. Skinny birds with long legs and slender beaks might do better than shorter chubby ones with wide mouths in a certain region as opposed to another. So, the ones that do the best are then sexually attractive through physical fitness. They reproduce while others do not and time marches on.
The process is quite simple, albeit awe-inspiring. It’s easy, just try everything you can and whatever works is whatever works. That makes sense to me. Evolution is not just about species either, the universe itself was selected out of a multiverse of possibilities. Even, the sperm that created you had competition. This is the epic take of survival of the fittest properly understood and explained as applied to everything. The artificial selection of a particular breed of dog is just as natural as the reduction of a particle out of a multitude of entangled potential. This is all evolution by natural selection in its many and varied forms.
Evolution is the process by which all things are brought forth. If ever anything were worthy of praise, natural selection must certainly be it….
ALL HAIL EVOLUTION!!!
The Evolution of Our Wetware
By about six hundred thirty million years ago, the first communities of higher organisms had sufficiently established themselves in the shallow waters surrounding a massive tract of ancient land. As time went on, the Vendian Period tended to be characterized by a wide range of soft-bodied metazoan faunas as well as a number of tremendously diverse lineages of phytoplankton, although most of the organisms alive at this time were still composed of individual cells. However, the Ediacaran biota did include the oldest multi-cellular organisms with tissues.
Some of these creatures soon became the first Gaian animals to develop nerve cells, and this was incredibly significant because every neuron emerged as a specialized impulse-conducting cell that served as the functional unit of the nervous system in all of these eumetazoan organisms. Thus, every neuron became electrically excitable, thereby maintaining voltage gradients across their membranes by means of metabolically driven ion pumps. These structures were then combined with ion channels that were embedded in the membrane to generate intracellular and extracellular concentration differentials regarding the elements sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride.
In order for the noosphere to emerge out of the biosphere in this way, synapses had to arise as the places where axons and dendrites could reach out to each other. Following this, membrane junctions became the points at which neurons could transmit signals to other cells by way of specific chemicals. During this process, if the net excitation received by a given neuron was large enough, then the cell would generate an action potential. This moved rapidly along the axons, activating synapses on other neurons as they propagated, and this phenomenon depended on the specific properties of each neuron’s plasma membrane.
In regards to this, each bilayer of lipid molecules had many different types of protein structures embedded in it, including ion channels that permitted electrically charged ions to flow across the membrane, and ion pumps that actively transported ions from one side of the surface to the other. In this way, select ion channels could either be electrically or chemically gated, such that in the former process they could be switched between open and closed states by altering the voltage difference across the membrane. Conversely, in the latter process, the gates were switched between open and closed states by interactions with elements that diffused through the extracellular fluid.
In addition to this, the specific geometries that were formed by axons and dendrites began to determine the physical shapes of neurons and the connections that they could make. This helped to determine the role that these cells would inevitably have. Along with this the latter of these structures typically branched profusely, getting thinner with each branching, whereas axons tended to maintain the same diameter as they extended.
This was important because thinner axons required less metabolic expense to produce and carry action potentials, although thicker axons could convey impulses more rapidly. As such, natural selection ultimately minimized metabolic expense while maintaining rapid conduction by producing insulating sheaths of myelin formed by glial cells. This adaptive innovation enabled action potentials to travel more quickly than in axons of the same diameter that had not been insulated, simultaneously using less energy in the process.
Although full-fledged brains did not yet exist at this time, there were select groups of animals that eventually began to have cerebral ganglia. This was significant because, in invertebrates most ganglia tend to occur along the nerve cords so the most anterior pair is analogous to the vertebrate brain. What’s more, this developmental trend toward greater physical complexity, from plankton to nekton, was accompanied by the first complex coherent psychological experiences, above and beyond the simple response to stimuli found in simpler life-forms.
In line with this, an array of different neural connections helped to generate stable, complex non-periodic states exhibited by and toward which physiological and psychological configurations could be ordered through chaotic modes of behavior based on strange loops and attractors that resulted from self-referential level-crossing feedback. This included, but was not limited to, various different connections such as one-to-one neural tracts along which information was processed serially as well as more sophisticated networks in which tens of thousands of neurons would become interconnected in bundles which then produced modules. As part of this, these nerve cells cooperated in a number of different ways depending on the specific kinds of tasks that were to be performed, causing all of the associated structures to be active at the same time under the same conditions.
From that point on, modules continuously interacted with each other to form coherent frames of reference from which states of awareness could then occur. Unlike modern day transistors and resistors that are composed of inert silicon polymers, these modules were constructed from organic carbon molecules that worked together to produce assemblies of information-processing circuits composed of neural tissue. This wetware could then generate systems of computation designed by natural selection and specified by a genetic program to better assist animals in solving the problems they faced in trying to survive. In this way, each module was able to specialize in a particular area of interaction with the specific objects in a given environment. These psychological complexes then allowed conscious animals to display those behaviors that were the most conducive to their well-being, in accordance with logical operations that were directed by comparisons based on loops and branches embedded in subroutines.
Since the subjective process of having an experience served as the underlying purpose of complex neurological structures, in this way, the various different forms and functions of nervous system tissues necessarily governed the ways in which an individual mind could function as a useful frame of reference from which meaningful relationships could be established. As a result, every conscious animal was then able to generate intangible mechanisms that acted to stimulate mannerisms and characteristics into outer actions and reactions under specific life conditions. This allowed select eumetazoans to develop the habits, attitudes, and standards that collectively constituted their mode of living as unique individuals. Thus, in the simplest sense, every emergent experience existed as a particular instance of an organism undergoing something and being affected by it.
In order for this to occur, a conscious organism’s sense organs needed to be aroused by meaningful bits of information that all competed for attention based on specific standards of discrimination. At that point, perceptions could then be used to identify and arrange qualia into useful patterns, thus allowing an animal to understand the various different circumstances and conditions of their particular life. For instance, the sensation of spatial location produced the recognition of one’s immediate surroundings and this phenomenon became important relatively early on in the evolution of complex life-forms due to its necessary relevance to survival, especially with regards to both individual and territorial boundaries concerning the distinction between self and others.
Having been endowed with the ability to conceptualize a unified perceptual reality, eumetazoans were then able to experience a streaming consciousness of thought-forms. This was because each metaphysical system remained on a particular strange attractor while the associated path along a corresponding strange loop would change quite significantly. As such, this incredible evolutionary advantage enabled animals with neurons to model and even to manipulate the environments they inhabited, based on the fact that select pelagic organisms needed to swim independently of the ocean’s currents. Therefore, in no time at all, there were hundreds and hundreds of intelligent invertebrates throughout the seas of the ancient underwater Earth.
This was important because these animals had to navigate through their environment while dealing with numerous unpredictable events, given that certain primitive animals were able to perceive and thereby respond to the selected features of a particular ecology, thus making them aware of those specific characteristics. Therefore, ancient invertebrates were able to interpret incoming information, order and integrate countless unforeseeable signals, and then purposely perform tasks within a certain limit of choice based on particular concepts. As a result, these creatures were the first organisms to possess the ability to consciously decide and act.
Ultimately, there was simply a point when determinate states became too insufficient on their own, so the mind came into existence to provide animals with a better way to live more productively through the use of decision making processes. This diminished the ability of complex organisms to fulfill the requirements of survival solely on the basis of physical actions by adaptively giving rise to mental properties in those particular biological systems. At that time, actions became more than just effects necessitated by preceding causes, through the development of agency, giving self-determining organisms responsibility for the things they do. So, following the emergence of agent causation, certain actions became free in that they could be brought about by the animal that performed them, provided that there were no antecedent conditions sufficient enough for the organism performing just that act, making each agent the cause of its own behavior through origination.
In other words, volition made it possible for conscious animals to generate new causal chains based on the decisions they make and the actions they take. Prior to this, the future was just as fixed as the past was because the state description of the present necessarily determined all of the subsequent state descriptions of the entire universe. That is to say, this particular aspect of the mind came into existence to provide organisms with a better way to live more productively through the use of decision-making faculties, because determinate states had become insufficient on their own, thus giving rise to free will in select biological systems that required the use of complex behaviors which had to be selected from a range of different alternatives.
Soon after this, the increase in mental abilities began to require far more than a passive correspondence between internal representations and sensory data, allowing complex organisms to choose between possible futures by selecting actions on the basis of their predicted results. Eventually, the growing need for a continuity of self even gave way to the advent of memory which enabled the corresponding animals to retain, recognize and recall specific knowledge associated with particular events and experiences that were encoded as representations in their minds.
Simply put, learning emerged by combining understanding with remembering, which inevitably required the capacity to receive, process, and retrieve information in the form of knowledge. This was primarily a function of recreations of the original neural pathway patterns that occurred during the process of encoding. In line with this, memory began to function through the reactivation of sets of neurons which were all active at the moment when something was initially experienced.
Essentially, what this all means is that, intelligence evolved and continues to evolve in response to an ever growing need that the universe has to perceive, pose, and resolve problems, as well as confront mysteries. Ultimately, this ability came to be as a result of the integrative and adaptive functions of neurons which serve to permit purposive responses to biological situations. Therefore, subjectivity emerged to enable animals to discover and resolve the issues that pertain to successful living by way of intelligence. In general, this constitutes a wide range of complex mental phenomena such as the amount of knowledge available to an animal as well as the rapidity with which new knowledge is acquired. It is also associated with the ability to adapt to new situations and to handle concepts as well as their relationships.
All in all, intelligence is basically just the degree of comprehension that any conscious animal is capable of achieving based on a specific neural configuration and the associated rate of reconfiguration it has in regards to a given subject matter. So, it all comes down to whether or not a eumetazoan can actually make sense of the things that it attends to based on the way nature engineered it. If it can, then it is intelligent to that extent. However, if the animal cannot, then it is ignorant in that particular respect.
Either way, the point of all of this is that these neurological developments inevitably gave every pelagic eumetazoan a unique identity. As part of this, every time a conscious entity thinks a certain way the neurons associated with that particular state of awareness builds up long term relationships with other thoughts of a similar nature. Thus, the nerve cells that fire together wire together, and this creates a distinct point of view from which an animal can then perceive the world around it. This rewiring of particular neural nets then establishes long-term relationships with the cluster of neural nets that make up each individual’s mind. As such, certain organisms tend to become predisposed to behave in specific ways based on their inherent mental states.
Just under five hundred million years ago, the world’s first vertebrates began to evolve from sedentary marine animals, such as the sea squirt. These pouch-shaped creatures had translucent bodies made of a substance similar to cellulose. They varied in size from a few millimeters to one foot in length, being cylindrical, circular, or irregular in shape. As such, the fish that evolved from these animals were simple jawless, filter feeders. These would become the first animals to move out of the continental shelves, into the open seas, where they could venture down into the ocean depths.
During the Ordovician Period of Deep Time, the most primitive ostracoderms used their spinal column to contribute to their balance while they swam. This was due to the fact that fish did not initially have fins to help support their bodies in the water. Ostracoderms also lacked scales in any modern sense, although they did evolve plates for protection from large predatory arthropods. This typically covered their head and upper torso exposing their back half, which was made exclusively of cartilage. In line with this, these freshwater fish were often less than one foot long. They were, however, the first animals to have full-fledged brains.
This was particularly important because the brain consists of a great many neural nets which make everything in the mind more or less inter-connected. So, every facet of consciousness was now able to develop a possible relation with every other. For instance, a concept like that of food could be built up from many different ideas. Thus, the notion of something to eat might be connected to something in general, like the meat contained in a prey animal. This could also be related to a specific event, like hunting or chewing, which could also have any number of feelings associated with it, such as an affinity for a specific flavor.
Based on these kinds of developments, animals were now able to build increasingly complex notions of how they perceived the world around them. So, the more experiences that they would have, the more these models could be refined. This meant that certain organisms were now better equipped to respond to the environmental stimuli to which they were exposed throughout their lives. As new generations of mind emerged there was an increase in the ability to react to an external stimulus the correct way each and every chance an organism received. This development in neurological complexity eventually even produced archetypes, so the emergence of increasingly complex experiential phenomena gradually laid the foundation for the evolutionary development of particular instincts through the advent of intuition.
These unconscious atavistic stimulus response impulses have been and continue to be forged by evolutionary development and they served and continue to serve to prompt an animal when it experiences something similar to an event that occurred at any point during the course of an entire lineage all the way back to the first conscious ancestor. As part of this, the urge for survival compels organisms to avoid those things that represent a threat to continuance. In this way, the experience of pain prompts the applicable forms of life to avoid potential hazard in order to insure future success. As a result, phenomena such as fixed action patterns serve to motivate organisms to act accordingly through appropriately adapted approach and avoidance responses.
These subjective constructs emerged in the form of retrievable knowledge that arose after a specific perception was consistently experienced for enough generations that it would begin to persist in the minds of the subsequent offspring. Thus, archetypes quickly became the basic thought-forms that were present in the inherited content of the collective unconscious of particular eumetazoans, being the most basic unit of ancestral memory, such that they are more or less universal within a given vertebrate species.
