Archive for March, 2011
Nothing is ever truly created or destroyed because the amount of matter~energy in the universe is constant.
We may breathe in but we must also always breathe out as well.
We take in only what the universe allows us to take in, and then the universe makes us give it back, in some way.
There is always balance, even when there seems to be imbalance. Any imbalance we might perceive exists only in a moment in time and space, not in all of reality. All of reality is always perfect and balanced.
In other words you cannot possibly take more than you give in life! You will always, in the end, give exactly as much as you take, and any “debts” you amass will always be paid when you are finally done.
As a living being, the only way you can possibly give more than you take is in a philosophical sense. You can offer up new, unique, combinations of energy and/or matter that have never existed before, either by (pro)creating genetically, artistically (emotionally), memetically (intellectually), or xemetically (ideologically).
Many folks are familiar with the Marxian ideology of
From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.
The meaning behind this simple approach is one of permaculture — the inherent flow of matter and energy of unique inputs and outputs of individuals based on their nature~design. Individuals naturally want to take what resources they need for healthy growth from what is available in their environment, and they naturally want to give away the resources that they have in excess.
The key to making this ideology work well, and which hasn’t always been remembered, is that it’s the individual themselves who decides what they offer and what they need, not some authoritarian government, teacher, parent, or any other external entity. Obviously an external entity of any kind, no matter how clever they are, can’t possibly have anywhere near enough depth and clarity of data to make that kind of decision for another individual when compared to the individual themselves. In other words my body knows more about itself than any other body knows about me. So, except for very rare occasions when another happens to have some crucial information that I don’t, my body is always the best authority on what I need from the world and what I should offer the world.
Once we have this intention of respecting the authority of the individual’s governance of themselves as top priority, then we can follow this ideology of letting each individual offer resources to the world according to their abilities, and take the resources from the world according to their needs, and have the most naturally productive, healthy, and joyful results just like we see in areas of wilderness all over the Earth, where everyone is very much free to be themselves, and things stay far more in balance, with the overall beauty and inspiration that only truly liberated beings create.
Compassion literally means “passion with”, as in sharing the same strong emotions along side another individual (human or otherwise). It’s an emotional connection with another, where you actually feel what it’s like to be them, what it’s like to be in their shoes, as they say – to experience the world from their perspective. It’s empathy. For a moment, at least, you and they are one in the same – a shared heart – feeling the sadness, fear, joy, anger, and/or confusion they are feeling.
Compassion often gets confused with an intellectual connection, where one “knows” what it might be like to be in another person’s position. This isn’t really compassion. It is, perhaps, better called respect and sympathy, where you are only indirectly connected to another, and where you don’t literally share their feelings, but have different feelings towards them, such as pity, kindness, or curiosity.
Compassion is what you feel when your spouse is angry about something and so you feel angry about it as well, and you’re motivated to do something to change the world to help your partner out. Compassion isn’t what you felt about people in Japan, Haiti, Libya, or New Orleans after hearing about the disasters going on there, that’s sympathy or respect for them as living things.
Putting compassion into the four main forms of awareness within the human brain, we get:
Passion – positive physical sensations are the result of being aware of conditions that affect one’s own body.
Compassion – positive emotional sensations are the result of being aware of conditions that affect one’s closest companions (generally a family member and/or a romantic partner).
Respect – positive intellectual sensations are the result of being aware of conditions that affect one’s community at large (which expands from one’s “tribe” out to one’s whole world as one matures).
Loving-kindness – positive spiritual sensations are the result of being aware of conditions that affect all living things, everywhere.
The strength of these sensations diminishes as we move away from the individual’s self. So Loving-kindness is far less intense than compassion, though all of these positive sensations are clearly powerful, and very important. And the way we become aware of our shared connection to others is by exploring how we are like them. The more we are like them, the more intimate we will become with them, and the more intensely we will share their feelings on an emotional level. When we are physically very similar to another, both inside and out, in time and space, we are more likely to have that deep emotional compassion for them. But even with those who are physically very different from us we can have respect and loving-kindness for them, because on a basic level of being alive and in our universe, they are like us in at least some important ways.