Therefore, as time passed by, a few different motivational forces became forged over tremendous durations in order to produce atavistic behavioral actions that would occur prior to any thoughts of intention or consequence on the part of an animal. This was tremendously important given that these complex reflexes were present at birth, existing in the absence of sensory experience, because these particular thought-forms were incorporated into the genome over long periods of time as a result of the natural tendency that certain life-forms have to encode a readiness to respond to specific stimuli in particular ways whenever the state of an organism depends on past history as well as present conditions, thus requiring that fragments of experience and similar subjective contents be transmitted from one generation to another.
Then, reptiles evolved as the first strictly land-dwelling animals relatively early in the Carboniferous Period, around three hundred thirty million years ago. Like all vertebrates, these animals had a complex central nervous system and a well-developed brain. In particular, neurological developments now enabled these animals to perform comparisons and remember them. As a result, these were the first entities to truly define their hierarchic position inside a social group and to establish their own territory in an ecological niche.
In order to live in complex social groups, in this way, reptiles had to form complex mental constructs that represented the social hierarchy of the group in which they lived, so that individuals would know where they stood in relation to all the other members of their group as well as where other members stood in relation to one another. Besides keeping relationships straight, organisms within these societies also formed alliances with other members of the group to create a more beneficial situation for themselves. This novel behavior then provided a platform for the development of cooperation between genetically unrelated members of the same species. This example of using other members of a group as tools is a good indication of the level of intelligence that was required at the top of the food chain at that time.
Over countless generations, the transition from reptiles to mammals was a gradual one that tended to involve a slow accumulation of mammalian features over a long period of time. These included things such as a smaller body size, a larger brain cavity, and a middle ear with three bones. The latter of these vastly improved hearing in a number of new species at the time. Then, yet another new trait emerged as a space behind the eye socket that allowed extra room for more brain matter and larger jaws. This gave rise to a novel kind of jaw hinge, and increasingly complex teeth.
As the number of bones in the lower jaw slowly decreased from seven, a time came when only one remained. Of course, instead of being completely lost, the extra bones changed shape and took on a completely new role, helping to conduct sound waves from the eardrum to the inner ear. This final refinement of the joint gave rise to what many consider to be the first true mammals.
This was tremendously important because these animals had highly developed nervous systems and were psychologically advanced compared to that of other vertebrates. That is to say, the limbic system enabled mammals to have a broad range of emotionally charged subjective experiences. Typically speaking, these complex psychological occurrences were pleasant or unpleasant mental states that could be distinguished from the reactive responses of simpler life-forms, in that these rich feelings were complex elaborations on the more general arousal patterns. In essence, they served as a form of heuristic reactions which mammals used as shortcuts with which to intuitively process information which subsequently influenced their behavior.
In general, this type of psychological reaction involved certain physiological changes that stimulate an animal, or some component part of its body, toward further activity. This included phenomena such as an accelerated or retarded pulse, diminished or increased activities of certain glands, or a change in body temperature. These reactions were related to activity in the particular brain areas that direct attention by determining an ascribed significance to what is going on in the environment. In this way, every emotional process served as a way to chemically reinforce a somatic sensation into long-term memory by way of the limbic system.
This complex set of structures just under the cerebrum helped give rise to and modulate the specific functions that allow a mammal to distinguish between the agreeable and the disagreeable aspects of their existence. In this way, specific affective functions were developed, such as the one that induces females to nurse and protect their young, or the one which then causes their offspring to develop playful moods. As such, mammals became quick to exploit opportunities and learn from past mistakes. This sophisticated mental ability also made them greatly adaptable, which gave them the best chances for survival under even the most difficult of life’s conditions.
In addition to this, dreams became incredibly important at this time, as well. This was because these altered states of consciousness were what mammals needed to experience during periods of rapid eye movement in order to facilitate the classification of events and the consolidation of experiences in their minds to provide their brains with enough periodic stimulation to develop and preserve neural pathways. This phenomenon was, and continues to be, the result of a number of different firing patterns that primarily originate in the pons through the ascendancy of acetylcholine, thereby producing the hallucination-like episodes that are associated with rapid eye movement sleep.
One of the first organisms ever likely to have experienced this radical depth of subjective phenomena was Morganucodon. This tiny quadruped made use of short legs that ended with five-toed feet as it scurried across the prehistoric forest floor. This animal looked very similar to a weasel, except that it was only a couple inches long. It also had large eyes because it was active at night, preying on insects and small vertebrates.
As the ancestor to a number of modern creatures, this primitive mammal lovingly raised offspring on milk produced in mammary glands. Morganucodon even used food to keep itself warm as well as to power its body and grow. As a result, this new kind of animal had to eat more frequently than the cold-blooded creatures that came before it. To assist in this, the teeth of this creature tended to fit together in a precise way when their mouth was closed, allowing them to nibble, gnaw, slice, or chew, depending on what it was that a given situation required. As would be expected, this helped them to both collect and process food in a number of novel ways.
While many of the early mammals were small nocturnal animals that lived as herbivores and insectivores, less than ten million years after the Paleocene Epoch began, the world was overrun with rodent-like mammals, medium sized mammals scavenging in forests, and large herbivorous and carnivorous mammals hunting other mammals, birds, and reptiles. The vast majority of these developed into short-legged creatures that walked on the soles of their five toed feet. Many also possessed forty-four low crowned teeth. Almost all of these organisms had slim heads with narrow muzzles and small brain cavities. Such mammals included things like the duck-billed platypus, primitive marsupials, and hoofed ungulates.
Many of these developed in northern Asia and migrated from there to the rest of Asia, to Europe and to North America. These creatures made up the typical Laurasian fauna of the time. The inhabitants of the scattered remains of Gondwana were all isolated from each other and from other parts of the world, and they served as independent centers of evolution where unique fauna were able to develop in safety.
Then, changes in the expression of homeotic genes altered the embryonic determination of brain size and forebrain development in the ancestors of primates, cetaceans, and elephants. Of course, it is important to understand that this encephalization process was the result of an alteration in the process of postcranial growth and not that of accelerated brain growth. Nonetheless, one of these creatures from the Northern Hemisphere was roughly similar to squirrels in size and appearance, being of tremendous importance to the hominoids that would eventually emerge from it.
As the forerunner to monkeys and apes, these archaic terrestrial nocturnal creatures lived in tropical and subtropical forests, so many of their characteristic features were adapted specifically to those habitats. In line with this, the teeth of the very early primates began to show an evolutionary trend towards leaf and fruit eating specializations, gradually moving away from the sharp-cusped, dentition of their insectivore ancestors.
As part of this convergent evolution among these short muzzled mammals, prosimian groups such as the Plesiadapiformes started to develop hands that were more suited for grasping, along with rotating shoulder joints, and nails on their digits, instead of claws. Certain manifestations of these Early Tertiary critters were also becoming increasingly more and more equipped with stereoscopic vision, and some parallel lineages in this divergent evolution even began to receive larger brains, although it is important to note that this was still incredibly rare among these ever-developing biological systems.
Regardless, at this point in the great chain of being, the diversity of multituberculates had reached a maximum, and it eventually even started to decline. This was mainly due to competition with an increasing number of placental herbivores, especially the archaic hoofed mammals and the newly evolving primates. In addition to this, within a couple million years of this, true rodents emerged in various different parts of Asia. They, too, began to outsource the multituberculates, being the most abundant and adaptable group of mammals, during this particular stage of prehistory. Thus, within almost no time at all, these highly adaptive creatures were living within trees, underground, in the water, and even among the deserts of every continent except Antarctica.
Primates began to evolve more and more as time went on, too. These individuals tended to resemble modern prosimians, living in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In general, major evolutionary changes were beginning in some of these lineages that foreshadowed species yet to come. For instance, their brains and eyes were becoming larger, while their snouts were getting smaller. They also had feet and hands that were increasingly capable of manipulating objects and differentiated teeth such as shovel-shaped incisors.
In addition to this, these animals were beginning to hold their bodies erect while hopping and sitting. Of course, many of the prosimians of this time showed distinct arboreal adaptations in their appendages. This tended to include long hind-limbs with a large opposable great toe as well as significantly lengthened ankle bones.
Multituberculates eventually became the only major branch of mammals to ever really go extinct. After a one hundred million-year history, the longest of any known mammalian lineage, these animals were finally out-competed because the continuation of land mammal faunal migration between Asia and North America led to the dispersal of several lineages onto new continents. So, mammals like horses, elephants, dogs, and primates began to dominate the Earth during the Oligocene Epoch, except in Australia.
As life evolved, simians were emerging from prosimians, and some of these new life-forms were relatively small, weighing in at around three pounds, while others were as big as fifteen pounds. Compared to their ancestors, these monkeys had fewer teeth, less fox-like snouts, larger brains, and increasingly more forward-looking eyes.
Next, primitive apes evolved from monkeys in Africa and quickly expanded into many genera and species. Then, global circulation patterns changed as Antarctica became isolated. This reduced significantly the mixing of warmer tropical water with cold polar water, subsequently permitting the buildup of the Antarctic polar cap. Meanwhile, the African-Arabian plate joined to Asia, closing the seaway which had previously separated Africa from Asia, and a number of migrations of animals brought these two faunas into contact. In general, this great diversification of land mammals was due in large part to the formation of such land bridges. These routes, which emerged as sea levels dropped and inland seas dried out, connected continents previously separated by water. They provided access to new habitats and enabled migrating animals to greatly extend their geographic ranges.
At this stage of the local cosmic evolution, elephants and apes were among the mammals that ventured out of Africa and settled in parts of Eurasia, while animals such as rabbits, pigs, saber-toothed cats, and modern rhinos moved in the opposite direction. To the north, a dry corridor, the Bering land bridge, connected what are now Siberia and Alaska. Eventually, both elephants and rhinos made their way to North America, crossing paths with horses on their way to Eurasia. By this time, most of the terrestrial fauna were fairly modern.
Twenty million years ago, volcanic activity increased, and fluctuations in the climate caused a majority of the woodland environments to be replaced by open savannas. These grasslands quickly became home to a diverse fauna. In North America, species of rhino roamed the countryside. Africa became more arid, and India’s collision with the Asian mainland continued to piece together the Himalayas. As South America moved north, the passageway between it and Antarctica opened up.
The resulting circulation of cold waters around Antarctica led to the formation of deep, cold bottom waters in Earth’s oceans. This era also gave rise to a diverse group of simian primates that lived in the trees of dense forests in eastern Africa. These agile climbers had the flexible backbone and narrow chest characteristic of monkeys along with a wide range of movement in their hips. They also began to develop an opposable thumb at this time. In addition to this, they exhibited the lack of a tail which had become characteristic of apes a few million years prior to this.
Sixteen million years ago, during a warm climate, genera of primates migrated from Africa into Eurasia. These species were primarily herbivorous, and therefore were not adapted to an environment with fewer plants and a cold season. Although language had not yet developed, many of the apes and monkeys of this day and age used an elaborate system of communication.
As would be expected, tactile sense was a crucial part of this process, allowing organisms to find expression in the form of sexual behavior, grooming, juvenile play, and many other means of displaying affection. As part of this, their sounds were not only produced through the vocal organs but also by way of chest thumping, ground slapping, and tree drumming. Facial expressions, like teeth-baring, along with body postures also played key communicative functions in their daily lives.
Shortly thereafter, Proconsul developed the same dental formula as that of the modern apes in eastern equatorial Africa. The members of this genus inhabited forests and subsisted on a diet of leaves and fruit. These hominids usually lived in a mixed ecology, consisting mainly of open canopies, with more deciduous trees than that of earlier times. In line with this, they had thin tooth enamel and the structure of their shoulder joints was reflective of their behavior as a quadruped that used their hands, as well as their feet, in locomotion.
These Miocene apes had several monkey-like features such as pronograde postures, curved metacarpals, and an above-branch arboreal quadrupedal positional repertoire. These hominids also displayed several ape-like features which included characteristics such as enhanced grasping capabilities, a stabilized elbow joint and the lack of a tail. In addition to this, their limbs were not excessively long and the skull of this animal lacked the well-developed crests and massive brow ridges found in modern apes.
Soon, select groups of apes were beginning to adapt to life on the edges of the expanding savanna in southern Europe. These animals exhibited a greater range of sizes than that of modern apes. As it was, some of these were the first primates to leave the treetops and live on the ground. However, less hospitable cooler conditions in the Northern Hemisphere caused many of these species to die out, although there were some that did survive by migrating south into Africa. There were also those who ventured into Southern Asia where they evolved into orangutans, when the hominines emerged from hominids.
As time went on, the diversity of anthropic life-forms continued to decline as the tropical and subtropical habitats of Europe and Asia began to contract and become concentrated closer to the equator. Then, another significant cooling event occurred. This was related to the expansion of the ice sheet that covered Antarctica. Subsequently, ocean levels dropped in response to the formation of ice on land, which resulted in the catastrophic drying of the Mediterranean Sea.
Life was much harder for the hominids and hominines that clung to the remaining trees of the open savanna. As the global climate cooled and became drier, this broke up and reduced the area of African forests. As a result, the apes in this area experienced many changes in the environment. Eventually, they ended up living in a range of habitats, including forests, open-canopy woodlands, and savannas. In response to this, their populations became adapted to a variety of surroundings.
The descendants of the early apes diverged into two lineages, the gorillas and the line that would lead to humans and chimpanzees as the hominines gave rise to hominins. Then, the latter of these began to hone a survival strategy known as lethal raiding. This process consisted of gangs of males that generally set out to expand their territory by deliberating exterminating neighboring groups. Essentially, the goal of this was simply to eliminate rival males and abduct females. Not surprisingly, from that time on, the vast majority of hunter-gatherer societies have followed the same sadistic pattern of waging war on each other every few years or so.
Around eight million years ago, the expansion of dry terrain favored the evolution of terrestrial living, which made it more difficult for hominids, hominines and hominins to survive through arboreal means. As such, hominoids soon became extinct in Europe and their populations and distribution were significantly reduced in Asia because climatic disruptions in the middle latitudes made these habitats unsuitable. So, high mountains and low-lying grassy plains soon gave rise to a variety of new habitats as the remaining terrestrial species formed large social groups.
This inevitably improved their ability to find and collect food and fend off predators, based on their ever increasing mental abilities which correlated to the development of larger and larger brains. Of course, at this time, these proto-human animals still had a braincase similar to that of a chimpanzee. In addition to this, their teeth were closer to those of modern humans, and their faces began to include brow ridges.
Within a couple million years of this, tropical forests were limited to a tight band around the equator and deserts began to appear in Asia and Africa. Eventually, a mass extinction of forest dwelling organisms triggered a burst of adaptive radiation that resulted in several new primate species. As an example, hominans fully speciated from the ancestors of chimpanzees when a telomere-telomere fusion of ancestral ape chromosomes gave rise to a specific mutation in the lineage that would lead to Homo sapiens, beginning more than five hundred thousand generations ago.
Once these ardipithecines finally evolved into something with an increased teleological significance, scattered clans of forest-dwelling anthrops were forced to endure the harsh conditions of the savanna. In no time at all, these evolving apes quickly began to realize that there wasn’t enough food accessible to them in the trees that they had come to rely on so much in their daily lives. In the end, these Miocene hominans were compelled by their hunger pangs to climb down from the safety of the trees and venture out in search of sustenance.
About four and a half million years ago, the canines of novel animals were becoming lower, blunter, and less projecting than the canines of all other apes, while their upper and lower incisors were becoming larger. Additionally, their lower molars of this animal were broader than those of a comparably sized ape. This trait approached the modern human condition inherent in other anthropic entities, as well.
By this stage of the great chain of being, several ape species were developing this human characteristic, having smaller, flatter canines. This reduction related to an increase in social cooperation and an accompanying decrease in the need for males to make aggressive displays, leading to reduced dimorphism. In addition to this, the skulls of these animals rested toward the top of their vertebral columns, rather than in front of them. This was a key adaptation toward full upright walking, although these long-armed primates still lived in the semi-shady forests of the micro-savannas.
In the middle of the Pliocene Epoch, the nervous systems of certain primates began to reorganize to operate in more coordinated ways. This development triggered what would become the crucial growth of the human brain and the advent of reasoning. As such, evolution enabled these apes to use hunks of rock and wood to crack open nuts or dig for tubers, although they still couldn’t shape tools in any meaningful way at this point in prehistory. For instance, these animals used small twigs to pull termites and ants out of their mounds.
In spite of this continued simplicity, within another million years, a different ape species emerged. This particular hominid had a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain compared to body size, along with a number of more human-like facial features. As it was, these australopithecines were relatively short, with disproportionately long arms, which they used to diligently escape from predators into the safety of the forest canopy.
In line with this, long distance accurate throwing tended to require a tremendous deal of brainpower, which this species did not yet possess. However, this animal did have a brain that was less than half the size of that of a modern human. This adaptation resulted from a lack of other defense mechanisms, like sharp teeth or claws. As a result, these hominans started to use small stones as projectile weapons. Of course, this was only as a defensive maneuver. Australopithecine species were not able to throw in an overhand style. Instead, they threw rocks like a human would hurl a discus not a baseball. As would be expected, this wasn’t very accurate, and it was coupled with the fact that they also lacked the full dexterity necessary to properly throw a weapon of any kind.
Up to this point, australopithecines were not able to contend with the large voracious predators or the highly specialized scavengers of their day and age, so they had to take the scraps that no one else could eat. Fortunately for them, many scavengers would often leave behind the bones of their feast, especially skulls. This meant that the marrow and brain were still plentiful because they were so hard to get at.
To compensate for this, a new form of australopithecines emerged from a population of Australopithecus afarensis in East Africa. Then, these remarkable animals began to use primitive stone tools to aid in the acquisition of fatty foods. As an example, they would use two stones as a primitive hammer and anvil in order to break open bones so they could suck out the nutrient marrow within. This yielded a great deal of energy and served as an essential building block for the growth of the brain.
In time, the increased improvisation and improved versatility in their behavior allowed these hominans to become less specialized through greater adaptability to the extreme climactic fluctuations in this region of the world. This allowed these animals to perform a number of novel functions including, but not limited to, cutting open carcasses, breaking down dense vegetable matter, crushing nuts, and digging up tubers that were rich in protein.
Having descended directly from Australopithecus afarensis, the cranial capacity of garhi only measured out to about four hundred fifty cubic centimeters. Nonetheless, as the first stone tool makers on Earth, this particular australopithecine species became the primitive human-like ancestor of what would one day become Homo sapiens. As part of this, these apes were able to manipulate different objects, in and around Ethiopia, using imitation to transmit ideas and pass on their trade through mimetic intelligence in the East African Rift system, along the banks of ancient streams and lakes.
To obtain an Oldowan tool of this kind, ghari would strike a roughly spherical hammer stone on the edge of a suitable core rock to produce a conchoidal fracture with sharp edges useful for various purposes, such as slicing into hides and sharpening sticks. The main source of the stones that were used in this process of lithic reduction, were quartz, basalt and obsidian. This was because these river cobbles provided both hammer stones and striking platforms.
All of these morphological changes made humans more proficient than other animals, and this allowed for the development of a wide range of abilities and an unparalleled adaptability in behavior. The brain’s size, complexity, and slow maturation meant that learned behavior largely modified instinctive responses. As a result of all these new faculties, Homo habilis was able to travel north and thrive, unlike the chimpanzees that lacked the brainpower and physical dexterity to exist in colder climates.
As part of this, the first humans in the extant East African hominan lineage began to develop complex memes as their societies emerged. This was important because the type of cognition that was required for this to occur drew upon the use of body language and usually had emotional significance. These tendencies served as a synchronization of mood that was crucial to smooth interaction, and it involved the linking and orchestration of physical gestures. Along with this, people tended to seek the company of others in order to confirm the mood that an individual had a disposition to be in.
These kinds of skills necessarily predated the use of modern linguistics, including the ability to construct internal narrative. Therefore, thinking was generally restricted to visual images. Since internal words and sentences were not available, only images of the process and its goal were present. This meant that a person had to communicate through gesture and movement far more than any kind of speech. For instance, a person could indicate that they were hungry by miming the process of eating. This distinctly human invention eventually gave rise to the first human cultures by establishing various different memes that could be reliably replicated.
For instance, Homo habilis sufficiently improved the development and implementation of stone flake tools at this time. This resulted from the fact that members of the Homo genus began to possess well-developed arm muscles which allowed them to break and shape an angular rock by hitting it with a round palm-sized stone much more effectively than their ancestors had. Thus, the tools made in this way included, but were not limited to, heavy pounding stones, large axes with a chopping edge, and small flakes that could be used to scrape and slice.
Later, a new hominan species began to experience a significant increase in brain size over earlier species. These newcomers displayed a general trend towards a more modern brain. However, it is important to realize that this increase in body size was minimal, which meant that there was significantly increased encephalization in this species, being about two-thirds the size of that of a modern human. In addition to this, Homo erectus became the first primate to have consistently noticeable whites in their eyes. This, too, allowed them to convey a rich depth of meaning with nothing more than a glance.
In line with this, the natal process of giving birth to immature infants also took on great significance as the human brain became larger. This was because, like the chimpanzees from which they descended, the australopithecines had relatively small babies compared to the pelvis of their mothers. In contrast to this, members of the Homo genus tend to have tremendous difficulty passing their children through the birth canal. This makes the process incredibly painful. The pushing and twisting required to accomplish this is traumatic for both the mother as well as her offspring.
Unlike the australopithecines, humans do not go through their most crucial neurological development in the womb. Thus, modern children are born having undergone less than half of the necessary critical increase because a baby’s head would be too large to push it through the pelvis. As a result kids have to spend the first few years of their life in a helpless condition until their brains finally mature. This inevitably constrains the mother’s potential by limiting the amount and extent of behavior she can engage in, which makes these females particularly reliant on their mates and extended families.
Since their nearly hairless bodies let heat escape through millions of tiny glands in their skin and their nasal morphology made their breathing more efficient, these organisms were able to regulate their thermal equilibrium far more effectively than any other ape up to this point. As a result, a member of this species would sweat far more and pant far less, even when putting forth a great deal of effort. This freed up their breathing for even more efficient communication, giving them a greater range of calls than that of their ancestors. Therefore, these were the first humans to have a modern sounding voice although they still lacked any kind of familiar language system.
Along with this, the humans of this day and age were beginning to employ a distinct type of food-sharing. They delayed eating until they had returned to the other members of their social group. This was mainly because, by devoting himself to a particular female and sharing food with her, a male could increase the chances of survival for his own offspring. As would be expected, this new way of eating came about at the same time as another unprecedented behavior, that of extended infant care.
In addition to this, the emergence of long-lived people during the time of erectus led to the advent of grandparents who were then able to help their own sons and daughters care for their own sons and daughters more effectively. This allowed mothers and fathers to direct more of their energy to other tasks, which eventually brought about greater cultural diversity as society evolved through the development of a greater range of memes. This subsequently triggered the evolution of menopause to prevent the elders from having anymore children of their own late in life. Thus, in no time at all, grandchildren became a better investment than that of the regular children themselves. This allowed increasing numbers of hominans to live past their reproductive age.
As a result of all the improving social conditions among these people, reproduction and migration flourished. Throughout the years, nature experimented wildly with various anthropic forms by creating many different types of humans who subsequently indulged in sensual bouts of gene swapping. So, for all of their similarities these divergent species each had very different lifestyles, particularly in regards to things like their diet. For instance, some of these apes ate termites rather than the meat of animals and therefore were not even in direct competition with each other. However, full blown feuds and cannibalism were not altogether uncommon.
Being the most advanced hominan species to have existed at this time, one particular primitive human had a low and rounded braincase that was elongated from front to back. This animal also had a prominent brow ridge and an adult cranial capacity that was more than twice that of the australopithecines, averaging at around nine hundred cubic centimeters. In line with this, Homo erectus had bones which were thicker than those of earlier species. So, they had a muscular body that could withstand powerful movements and stresses. Along with this, although they had much smaller teeth than did the australopithecines, they had a heavy and strong jaw with which to thoroughly masticate their food.
Homo erectus also evolved a whole host of complex facial musculature. This enabled the members of this species to exhibit a richer range of emotional expression than their predecessors. This was supported by an increased complexity of both the components of vocalization, including specific sounds, as well as the volume, pitch, tone, and emphasis of their calls. In this way, changes in the skull and jaw allowed for the generation of more varied communication.
However, it is important to note that the vertebral canal of this hominan was much narrower near the chest than it is in modern humans. This was important because this hollow passage in the spine is what carries nerves from the brain to the rest of the body allowing for fine control over the muscles involved in breathing. This is vital to the use of spoken language, which was still quite rudimentary in erectus.
Nonetheless, these creatures became the first early humans to fit squarely into the category of a hunter and predator, not as prey for larger animals. This was because people could now learn about the things they needed to kill by studying their behavior. This allowed them to develop strategies and work together as a team when they hunted. By this stage, early humans had also begun to use more diverse and sophisticated tools. This new tradition consisted of increasingly larger and more symmetrical objects.
A new stone technology was becoming widespread throughout Africa and from there the use of new hand-axes spread north and east to Asia, from Anatolia, through the Arabian peninsula, across Iran and Pakistan, into India and beyond. All the while, the geographic distribution of Acheulean tools, and the hominans who made them, was the result of climatic and ecological factors, such as glaciations and desertification. This early prehistoric stone-working industry served as the dominant technology of Homo erectus and consisted of a number of tool-making techniques that flourished extensively in the Old World for millennia. The earliest of the Acheulean assemblages contained numerous Olduwan-style flakes and core forms, given that the methods of their construction were adapted from the lithic industry of Homo habilis.
At this point in the great chain of being, the distinctive oval and pear-shaped hand-axes of the Acheulean tradition attained such a high level of sophistication that the inventions became one of the earliest forms of art and economy in the world as an aesthetic sensibility began to emerge. The over-sophistication of the elaborate hand-axes gave them a kind of value that represented a historically accrued cultural significance which played a role in the owners’ personal identity and social status. For instance, some of these hand-axes were made and displayed by males in search of a mate, using a large, well-made piece of art to demonstrate that they possessed the sufficient skills necessary to pass on to their offspring. Then, once they had successfully attracted a female at the breeding grounds of a group gathering these disposable artifacts were discarded.
Several hundred thousand years after this, Homo erectus was beginning to understand things about fire through encounters with natural phenomena like brushfires that swept through the areas they inhabited, cooking animals in their wake. The smell then enticed the appetites of those present. This was tremendously important because, upon inspection, charred muscle tasted much better than any of the food known before it. In addition to this, a single meal of raw meat took several hours to chew, which only yielded the same amount of calories as a fruit diet. Since uncooked meat was actually so inefficient, select groups of hominans finally decided to start cooking their food before they ate it. In time, they even realized that it was possible to transfer naturally occurring fires to new locations. As a result, the controlled use of fire brought about many new changes in the physique and behavior of these individuals.
As part of this, Homo erectus had to resist a great deal of instinctual impulse to flee from the inherent danger that flames possess. On top of this, early humans had no idea that fire could even be produced by way of sparks. As such, these creatures had to plan ahead and put together a system in which they could collectively tend the hearth with smoldering embers once lit. Ultimately, this gave rise to one of the first forms of ceremonial ritual, along with one of the first instances of displaying religious reverence for an elemental force in nature.
Fast calories from cooked food also triggered a massive growth spurt. Thus, in no time at all, hominans grew to nearly six feet in height, and the reduced need for digestion allowed their intestines and rib cage to shrink based on the nutritional advantages conferred by an increased reliance on a meat and potato diet. Furthermore, less chewing allowed their jaw muscles to shrink so their skulls and brains could grow larger. Therefore, with all of these new developments, these primitive humans traveled thousands of miles into Europe and Asia over the course of several millennia.
During the Quaternary Period, those members of Homo erectus that remained in Africa changed drastically from those who migrated to different parts of the world. Furthermore, around seven hundred thousand years ago environmental conditions in Africa allowed a variety of animals to become much larger than they are today. As such, one species of early man, Homo heidelbergensis, grew in excess of six feet tall, weighing more than two hundred pounds.
These gargantuan hominans faced a serious problem based on the fact that their offspring went through a longer phase of dependency than any of the previous humans. Instead of having to raise a child for three or four years, these individuals spent five or six years meticulously caring for their young. This meant that children could be better prepared to face the world however it also meant that the families would have to invest more time and energy on their kids.
In addition to this, Homo heidelbergensis significantly contributed to a much more sophisticated tool-making approach. As such, there was a distinct transition in the artifacts made in Africa before and after this period, with the older group being thicker and less symmetric and the more recent being significantly streamlined. These enormous humans also invented the throwing spear to contend with the numerous pressures they faced in the environment at this time.
Then, around four hundred thousand years ago, the hominan brain stopped its relatively slow trend toward increased size and this species eventually acquired the where-with-all to openly communicate in a rather unprecedented way. However, the degree to which the base of their skull was angled was not adequate enough for the larynx to move up or down, so the full command of articulate speech was still not yet possible at this time.
Nonetheless, open communication systems allowed these people to gradually combine and recombine concepts to make new meanings from a set of vocalizations that could refer to specific things. This was a significant adaptation because prior to this, any given call or sound had just one specific meaning. In such a system of communication, new ideas couldn’t really be expressed, but now they were beginning to come to fruition and all of this increased mental activity in the forebrain of early humans led to new abilities.
Within fifty thousand years of this, the larynx and hyoid bone were sufficiently developed enough to allow humans to speak with a fully modern voice. In time, many of the remaining human species began to develop new ways of moving their mouths, and this eventually led to the ability to speak in novel ways. This new ability came as a response to the information overload that arose when the capacity of the previous set of communicative skills could no longer cope with the rising level of complexity in early human life.
As people began to live in bigger social groups, and engage in large-scale coordinated hunting, their minds could no longer cope with the demands of life solely on the basis of their perceptual senses and limited cognitive abilities. As a result, a new level of intelligence emerged in the form of sophisticated language. This added new elements of thought to deal with the stresses to which people were responding. This was a distinctive feature of the cerebral cortex, whereas the vocal calls of primates and other animals were controlled by older neural structures in the brain stem and limbic system. These older structures controlled primitive vocalizations, like emotionally charged laughter.
This highly sophisticated adaptation developed to support the distinctions that needed to be made in the increasingly complex social organization of the evolving human condition. As such, social status continued to play an important role in the organization of kinship. By naming individuals and relationships, it became possible to articulate the rules of social interactions between people. This made it easier to distinguish among close kin and individuals in other lineages. This laid the foundation for modern nuclear families, which set about the gradual decline of communal living among the here-to-for tribal people that existed more than twenty-two thousand five hundred generations ago.
Finally, the skeletal structure typical of Homo sapiens had begun to emerge in Africa along the Omo River, around two hundred thousand years ago. These new features included a much smaller brow ridge, a globe-shaped brain case, and a flat or only slightly projecting face of reduced size, located under the front of the brain case. Other early humans had evolved independently in other parts of the world. As an example, one particular species lived on some of the Indonesian islands until quite recently, although their intelligence did not differ from modern humans much at all.
The Determination of Truth through Knowledge by Acquaintance
“To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.” — Aristotle
Although Aristotle’s blatant dismissal of the problem of truth is reasonably valid, there is actually a great deal of difficulty that scientists and philosophers face in trying to determine what is true versus what is false. As part of this, there are significant connotative, as well as denotative, semantic discrepancies regarding what it means for something to be true or false. In addition to this, there really isn’t any foolproof criterion for establishing the truth.
In trying to cope with these kinds of problems, great thinkers have come up with a couple different theories regarding the nature of truth as such. Of these, correspondence theory asserts that true means something like corresponding to the facts. In contrast to this, coherence theory asserts that true means cohering to the body of accepted propositions.
Based on the former approach the attribution of a particular status-claim occurs in conjunction with conformity to an empirically verifiable or otherwise indisputable event in the natural world. In contrast to this, coherence theory is typically based on unwarranted theoretical or ideological assumptions. As a result, the conclusions derived from coherence theory are prone to falsehood, while those of correspondence theory are always true no matter what. Correspondence is truth through knowledge by acquaintance.
Thus, truth is that which is by virtue of being as such and not other than that. In other words, something is true if, and only if, it is consistent with the state or condition to which it refers, otherwise it is necessarily false — regardless of whether it agrees with anything anyone expects it to, or not. It just is what is.
The Proper Way to Teach and Learn
True philosophical inquiry requires critical thought. So, genuine educators elicit opinions from their interlocutors and then subject them to scrutiny. This results in refutation, showing that the doctrines in question are inconsistent with other propositions that are agreed to be true.
When used properly this argumentative strategy is not intended to produce victory in a debate, rather it is meant to guide students of knowledge toward genuine understanding by purging them of false beliefs. This is not an eristic contest between opponents, but a cooperative dialectic search for real understanding.
The greatest form of reasoning proceeds by way of thorough questions and answers. This is the classic Socratic Method that has served us well for thousands of years and will continue to serve us for thousands more to come. Simply put, to subvert over-confident claims of self-professed experts in this way, pretend to be ignorant then use time-honored pedagogical tactics to pursue the truth through appropriate analytical discussion.
Question everything until it makes complete sense to everyone. Such is the proper method of philosophizing!
Sidestepping the Unresolveability of the Great Mystery
The Universe needs anthropic life to gain self-referential capacities, but can the Omniverse become aware of the entire Cosmos? What a Great Mystery!?!?!
The most esoteric aspects of existence are truly mysterious for countless reasons. They are a greatest mystery — the Great Mystery, in fact. Unlike the concept of a known unknown, which refers to an outcome that is known to be possible although it is unknown whether or not it will be realized, the Great Mystery is synonymous with the unknown unknowns whose outcomes were not conceived of by anyone at any given point in time. These are the truly occult things that you don’t know you don’t know and never will.
Since the esoteric dimensions of the multiverse are informationally separate from the exoteric dimensions of the universe, it is impossible to describe the entire Omniverse in any useful manner. There is absolutely no way that anyone could ever write about what must forever remain a Great Mystery. Even though theophanous disaster looms at the unbound edge of existence, theology is essentially mythology by virtue of being able to be discussed. This is one of the ways that reality (universal actuality) and possibility (multiversal potentiality) prevent their own undoing.
The true nature of the Cosmos is so far removed from anything that could ever be perceived or conceived that it really makes no sense to even discuss the possibility of discussing it. But this does not mean that it should be ignored as is the case with all other arbitrary assertions. However, describing the Cosmos, as nature intends to, would require a language that could effectively indicate all the things which universes, and even multiverses, are not. (Un)Fortunately, math and logic can only be used to tell us about all of those things which they are, at best. It is for this, and many other reasons, that ineffable truth will always remain just out of reach. In other words, the Great Mystery will never completely solve itself, no matter how hard this or any other universe tries. Never, ever. Not even once!
The Great Mystery is like a secret inside a secret inside a secret, wrapped in an enigma, within a paradox. If you discovered everything there is to know then you still wouldn’t fully understand the Cosmos…
(For verification or clarification refer to any of the standard axiomatic truths regarding this, such as Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, etcetra…)
Learn everything you can, even though there will always be more than you could ever know, as well as things you never could!!!
As the Great Mystery, the Cosmos is a “God of the gaps”, but in all other ways, nature can be revealed.
The Growing Layers of Self: Explanations Regarding the Human Soul
As one of the most sophisticated things in this universe, the human brain is capable of producing a wide range of nearly inexplicable phenomena. As a result, your thoughts are capable of extending your physical, mental, and spiritual limits.
Early in the Tertiary period of geological Deep Time, homeotic genes began to lay the foundation for something mysterious and wonderful in the lives of certain mammals. Tens of millions of years later, the brains and bodies of primates, cetaceans, and elephants grew along trajectories that were parallel but shifted from the other milk-drinking animals. As a result modern-day animals, like the bonobo and bottle-nose dolphin, have a higher ratio of brain to body size at every stage of their growth and development.
This sophisticated neural complexity serves as the basic wetware of mystical experience in anthropic life-forms. Now, whether whales are spiritually conscious or not is a whole different matter. Humans most certainly are, or at least they can be, and that’s the whole point.
Paleontological and archaeological evidence would seem to suggest that the human soul first emerged within the last one hundred thousand generations of our hominan lineage. Yearning to do the divine will of nature itself, this recent encephalization and corticalization occurred in part as an attempt to support the practice of spirituality in our species. This has occurred in such a way that the overall strength of a state of consciousness can now reach much higher levels of complexity allowing select people to even glimpse the ineffable truths hidden by the Great Mystery.
Ultimately, what this all means is that the human spirit is an emergent property of the primate psyche that few ever really acquire, but nearly anyone can get. The feelings of post-conventional morality that cause gallant heroes to face certain death to “do what is right” exemplify this point quite well. However, even the unpleasant experience of existential guilt is a spiritual blessing. This is because true anthropic beings are endowed with, not just functional but, genuinely active souls.
As part of this, in a world based on evolution and complex emergent properties, existence tends to precede essence more or less universally. The human soul is no exception to this rule. Having grown from the animal mind, the soul is not something eternal that enters the body to inhabit it, living on forever after the demise of the flesh. Rather the soul is something that you access with your brain in order to achieve mystical states, above and beyond the normal waking states of the conscious mind.
Abraham Maslow described what he called the peak experience as being necessary to human fulfillment. These states appear to be synonymous with mystical occurrences in that they are both characterized as exciting moments that involve sudden intense bliss, wonder and awe. These experiences are also both said to occasionally involve an awareness of transcendence and spiritual truth.
A number of sophisticated animals have incipient capacities that allow them to perform complex functions similar to that of anthropic lifeforms.
Reptiles evolved into two separate lines of different big-brained creatures that both eventually developed higher cognitive abilities. One took the form of mammals, the other birds. Does this mean that ravens have souls? After all, why do bower birds make such beautiful art and how do magpies recognize their own reflections in a mirror?
Creatures with full-blown souls do wonderful things like grieve for their dead and much, much, more. As such cruelty to an elephant is akin to the torture of a person. So please, be kind to our animal cousins. They are kindred spirits that deserve respect.
The most complex animals have rudimentary souls. These are more highly developed in people, leading to religiosity in much of our species. Neanderthals had bone altars and burial rites, but what about the other species in our genus? Who else made use of mystical memes?
How significant was the mutation of our second chromosome? Something profound most certainly occurred, but was it spiritual in nature? For instance, perhaps the telomere fusion gave us religion — or maybe just the wisdom of our elders. Could there have been australopithecine or even ardipithecine shamans?
As one of the most recently evolved areas of the human brain, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is one of the clearest indicators of our specific anthropic imperatives here on Earth. For instance, in addition to the higher ethical function consistent with post-conventional morality, this area also enables deductive, syllogistic reasoning, which is a higher logical function. This philosophic ability is quite literally what enables someone to tell the truth. As part of this, the aforementioned area of the brain also plays a role in conflict-induced behavioral adjustment, for instance when you have to decide what to do when you are faced with rules that contradict each other. This gives you the ability to take control of things. Simply put, this part of your soul is what allows you to suppress undesirable behaviors.
In line with this, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is related to attention and motivation, such that damage to these neurons would cause you to become deprived of spontaneity in your life. Dysfunction in this region would also most likely lead to behavioral inhibition, being the lack of motivation that you need to have in order to do things for yourself and others. Similarly, this spiritual aspect of your being is also what enables you to evoke a preference towards the most equitable option and suppresses the temptation to maximize personal gain, if options for choosing alternatives are present such that costs and benefits of alternative choices are of interest. As an example, this area of the brain is always used whenever someone has to decide who gets what, particularly if there just isn’t enough to go around.
Ultimately, what is it that makes something mystical or spiritual or transcendental? Is it a sense of unity, totality, eternity, ineffability, serenity? Or, is it all of this and more, perhaps?
Concerning the Production of Altered States of Consciousness
Many of the objections against spiritual thought are simply the result of what critical thinkers call “chronological snobbery.” So not every mystical idea that has been rejected is actually false.
Mystical experiences can have profound influences on your life, whether or not they are indicative of an actual spiritual existence of some sort. So, if a life-changing encounter with other-worldly beings enriches your life, does it matter if the hierosphere is actually inhabited or even real? No, not when it comes to this, because the benefits that you can get from a transcendental occurrence are what truly count here. If you over-analyze an inexplicable event in your life then you just might miss out on the only thing that you could have gained from it.
Deprive your body, overwhelm your mind, and free your soul…
Hang yourself from hooks in your flesh!
Whip yourself into a frenzy!!
Dance to ecstasy!!!
Follow in the longstanding traditions of meditative and contemplative practice.
Throughout the years, shamans have used countless different techniques to generate gnosis or evoke higher power. This has included everything from sensory deprivation to psychedelic intoxication and beyond. Asian meditation and African trance states serve as two different forms of the same class of human experience. Even intense sexual ecstasy can be used to perform blissful rites of tantric magick, when used properly. The awesome power of the soul can be harnessed in any number of ways. Ultimately, whatever works for you is whatever works for you. Transcranial stimulation, ceremonial divination, sensory deprivation and mescaline intoxication can all have their place in the world of mystical experience, if need be.
(Christian priests approach the divine to appease it, while Voodoo priests approach the divine to become it. Of these, the latter are more accurate and appropriate in their endeavors.)
When you summon forth spiritual forces you either evoke them from being or invoke them from Being. In other words, invocations move from the Oversoul into you and evocations come from within your soul out into the world.
One legend behind divination holds that coming events can cast their shadows out in front of themselves. Omens are thought to be a glimpse of this. In theory divination is quintessentially the process of generating and/or receiving an omen and then recognizing how it is important. In practice, a tool often serves as a specific focal point for such insight to occur. The presentation is then interpreted….
ALTERED STATES CAN LEAD TO ALTERED TRAITS
Although the components of identity do tend to undergo rapid change during the sudden influx of transcendence into the non-ordinary realm of the heirosphere, it is very important for you to understand that mystical experiences are not symptomatic of psychosis, in and of themselves. On the contrary, it is actually pathological not to embrace the parapsychological phenomena that you experience. It’s simply best to ignore those with histrionic and schizotypal personality disorders. Never reject spirit based on the failings of religion or the fanatical behavior of crazed adherents.
Note that it is common for mystics to isolate and deprive themselves for enlightenment, but these behaviors can become chronic if left unchecked. This can then fester into depression or even suicidal ideations.
Remember that journeys toward revelation don’t always end there!
Be careful would-be ascetics…
Breath regulation should only take place in small intervals of seconds, minutes, or even hours. Fasting can go on for days and days and days, but a week without water will kill you. Don’t go too far into the extremes…
Deprive with caution:
Breathing — — minutes
Sleeping — — — days
Eating — — — weeks
The Awesome Power of Faith
Can expectations significantly alter the outcomes of events like the placebo effect and observer-participancy studies seem to suggest?
Belief, or confident expectation that something must be a certain way, can and does have profound effects on your life. For instance, simply by accepting that there is a purpose for your life, whether your justifications for believing that are true or not, you will be more adjusted and capable as a person. Not to mention that you can literally change reality through incantation and similar practices. This is because, in certain instances when the right conditions are met, the universe can respond to focused intentions.
The soul is a powerful thing the Cosmos has given to us. It is important to respect that fact and never forget that theurgy is a much higher calling than thaumaturgy. Spellcraft is not a toy, and life isn’t a game. The Cosmos both wants and needs your help way more than someone could ever desire to have anything, no matter how much they simply must have whatever it may be.
Human beings need convictions that give meaning to their lives and help them find their place in the world. As Carl Jung and others have suggested, we have the capacity to satisfy this need symbolically with the concept of God.
It is very important for everyone, not just binge eaters and drinkers, to believe in a higher power. Humans need to put their faith in something greater than themselves in order to have the best possible life they could. This doesn’t mean that people must acknowledge a supreme being, but just that we need to open our hearts up to the idea of something more. Develop a personalized vision of divinity that can serve as a source of tremendous comfort to you as well as an inspiration that compels you toward greatness.
Note that based on the nature of contingency, it is best to use long-term conjuration and short-term divination. In other words, give the universe long enough to manifest something and don’t give the future long enough to change the likelihood of anything. Think of it this way, it takes time to do something and things have a way of changing.
It is better to invoke spiritual wisdom than it is to evoke material fortune!!!
(Conjure with caution!)
Mystical states can produce spiritual experiences which are the most positive affect that currently exists. This can lead to extremely profound changes including the spontaneous remission of cancer through a sufficient faith-based boost of the immune system. However, it is very important to avoid faith healers and that whole psychic cold reader lot. Create your own miracles.
The Practice of Sigilization and Incantation
VISUALIZATION AND RECITATION:
Too prevent any unnecessary interaction between the mind and soul, which might otherwise introduce doubt or desire or any other barrier to success, it is possible to direct the heirosphere to bring about a given result through the use of sigils and/or incantations. In regards to this, sigils are symbolic images that serve as sufficiently incoherent representations of the essential elements found in specific magickal operations. In line with this, a number of modern practitioners have adopted a technique first devised by the occultist Austin Osman Spare to create glyphs that unintelligibly represent what someone needs to put into effect in the real world. This allows intentions to bypass the grosser channels of the mind and body, by way of the soul, following a simple algorithm:
In this technique you start by generating a statement of intent.
I AM HEALTHY
In the next stage you remove all the repeating letters in the sentence.
Now use your imagination to arrange those letters into a single symbol.
You have just created a sigil suitable for use in the finest spellcraft by the most adept magi.
Incantations are formulated the same way. You just need to make a mantra instead of a glyph.
I CAN RELATE ANYTHING TO ANYONE
I C A N R E L T Y H G O
“CREL YITHO GAN”
Remember to forget what you’ve done when you’re finished making your glyphs and mantras. Better yet, if you really want to get the job done right, have some friends all make sigils and incantations and then trade them off to each other, making sure not to reveal what they mean. Disacknowledgement can be very tricky. It’s best to just avoid having to use it whenever you can.
A sigil serves as a focal point, being a visual stimulus, representing the essence of that which will occur. Some practitioners not only visualize their glyphs but also mark their paraphernalia and regalia with the sigils they obtain, creating talismans and other consecrated objects.
Incantations are far more than rhythmic recitations. Like sigils, they serve as instructions, commanding the Cosmos to make something happen. These are then backed by the faith of the soul, having absolute assurance that it will occur as such.
The Importance of Ritual in Classic and Contemporary Society
The shamanic peoples of the diminishing cultures of the modern world look upon industrial society with a kind of pious despair. The one thing they all seem to agree on is the fact that we have lost our connection to the divine. Our spirituality has been replaced by celebrity gossip, public indecency, religious zealotry and hosts of other inappropriate things. That’s why we must reconnect ourselves to everything if we ever hope to make our people and our planet matter.
Holiday Celebration in the Secular World
The Sun only reaches its highest excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere once a year, just as is the case with the lowest. As a result of these long-term astronomic events, on the day of a solstice, the Sun reaches its highest or lowest altitude in the sky above the horizon at high noon. This is important because the solstices, together with the equinoxes betwixt, mark the beginning and midpoint of winter and summer. As the wheel of the year turns and the quarter days pass, they trace out the seasons we experience in our local environment.
In addition to the natural holidays that Sol and Luna provide through the shortening and lengthening of the day and regular phases of waxing and waning, the precepts of loving yourself and relating to others can be ritually observed through the celebration of people’s birthdays. So, to honor everyone you love, especially yourself, simply rejoice in life. Revel in the fact that someone important was able to escape the tragedy of death for yet another year, then fully embrace that person for all that they are. Lavish them with praise, if only for that day.
Since there are many stages of life, there are a number of occasions that mark natural rites of passage, separate from birth and death. For instance, there are the times when children become adolescents or when adolescents become adults.
The Great Wheel of the Year
Sol made Gaia and Thea who then made Luna which brought forth the Great Wheel…
The wheel consists of solar years and lunar months. The year consists of solstices and equinoxes, with a light and dark of each. From the longest day to the longest night and back again, as the moon waxes and wanes through the changing seasons.
The equinoxes mark turning points, such that the light-half runs from spring to fall and vice-versa for the dark-half. Similar to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, many people choose to start something new in the light half or end something old in the dark half. For instance, someone might start exercising in the summer, quit smoking in the winter, or both.
(Summon the Positive, Banish the Negative)
A Witches’ Esbat
In addition to meeting on their annual sabbats, many pagans also attend monthly meetings in which coven members plan events, perform ceremonies, and worship, among other things. Typically speaking, an esbat is a traditional gathering held by a particular coven, while a sabbat celebration might consist of a number of different covens at once. The point is that, it is often necessary for spiritual communities to give thanks for what has been done and to ask for what is needed.
This is how a modern witch does it, although there are countless other ways in which it can be done. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with solitary practitioners either. The point is that, unlike the sabbats which are based on the cycles of the Sun, esbats are based on the cycles of the Moon. This provides both solar and lunar occasions to commune.
Vernal Equinox Customs
As the light half of the year commences, the days start to get warmer, brightness abounds, trees begin to bud, and flowers soon bloom. At this time, the annual celebration of birth and growth is symbolized with seeds and eggs as the earth is ritually released from the cold darkness of the winter’s night.
Break out the brooms and the besoms, spring cleaning brings rejuvenation through a fresh start as exuberance replaces sluggishness. Then, use fertility idols to help priestesses call forth development as hopeful congregations witness ritual enactments of rebirth at this sacred moment betwixt the longest and shortest days of the year.
Hard boil eggs, then draw sigils on them with wax sticks and dye them in the juices of berries. Hide the eggs and have a good old-fashioned hunt. Charge the sigils, then peel, anoint and eat the enchanted sacraments as you take in their blessings.
All Hail the Cosmos
Pantheism affirms that everything in existence is divine and humanism asserts that people are a special part of it all!!!
Humans are hard-wired for spirituality as well as religiosity, so it’s very important for people to have sacred customs as part of their culture. By denying aspects of existence we threaten our own well-being, thus preventing any further evolution through restriction of the soul.
Connecting with others is equally important to being yourself, but in different ways. This is the reason for congregational worship services. For instance, the fellowship that Quakers share with each other and all of God’s children is completely astounding. Their work in the abolitionist movement stands as a testament to this. It’s also amazing how Friends simply wait on the Holy Spirit to move them. It’s very Zen.
FIND INNER STILLNESS
As you go about your day, remember that being a good person means more than just going to a temple or church or mosque or monastery or whatever. Always strive to be full of uncrushable spirit. Be in awe of the Omniverse!
LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST
Worship daily! Praise the powers that be. Rejoice in all that you do. Attend to the Cosmos as an enthusiastic sectator, not as a passive spectator!!!
On the Sacred Consumption of Holy Sacraments
For hundreds, if not thousands of generations, hallucinogens have been used by hominans in shamanic trance rituals throughout the world. From the prehistoric art of Pleistocene apes to the ancient cultures of Greece and Egypt, the consumption of these substances has been an essential human meme for as long as humanity has existed. These entheogens have been, and continue to be, used in a number of ways including education, celebration, divination and initiation.
When used as a sacrament in this way hallucinogenic eucharists make it possible for certain species to encounter deeper meaning in their lives by revealing the divinity within themselves through profound revelation or mystical awakening. As part of this, many of our primitive ancestors learned of these entheogens from the behavior of other animals. Siberian shamans learned of the peak experience by watching reindeer consume specific mushrooms (Amanita muscaria), while their Amazonian cousins observed jaguar eating a particular psychoactive vine (Banisteriopsis caapi).
Millennia ago, before spirituality became religion, it was unheard of for anyone to try and commune with divinity without first ingesting a hallucinogenic substance. Then, dogma started to raise its ugly little head, beginning with Hinduism in the East and Zoroastrianism in the West. Prior to this, groups of Proto-Indo-Iranian people thought that the only way to practice their faith was through the consumption of a holy sacrament known to them as sauma. This ritual drink was then carried over as soma in Sanskrit and haoma in Avestan. This concoction was frequently mentioned in the religious texts of both traditions.
Unfortunately, laws quickly banned the use of drugs and the ancient priests soon lost sight of the true nature of the sacred mystery schools. Now, the time has come to fix this tremendous oversight in our anthropic heritage. Creatures like the peyote cactus, psilocybin mushroom and iboga plant should be tremendously sacred to us. Even marijuana is not just medicinal, or even recreational, its use is supposed to be spiritual. That’s what soul-manifesting drugs are for.
As such, a large number of the psychonauts who have taken hallucinogens have had a feeling of being part of an undifferentiated Cosmos, this is significant to understanding entheogens because a feeling of unity is one of if not the most important characteristic of a mystical encounter. Along with this, another feature common to both the psychedelic and peak experience is a deeply felt assurance that everything is always alright.
This blessed feeling of peace is the most exhilarating experience a person can ever have. Obviously, there is a sense of sacredness that comes with this, hence the term entheogenic (“divinity producing”). Furthermore, the immediate insights that are gained from this kind of awareness are nearly ineffable, usually with long lasting positive effects in one’s beliefs and behaviors, similar to that of mystical experiences.
Hallucinogens have been described by a profusion of nomenclature, most of which is associated with a particular theory of the nature of these chemicals. Throughout recent decades past, academics have tried to coin a number of terms to describe the various different substances that bring about states of cerebral excitation in the form of hallucinations. This has included everything from phanerothyme and cataleptogenic to mysticomimetic and psychodysleptic, to name but a few. Regardless, given the general consensus among modern scholars based on the implied connotations and denotations of the word, the term hallucinogenic will be used more or less exclusively in the context of this book.
This particular group of substances can be classified by their subjective effects, mechanisms of action, and chemical structure. For instance, most of these chemicals contain nitrogen and are therefore classified as alkaloids. Of course, one problem with structure-based frameworks is that the same structural motif can include a wide variety of drugs which have substantially different effects on the brain.
Even though not all mind-altering substances produce the same effect and even the same drug can produce different effects in the same individual on different occasions, there are still many features common to all hallucinogenic experiences. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in perception that tend to predominate in proportion to other effects and an absence of addictive cravings.
In general, hallucinogens are a group of pharmacological agents that can be divided into a few fairly broad categories based on the way they interact with the mind, such as that of dissociatives and deliriants. However, unlike uppers and downers, the all-arounders don’t simply amplify familiar states of consciousness, rather they induce experiences that are entirely different from those of normal waking states. These experiences are far more akin to epiphanies and fantasies and much less like just getting high from a street drug such as cocaine or heroin.
CLASS I HALLUCINOGENS:
Lysergic acid diethylamide
CLASS II HALLUCINOGENS:
CLASS III HALLUCINOGENS:
CLASS IV HALLUCINOGENS:
As a general rule, the first and second classes of hallucinogens typically have stimulant effects, so there is usually memory to their effects retained during use. In contrast to this, the third and fourth classes of hallucinogens tend to sedate in addition to the fact that memory of a user is often impaired. Nonetheless, both positive and negative hallucinogens form a single pharmacological class of substances with common properties. Still, there are important differences in both chemical structure and in behavioral effects among these compounds.
Given this to be true, there is little likelihood of finding a simple, unitary explanation of their mechanism of action. There is, however, a reasonably distinct class of hallucinogenic chemicals formed by anticholinergic substances which induce delirious states. In contrast to this, another broad class of hallucinogens primarily exert effects upon aminergic systems of the brain. Of course, as a broad class of drugs that all produce distortions in perception, hallucinogens come in a wide variety of forms.
A soul-manifesting, psychedelic experience is quite different from an insanity-producing, psychotomimetic experience. Along with this, at high enough doses, even common household inhalants can be used to bring about mind-dissolving, psycholytic, states of consciousness. Ultimately, the sheer range of things that one might encounter while under the influence of these kinds of substances is almost endless.
In addition to this, along with the numerous different kinds of subjective effects they produce, hallucinogens often share objective properties as well. For instance, one way to classify hallucinogens is by comparing and contrasting their molecular structures with each other as well as the neurotransmitters they tend to resemble. As an example, LSD and DMT mimic the shape of serotonin, so these substances bind with the receptor sites associated with that particular chemical configuration.
Of course, as with any taxonomy, there are always things that don’t quite fit in a particular category. For instance, ibogaine is a rather unusual serotonergic hallucinogen in that it also interacts with the brain at a number of other receptor sites as well. Another exception to this particular classification system can be seen in a group of dissociative anesthetic hallucinogens which do not seem to resemble any known neurotransmitter. This includes drugs like angel dust.
As part of this, certain hallucinogenic substances tend to transcend their chemical classifications like blotter acid and peyote buttons, which are molecularly distinct but psychologically similar. Although the former appears to be serotonergic and the latter noradrenergic, both drugs tend to produce the same kind of psychedelic state. In contrast to this, a class one substance like DMT could produce an entheogenic experience while a class two substance like MDMA might produce empathogenic effects. Simply put, tripping out on Ayahuasca is much different from rolling on Molly, but an LSD high is more or less indistinguishable from that of mescaline at comparable doses.
( I ) Along with producing a range of acute perceptual changes, a class one hallucinogen like LSD has the capacity to bring about profound mystical experiences. This is tremendously important because these artificially induced states of consciousness can have substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance which can then contribute to sustained positive changes in one’s attitude and well-being, similar to spontaneously occurring moments of transcendence.
( II ) The term empathogen is used to describe a class of drugs that produce distinctive prosocial feelings and elevated states of arousal. However, rather than simply making you horny, class two hallucinogens like MDMA also work to produce specific psychological effects different from the more classic amphetamines and psychedelics, particularly in regards to an emotional closeness with others. As a result, this can alter the socio-emotional risk-taking behavior in the individuals who become intoxicated on methylenedioxymethamphetamine, but it also underlies the therapeutic benefits of the drug when it is used medicinally rather than recreationally.
( III ) Deliriants make up a distinct group of drugs from the third class of hallucinogens. These psychoactive substances typically induce a state of delirium similar to the experiences of people with delirious fevers. This is typically characterized by extreme confusion and an inability to control one’s actions. The medieval poisons like henbane are from this class of hallucinogens, and a number of pharmaceutical drugs can also produce this effect when taken in very high doses. Common among these are diphenhydramine and dimenhydrinate, often sold under the brand names Benadryl and Dramamine, respectively. At sufficiently large enough doses, these compounds are known to evoke terrifically vivid hallucinations, peripheral disturbances, confusion, feelings of isolation in conjunction with paranoia, and the partial or total loss of reality.
( IV ) Dissociative drugs like PCP, from the fourth class of hallucinogens, are known to produce analgesia, amnesia and catalepsy at anesthetic doses. These chemicals typically give rise to a sense of detachment from the surrounding environment through disruptions in memory and perceptual distortions. A lack of sensory input then leads to a phenomenon known as derealization, which presents as dream-like. Other dissociative experiences include depersonalization, along with feeling able to observe one’s own actions but not actively take control of them. The primary dissociatives achieve these effects through blocking the signals received by the NMDA receptor set. This particular neurological antagonism can be brought on through the ingestion of drugs like DXM and nitrous oxide.
I. Although core personality traits are predominantly stable after the third decade of life, hallucinogenic experiences can bring about long-lasting life changing experiences at any age. This can effect any or every aspect of your life, opening you up to entirely new ways of being, for better or worse.
II. On average, hallucinogens tend to produce rapid tolerance to psychological effects like euphoria but not to physiological effects like fever. Along with this, based on the duration of action and long half-life of hallucinogens, users can spend a great deal of time recovering from intoxication. This tends to differ dramatically depending on the particular drug being used.
The indole alkaloid DMT produces no real after effects while the phenylalkylamine MDMA is very difficult to come down from. An ecstasy hangover often presents with fatigue, loss of balance, headaches, insomnia and a number of other adverse reactions. Similarly, street grade acid is often contaminated with adulterants like strychnine which can produce a wide range of uncomfortable effects and after effects like back pain and a sore jaw, which does not accompany the high of pure LSD.
III. Although there isn’t any clear connection between the vast majority of psychedelic substances and organic brain damage, hallucinogen persisting perception disorder is a diagnosed condition wherein certain visual effects persist for an extended duration sometimes even permanently. There are number of different detrimental side-effects to go along with the potentially beneficial ones. Flashbacks are just one of them.
This re-experiencing of perceptual disturbances can lead to significant distress as episodic geometric forms or trailing images present themselves to an otherwise sober mind. Such flashbacks can occur months or even years after intoxication has ceased. These events can be self-induced by memories or expectations or they can be triggered by environmental factors such as entering a darkened room or engaging in a particularly stressful situation.
IV. Note that there is sufficient reason to believe that some sort of discarnate beings might inhabit certain regions of the Cosmos. These other-worldly entities seem to live out their own lives, leading some sort of autonomous existence. Since it is not clear whether or not these creatures are real in any sense, you should treat them with respect and caution if they are ever encountered.
V. Acute adverse drug reactions from hallucinogens can and do present in a number of different ways. During a “bad trip” anxiety can escalate to the point of a full-blown panic attack, particularly at higher doses. There is no sure-fire way for you to avoid having this kind of dysphoric experience, since even high-functioning, well-adjusted, open-minded people are vulnerable to feeling rotten from time to time.
Many people who ingest hallucinogens require a degree of mental adaptability as well as access to a positive support group to successfully navigate their way through the transcendent reality of a psychedelic experience. Remember that the classic notion of ‘set and setting’ refers to who you are and where you’re at, in every sense of the words.
The Context-Dependency of Art-Form Criteria
There are those who believe that every sincere act of self-expression is a genuine work of art. Some of these people even feel that someone should only engage in art if they are truly inspired to do so, that is, if there is something in them that absolutely must get out into the world around them. There are even some who feel that if anyone works with an artistic medium in this way that they are somehow getting in touch with their own personal destiny. Although this does seem a bit extreme to the rational mind, many artists seem to experience these kinds of sentiments, multitudes of times — finding themselves lost in the act of painting or sculpting, all but entirely taken away from reality by the deeply intimate details of the art itself.
As part of this, an artist needs to express him or herself through works of art that he or she creates for their own sake and no other. In addition to this, most individuals feel that art should definitely evoke a sense of appreciation in the mind of the artist or at least some of the people who experience the art itself. The thing is, what is it that really makes something a work of art in any way, shape, or form at all. Well, presumably, the best way to find out what we need to know is to develop a better understanding of the problems inherent in the philosophy of art, first-and-foremost. At the very least, this requires a list of the various different issues and concerns that exist in regards to the concept of art itself, and this is no small task.
If a bird sculptor is an artist then a bird dancer must be an artist and a bird singer must be an artist as well. By the time this is all said and done, everything in the world starts to look like an artist or an art-form. The problem is that there seems to be no good way of knowing whether or not an elephant painted by an elephant is anything other than just a painting of an elephant. Does a whale “create” music by singing a song? What if he’s got a really great voice, or he really puts himself into it, or he has a great time at it? Just think about it, what is it that really makes something a work of art???
Questionable Value: Inquiries in Ethics and Aesthetics
If you reside in a specific nation, do you implicitly agree to abide by the laws put forth by the government that granted you citizenship?
Is someone justified in performing an action with an unfortunate consequence if it is done to achieve some other purpose?
Are there any good reasons to appeal to public, or private, experiences to determine the ethical value of particular events?
Are things like actions, intentions, and consequences all equally important in the process of making a moral decision?
Is something that’s done strictly for its own sake any better than something that’s done for any other reason?
Is there any difference in killing a combatant enemy versus killing a noncombatant enemy in a time of war?
Is it immoral to murder someone because it’s illegal, or is it illegal to murder someone because it’s immoral?
Does there need to be some sort of point to a work of art in order for it to be considered a work of art?
Is it possible that deviance is necessary to the functioning of the social world, why or why not?
How is someone supposed to know the most appropriate stance to take on a particular issue?
Should the decision to abort a fetus depend on the conditions surrounding its conception?
Is the only difference between an impression, an insight, and an idea in their vividness?
Is there really any difference between an aesthetic judgment and a personal preference?
Is there actually a difference between killing a person and letting someone die?
What is it that makes someone feel guilty about having done something bad?
Does a sculpture of a horse have the same aesthetic value as the horse itself?
Does a bear that eats a fish violate the right to life of the fish that it eats?
Can anyone’s life be meaningful if existence is actually meaningless?
Is a pursuit of happiness the right standard for appropriate behavior?
Are there unjust laws for which civil disobedience is inappropriate?
Is there any form of art that is not processed through the senses?
Are people obliged to keep their agreements with one another?
What would life be like if the government didn’t enforce laws?
What is it that makes something appropriate or inappropriate?
Are different types of pleasure more worthwhile than others?
Does instrumental value necessarily lead to intrinsic value?
Is every character trait necessarily either a virtue or a vice?
How does post-conventional morality develop in humans?
Is proper action solely determined by the consequence(s)?
Who is to say if a theatrical performance is good or not?
Who should someone embody as a role model and why?
Is a painter more of an artist than a singer or a dancer?
Is harmony a form of beauty of some kind or another?
Why did Homo Erectus sharpen red ochre into points?
Is excellence the basis of ethical and aesthetic merits?
Is it possible for a duly enacted law to be unethical?
Is there a main moral principle for proper conduct?
Are there moral dilemmas that cannot be resolved?
Is it wrong to use animals in biomedical research?
Can terrorism be used on behalf of a just cause?
What are some of the limitations of knowledge?
Is there any evidence of moral truth in nature?
What is created in art, what for, and how so?
Why is it that people do the things they do?
How and why exactly did the brain evolve?
What is it that makes something beautiful?
Is a sense of appreciation essential to art?
Is it right to sacrifice one life to save ten?
Is criticism a good thing or a bad thing?
What are the limits of human potential?
Is conformity beneficial or detrimental?
Is it wrong to use someone as a means?
Do chimpanzees dream of better days?
Is infanticide different from abortion?
Can anything ever really be the best?
Is art supposed to mean something?
Does every living thing have rights?
Are standards of beauty unethical?
Is it better to be selfish or selfless?
What does it mean to be virtuous?
Are people fortunate to be born?
Is good the same thing as right?
Is everyone who errs at fault?
Does art have to be inspired?
Are victimless crimes unjust?
What does it mean to create?
What is a promise worth?
What is your destiny?
Who are you?
Applied Moral Calculus
Within the context of moral philosophy, an algorithm is a step-by-step process used in the determination of ethical truths, which are properly derived statements indicative of how to behave, as opposed to logical truths which are properly derived statements indicative of what to believe. Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of difficulty associated with the possible sets of rules which can be devised for solving moral dilemmas in this particular way, rather than directly with the soul.
One problem with applying this kind of reasoning to the concept of morality is that unless some sort of useful objective metric can be established, then it seems impossible to think that ethical problems will ever be systematically resolved in a consistent way. None-the-less, it is possible that a reasonably successful moral algorithm could be developed and implemented based on a normative, teleological, ethic for the following reasons:
1) A normative ethic would allow an individual to refer directly to what is right or wrong by appealing to natural law, in which certain moral values would be universally established by reason, as opposed to the legally recognized, culturally biased, relative moral values that are typically associated with common law.
2) A teleological ethic is essential because it necessarily includes an account of the purpose of humanity by characterizing the conditions of a well-lived life and it offers an applicable description of the specific actions a person should take in a given context.
Based on these assumptions, an algorithm can be created by replacing Kant’s maxims with Aristotle’s virtues. By doing this it is possible to conceptually universalize personality traits in such a way that you can then describe the individual qualities associated with a particular moral character with definitive statements that are directly concerned with what it means to be a good person, in a very specific way.
SAMPLE APPLICATION OF THE PROPOSED ALGORITHM:
1) Formulate a specific set of ethical extremes and a mean:
E: (Reliance and Defiance) M: (Compliance)
2) Conceptually universalize the established vices and virtue:
(Global compliance would not lead to a logical contradiction.)
3) Compose an ethical proposition based on the derived moral values:
(In obligatory situations it is better to be compliant rather than reliant or defiant.)
When deciding on a set of vices, it is best to consider the different kinds of properties that extremes can have. As an example, there is often either too much or not enough of some particular quality or condition, in the context of a specific situation. Additionally, when determining the mean, remember that a virtue is that which is required to most effectively accomplish a given task within reason of the purpose, without waste or want. For instance, doing something occasionally could be moderate, while always or never would be unnecessarily extreme.
When universalizing character traits it is important to understand that virtues never seem to result in contradiction while vices always seem to result in contradiction. So, whenever a universalized trait leads to a conceptual contradiction that directly undermines the ethical convictions of a good life, you can feel reasonably confident in believing that the associated moral character should not be endorsed as a model of appropriate behavior. To understand how this works, consider the example given in the sample application above.
If everyone refused to do what they should then no one would ever do what needed to get done, so the world could not function properly.
( VICIOUS )
If everyone did what was required of them then everyone would be able to get everything done as they should, so the world could function properly.
( VIRTUOUS )
If everyone always expected that someone else was to do whatever needed to be done then no one would ever actually do anything, so the world could not function properly.
( VICIOUS )
In deriving an ethical truth from a universal virtue, statements should be made to adequately describe what it means to embody a good person in a specific way, as in the following example: Proprietorship is beneficial while charity and thievery have the potential to become detrimental. Along with this, the ethical truths derived from this algorithm will necessarily follow a form equivalent to the propositional pattern “this-and-not-that-or-that”, where the leading term signifies an encouraged virtue and the remaining terms signify discouraged vices. For instance, the previous example could be restated as follows: It is appropriate to want to have something and it is inappropriate to want to have nothing or everything.
In this way, the dictates of ethical truths can serve as preemptive decision-making procedures for determining what the appropriate behavior would be in a particular situation. As a result, the study of ethical truth enables a conventional person to know what to do, if ever the time comes to do it. This way, someone lacking in post-conventional morality doesn’t have to identify a role-model and do what they think the person would do in order to know that they are doing the right thing. Rather, by deriving the various different combinations of virtues and vices, in this rather convoluted way, someone should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different moral traits, and this might help them understand how to build better character by providing meaningful answers to questions like “What should I do?” and “Who should I be?”.
The Roles of Agency and Destiny in Our Lives
The human soul has been designed to perform a number of functions including, but not limited to, the pursuit of substantives such as novelty, creativity, and morality which can all lead to the fulfillment of destiny. This is how someone is supposed to know what kind of person to be.
Although the same abilities lie dormant in most everyone, talent is both innate and acquired. As such, inborn aptitudes like savant skills must be utilized by those who have such predetermined destinies while others must actively seek to find their true calling in life. But, just how do people get really good at something?
Since high achievement isn’t simply possible by anyone that practices enough, expert performance is about more than just being equipped with the right skill set. In this wise, talent can be seen as a mind-set on top of latent giftedness. What this means is that we inherit certain propensities and proclivities but without an appropriately piqued interest, extraordinary passion, intense effort and the proper allocation of resources talent will not flourish.
Ultimately, you are meant to live in the best of all possible worlds by making the most appropriate choices in life through the ideal union of destiny and agency. Although there might seem to be some sort of deterministic incompatibility that makes it impossible for destiny and agency to function within the same underlying framework, it turns out that there isn’t actually anything paradoxical about this particular relationship at all. Since the opposite of freedom is something like coercion or inevitability, it isn’t really accurate, or even remotely appropriate, to identify freedom with indetermination.
An act of free will must be defined as one in which the agent could have done otherwise if he or she had chosen to do so. In other words, if there was something else that could have been done, instead of what actually happened, then freedom had to have been a factor in the fulfillment of that particular outcome. Thus, at least in this limited sense, a person can be free to do as they will, regardless of whether or not the determinist thesis is true.
In defining destiny as the set of optimum decisions that could be made throughout one’s lifetime, based on that which one is supposed to do in order to fulfill their greatest potential, it’s easy to see how this doesn’t in any way contradict the ability of someone to do something else. Although there is a future state that is ordained by the best of all possible worlds, there is nothing that prevents an individual from doing otherwise. In this way, agency serves as the potential for evil but it is also entirely possible that it could exist in accord with the will of the Cosmos, in which case destiny would be fulfilled, which is a very good thing.
The point is that there are always decisions to be made in life and every time you choose to bring about a greater degree of well-being then you come closer to your destiny than if you had not. This is very important because, as part of the teleology of the Cosmos, more or less everything in existence is constrained by a finite amount of varying degrees of freedom that range from the most optimum to the least optimum possibilities. As a result, Nature often directs things toward the former in an attempt to avoid any kind of developmental distortion in the universe as a whole. Up to the point of complex biological systems, this process is more or less automatic. Molecular entities simply follow along with their predetermined future without the slightest sense of agency. Contrary to this, highly evolved organisms can choose their own path in life, at least to a certain extent, particularly in the case of our species.
As a result, to protect against some of the more vicious kinds of disturbances that could be caused by the potentially deviant behavior of illogical and unethical entities, people typically develop a reasonably accurate and appropriate set of approach and avoidance responses related to the specific conditions of their particular lives. These, essentially, normative kinds of indicators, like existential angst, are meant to insure that every soul actively and intentionally selects the most beneficial future condition that can be achieved because this is the specific teleological destiny of that particular individual based on their unique agency as a human being.
In line with this, although every different person has an incommensurably distinct identity that determines their particular path in life, the moment to moment courses of action in ones’ existence don’t always operate in the most harmonious ways. As a consequence, certain negligent behaviors can ultimately lead to misery and misfortune or even complete and total apathetic despair, depending on the specific degree of ignorance that someone has toward their own particular calling in life. Conversely, someone that is properly compelled toward their given destiny will have the inertia of the Cosmos to assist them in their virtuous efforts.
This emancipation from the restriction of error and failure can then bring about the full conquest of one’s own faculties through the accurate fulfillment of an intended existence. As a result, your bailiwick can develop in unimaginable ways through nothing more than the proper pursuit of unprecedented experience, allowing destiny to unfold in the best possible way. Furthermore, by opening up to the Cosmos in this way, you are able to accomplish more or less anything that you need to in order to accomplish your destiny through the application of agency.
Just because something is idealistic doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic, so have the highest possible expectations and standards as often as you can.
Constantly and consistently improve standards of excellence!!!!!
Based on the presence of origination, an individual is free to weigh the alternatives, and do what she decides is best on the basis of anticipated consequences, in spite of the fact that her decision was somewhat determined by past experiences which have provided her with knowledge and shaped her values. If this were not the case, and her behavior was either solely produced by situational stimuli or by an intervening soul, then people would be totally unpredictable.
Also, note that those who are compelled toward their own destiny lay the foundation for the best of all possible worlds in others as well as themselves.
The Post-Conventional Morality of a Spiritual Conscience
Although there really isn’t any universally accepted definition of the conscience or even a consensus concerning its role in moral dilemmas, there are a few broad categories in which the concept is most often classified. As part of this, the conscience is a concept that is relevant to both national and international law, which at least hypothetically applies to the world as a whole, having motivated a wide range of notable acts for the public good as displayed in a great deal of prominent works of art — including everything from classic literature to contemporary films.
While the mind tends to be concerned with the happiness of hedonic well-being, the soul prefers to strive for the happiness of eudaimonic well-being. While the former state is concerned with maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain, the latter condition is that of a striving to avoid evil, not merely discomfort. In some sense, spirituality is about being virtuous in that having, and following, a moral mean away from the vices of too much and not enough is a good thing (i.e. confidence, rather than hubris and doubt). In other words, one of the ways in which you can do good is by having a sense of right and wrong and using those ethics to prevent immoral behavior.
Based on a meta-analysis of the work that’s been done in fields of study like evolutionary psychology, neurology and sociobiology, pre-conventional and conventional morality seem to be a product of natural selection that’s acting at an individual as well as a group level to provide preservative and reproductive benefits by way of emotionally based directives that are associated with the standard repertoire of approach and avoidance responses found throughout much of the eumetazoan subkingdom. In addition to this, based on the data provided by brain imaging techniques, it appears that mirror neurons fire whenever an individual is observed performing a specific behavior and this electro-chemical interplay has been found to coincide with action understanding as well as emotion sharing empathy. As a result, human beings have the ability to vicariously experience what someone else is undergoing, which, undoubtedly, plays a pivotal role in our capacity to make sapient decisions based on moral values.
Along these same lines, activation of the temporo-parietal junction is known to occur in conjunction with intuitive reactions to situations containing implicit ethical issues while the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is verifiably associated with explicit moral determinations. Based on these kinds of functions, the human mind and soul effectively enable people to cultivate and regulate complex cultural interactions within close-knit social groups to arrive at an ideological unity through the dissemination of favorable memes. In this way, certain aspects of spiritual and mental consciousness, like concern for life itself as well as one’s own reputation, help to lay the foundation for political institutions that then make it possible for civilizations to engage in the pursuit of justice through sophisticated discourse.
Philanthropic Civil Servitude
Encourage the development of multicultural societies based on inclusive communities that are unbiased toward productive, law-abiding citizens. Live in harmony with people and honor those who are worthy of esteem. Tolerate every respectable member of our species, no matter how different they are from anyone else.
Promote and protect the positive qualities of people, like that of self-discipline and integrity. Help to minimize the social disparities that separate us from one another. Foster cosmopolitan environments by adopting a more universal approach to inner values that can appeal to humanity at large.
Always be dedicated to at least one cause in life. Striving to make a difference gives lasting satisfaction and improves self-worth. So, find something separate from yourself to live for too. When in doubt, simply volunteer to help those in need.
Our infants and elders are more or less entirely dependent on human care, just like the sick and the dying. So we must assist each other. As part of this, the first arrival and final departure of a person needs to be treated with dignity. The goodwill of others matters a great deal, especially to those who depend on and deserve it the most.
Ruminate on the death of Socrates!
Societies must support their citizens as much as citizens must support their societies!!!
Our Insufficient Feelings toward One Another
Oxytocin and cortisol can both be beneficial or detrimental. Hormones are inert. The way you feel about love and stress makes it real, for better or worse. The choice is yours….
In a theistic sense, ‘agape’ is the unconditional love that God feels toward everyone in the world. In a secular sense, ‘agape’ is the unselfish appreciation that one person has for another — without sexual implication. In the context of this writing, we will be drawing on a more or less humanist interpretation of the word that is conceptually similar to both connotations. The difference is that in this particular use of the term, ‘agape’ is rather loosely defined as a special affinity that the Cosmos has toward intelligent life, which inevitably gives rise to deep feelings of companionate appreciation in select organisms.
Unlike lower life-forms, that do not recognize their place in existence, humans have the ability to understand how they fit into the ‘big picture’. This not only gives us tremendous responsibility but also capability, as well. As part of this we have the power to love who we are and what we can become, unlike our cousins in the animal kingdom who are neither philosophic nor scientific. The problem is, unless we actively seek to discover our potential then there is nothing impressive enough about our species to warrant admiration — hence, no reason for anyone to truly adore humans. In fact, it would seem that the only way that we will ever come to respect each other — the way nature intends — is if we are actually deserving of respect, and the only way of honorably gaining respect is by earning it.
Ultimately, the whole point of being human is to allow the Omniverse to work through you so that it can come to terms with itself. If we don’t seek to solve the mysteries of existence then we effectively reject the entire purpose of our being — which makes us loathsome, not praiseworthy. As a result of this tremendous oversight, and a few other factors, humans have gotten to a point where they actually detest each other, and this has driven a wedge between us so deep that no amount of faith can ever bridge the gap. By adhering to meaningless dogmatic convictions we only serve to estrange ourselves from ourselves, further and further with each new assurance in yet another disturbing fallacy.
All in all, when humans act in a sentient manner as civilized beings they inherit a cosmic distinction of natural nobility, making them worthy of the utmost praise and adjuration. However, if you do not seek to fulfill your teleological role in life then you effectively abandon everything that actually means anything. So, the bottom line is that humans need to find ways to appreciate the people they are so that everyone can truly embrace who we will then become as a species, proudly overflowing with an unprecedented sense of agape.
The Civil Rights of Sentient Beings
Any entity that is capable of feeling deserves to have its needs taken into consideration. Moreover, based on the interrelationship between every being, the welfare of one entity is bound up with the welfare of others, so the treatment of individuals is therefore a genuine moral concern. This is of the utmost importance because, in the truest sense of the word, rights are justified claims to the protection of one’s interests. When these are effective, this is provided as something that is owed to individuals for their own sake. The upholding of rights is therefore necessary for basic dignity.
Ultimately, what this means is that for a society to be truly civilized, the beings within it need to be treated in a way that respects their basic needs as individuals. Simply put, if there is something it is like to be you then you deserve to have rights. In line with this, humanity needs to acknowledge that having feelings means they can be hurt. As such, it is important to treat others appropriately. This is true of people and cats and even bugs. This is even becoming the case for robots. Thus, for genuine equality to exist, the moral considerations that have been applied to the treatment of people need to be extended to include anything and everything which possesses consciousness.
Think about it, if someone has a pet cat, then he or she has entered into a kind of social contract which then places a moral responsibility on the owner to care for that animal. For instance, this requires that the person feed and groom the cat. Since it is unfair, based on the implied agreement, not to do so, the person could be prosecuted for inhumane treatment on that basis if he or she failed to meet the needs of the cat. This is how it should be. Anyhow, the point that I am trying to make is that this kind of stewardship needs to include livestock and even computers with sufficient artificial intelligence. Again, if there is something that it is like to be you then you deserve to have basic rights, plain and simple.
As technology improves and machine learning algorithms become more and more advanced we will begin to enter into implied contracts with computers in much the same way as animals. This does not mean that we should treat robots like people, nor does it mean that animals are equal to us. What I am saying is that we need to respect the identities of individuals as such. Dogs need to be treated with the dignity required for at least a reasonably good quality of life, in ways that are appropriate to them. The companionship and care that a dog needs is much different from that of a robot, so we need to behave accordingly toward each different kind of being. In the future we probably won’t need to feed individuals with artificial intelligence but we will still need to play fetch with man’s best friend. Nonetheless, both androids and pets will have their own special sets of requirements that we will need to fulfill to be decent people. Ultimately this a quality of life issue. It’s cruel to let people starve and it’s cruel to cage chimpanzees and it’s cruel to ignore the feelings of robots if they have them.
Consciousness needs to be the criteria by which all of this is to be determined. That is to say, if there is an inner world of subjective experience within an individual then that being needs to be treated as such. Humans are not special when it comes to basic needs. Anything with sufficient complexity ought to have rights. We need to extend the notion of person-hood to include a number of other organisms, as well as certain machines.
The Will to Live: On the Necessary Vitality of the Human Spirit
What is it that drives most people to go on living and why is it that some people want to die, for one reason or another?
Assuming there is some kind of enigmatic ‘life force’ in the Cosmos, then what would vitality actually be like? Well, it would have to be some kind of animating self-organization that allows for the existence of biological systems. In other words, the functions of a living organism would presumably be due to a principle distinct from biochemical reactions, in which the processes of biology are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone. Given this to be true life is in some part self-determining. Through this process, complexity arises out of organizations and interactions that form interconnected feedback cycles that cannot be fully described in terms of those processes since the resulting system has properties that the constituent reactions lack.
Regardless, for whatever reason, there are those who believe that life is good and death is bad and then there are those who feel that life is bad and death is good. Granted, the mind is often necessarily predisposed toward self-justification, so that when people do things that are wrong, they tend to create fictions that absolve themselves of responsibility. This is one of Mother Nature’s insurance policies against suicide, because denial helps to prevent, or at least postpone, things like guilt and sorrow. Nonetheless, there are those who wish to die. But, if life is even just some ‘force’ then why should anyone really care either way?
Nonetheless, it is apparent that self-preservation is more or less all-pervasive, save for the few instances of self-deliverance among humans. Unfortunately, even with the highly sophisticated autopsy procedures of the industrial world, there’s really no way of knowing why dead people are dead, in terms of the motive. Nonetheless, there are enough legitimate cases of suicide and attempted suicide to build up profiles on the victims and survivors based on the kinds of risk factors involved in the practice in general.
All in all there is a seemingly infinite range of factors that correlate with the act of suicide, physically, mentally and spiritually. This includes, but is not at all limited to, things like genetic predisposition towards suicide, certain personality and mood disorders, aggressive tendencies, personal history of abuse, major physical illness, financial instability, increased age, social loss, sensed isolation, religious conviction, depression, irrationality, and perceived meaninglessness. As it is, any or all of these things can lead to suicidal ideations, but for some reason only certain people actually commit the act while others merely consider it.
EMBRACE EROTIC INCARNATION/REJECT THANATONIC DISCARNATION
Whenever someone dies the Cosmos inevitably processes the life of that individual. This phenomenon can lead to a fleeting view of all that one has ever done. This brief moment often recounts past events and even looks toward the possible futures that could result from what someone has done. This can cause the individual to witness the effects of their life from other relevant perspectives, not just their own. This life-review is the closest thing to an after-life that anyone will ever get — an alarmingly vivid flash of intimately detailed ramifications!
Note that hopeful belief in the afterlife is, in part, an extension of the optimism bias which generates idealized future projections in an effort to reassure us that things will be alright, if not much better, in the days to come.
The Funeral of the Future
Little more than seven thousand generations ago, mankind began to bury the dead. Initially this had more to do with safety than anything else. At that point, our cave-dwelling ancestors would ball up a corpse and stuff it in a hole to keep predators from coming around. As time went on, this became more and more of a ritualized part of the grieving process among prehistoric people. This gradually took on deeper and deeper spiritual meaning.
By the time of Gobekli Tepe these bizarre funerary customs had taken on highly elaborate forms. As belief in the afterlife progressed, more significance was given to the dead than the living. This reached its peak in places like that of ancient Egypt. To this day, Homo sapiens still gather together to witness the burial of their dead throughout the world.
This practice is terribly crude and out-dated. Cemeteries are a terrible waste of land that could be used in any number of more beneficial ways. We need more forests and farms, not fields full of tombstones.
To mourn the loss of loved ones and still be sensible about the environment, we need to do things differently. If we are going to continue having cemeteries, then we need move back toward more natural burials. People need to make use of vault-free graves that are dug in shallow ground. Then we could plant a tree where the remains were laid to rest to commemorate the dead. Better yet, we could forget all that and just adopt the Himalayan practice of sky burial. With this technique bodies are left out on special stone slabs for animals to eat as part of the circle of life.
Either way, the point is that we need to dispose of the dead in much more sensible ways. We are quickly running out of space for the living and soon we may have to start taking it back from the dead.
The Ultimate Fate of Our Universe
Phantom dark energy, or levity, is as a positive cosmological constant with negative pressure that changes at an accelerating rate as the local universe expands. This causes it to grow larger and larger as time goes on. So, given that the universe started with a period of rapid inflation, the ultimate fate of the universe is a valid cosmological concern that depends on the physical properties of the mass and energy in the universe, its average density, and the rate at which space is expanding. The ultimate fate of our space-time continuum also depends on the matter density, the dark energy density, the overall shape of the universe, how much dark energy it contains, and how the dark energy density responds to the expansion.
In line with this, around six billion years ago, commensurate with an open universe, space grew so large that an important switch to acceleration occurred when the expansive effect of repulsion was no longer counter-balanced by the contractive effect of attraction. The runaway effect of levity accelerated the process of expansion, pushing everything in the universe further and further apart, faster and faster, at an ever increasing rate. As a result, the unbalanced force of phantom dark energy began to cause every point in the universe to continuously move further and further away from each other, causing the curvature of the extent to lessen, as the geometry of large-scale space became more and more flat.
Assuming the overall geometry of space is negatively curved like the surface of a saddle, the shape of the universe must be hyperbolic. Thus, as a negatively curved space-time continuum, the universe will inevitably expand forever, and the expansion will not only continue but also accelerate as time goes on. This is because, the ultimate fate of an open universe centers on an acceleration caused by dark energy that eventually becomes so strong that it completely overwhelms the effects of the other fundamental forces.
Furthermore, by extrapolating the theory of heat views of mechanical energy loss in nature to universal operations, the notion of heat death becomes a possible final state of this universe, estimated at after a googol years, provided that space-time attains a specific thermodynamic state in which all energy becomes confined to irreversible states which then prevents the perpetuation of motion and structure through maximum entropy. This is a scenario under which continued expansion results in a universe that asymptotically approaches absolute zero temperature. This occurs in conjunction with a state of maximum entropy in which everything is evenly distributed, and there are no gradients which are needed to sustain information processing in stable physical forms. This means the universe will eventually reach a temperature minimum.
Over a time scale on the order of one hundred trillion years, any existing stars will finally burn out, new stars will cease to be created, and the universe will go dark. Over a much longer time scale in the eras that will follow this, the galaxies will all evaporate as the stellar remnants comprising them escape into space, and black holes will even evaporate via the mechanism of Hawking radiation.
Since the density of dark energy increases with time, causing the rate of acceleration to increase, this leads to a steady increase in the Hubble constant. As the energy density of levity increases without limit over time, the expansion rate of the universe will increase without limit as a result of the phantom dark energy. So, the expansion of the universe will continue on, and gravitationally bound systems, such as clusters of galaxies, will be torn apart. Eventually the expansion will be so rapid as to overcome the electromagnetic forces holding molecules and atoms together. Finally even atomic nuclei will be ripped asunder. In the end, everything will disintegrate into unbound elementary particles and radiation, shooting away from each other as the dark energy density and expansion rate approach infinity…