I propose that the basic idea of intelligence, and “higher level brain functioning” that we think of with various animal species, as well as within individuals, all comes down to the level of ability to assess things from multiple perspectives.
1st person perspective is the ability to assess the inputs and outputs of one’s own self. This is ego-centric thinking
2nd person perspective is the ability to assess the inputs and outputs of another individual perspective. This “other” can be any animal, vegetable, mineral, or other generally unique set of elements, including one’s own imagination/memory of oneself in the past or future. This is ethno-centric thinking.
3rd person perspective is the ability to assess the inputs and outputs of a second individual as seen from a third individual. This is world-centric thinking.
4th person perspective is, as you can probably figure out, the ability to assess the inputs and outputs of a second individual as seen from a third individual, as seen from a fourth individual. (Most humans either aren’t at this stage of brain development yet, or are only just beginning to be able to get to that point.) This is universe-centric thinking.
You can see a visual representation of this process at my Relationship Growth Patterns diagram.
This is why the older we get, the more “mature” we tend to become, as the brain develops the ability to see things from other people’s shoes more easily. For example, young folks might only be able to see that laws against abortion affect their own body or they can only see that the laws affect the body of their progeny. But when these young people get older and gain more intelligent, mature, world-centric brains, they can begin to see that both of these perspectives are true, and equally valuable, at the same time. They begin to understand that men and women not only want to protect the children that have been created, but also that women want to protect their own bodies from being forced to carry a child they don’t want.
Of course, the ability to effectively act on these higher levels of awareness exists less than half of the time for most humans. Which is why society hasn’t figured out a perfect way to take good care of everyone’s inputs and outputs just yet, as much as we living things are all working towards that goal, as the core element of evolution.
Also check out my earlier post on the dimensions of consciousness.
We know from scientific research on human societies that the more equal a society is, the more it thrives with creative productivity and health.
But what does it mean for a society to have more equality?
And what about the growth process which we talk about here that I call a hierarchy?
How do these two elements of equality and hierarchy work together to improve the lives of everyone simultaneously?
It comes down to the duality of the universe being both a whole and made up of unique parts. Ever since the beginning of our universe, the whole of our reality has been separated into a varity of unique parts that we call individuals. Each individual (be it a quark, molecule, cell, organism, species, society, planet, sun, galaxy, etc.) has it’s own internal hierarchy of growth which starts at the bottom with it’s initial creation, and includes, at the very center of the top, an ideal. That ideal defines the absolutele best potential form and function that that individual can possibly achieve, given it’s basic structure (chemistry/biology/physics) combined with all the best circumstances and resources that the universe can possibly provide them. This peak ideal is the individual’s natural direction of motivation, which it consistently works towards. Where one is in one’s own hierarchy is simply whatever location one is at compared to the two end points of one’s beginning and one’s potential peak ideal.
Of course, since the universe, and human society, isn’t anywhere near it’s ideal right now (at the time of this blog post) none of us individuals are in a situation where we have the best circumstances and resources. So not only will us individual waver in our progress towards our peak selves, but we will also have to compromise regularly, and accept extremely non-ideal (partly harmful) circumstances and resources just to ensure our survival.
In other words, we all take a lot of crap just to keep going, which makes it even harder for us to become our best.
And this is where equality comes in. When we approach everyone with the awareness that they have such a potential peak form and function, and that their best selves are far, far, far better than where they are right now, given all the crap that they’ve been forced to take in just to survive up to now, then we can see how everyone is the same as us. We are all the same in needing better quality stuff for us to become our greatest possible selves. This is our equality.
Since all individuals in the universe are currently imperfect then we are all equal in needing better circumstances and resources for us to grow into more ideal individuals.
And just like in individual organisms such as us animals, part of the ideal for our planet is for us humans to work together to help all of us Earthlings get higher quality circumstances and resources so that each of us parts of the whole can grow closer to our own peak form and function within our own unique hierarchies so that the whole planet can come closer to the most perfect Earth possible.
So you can see that hierarchy can be seen as an individual’s internal progress bar, and you can see equality as the awareness that for each individual to make the most progress they need the best the universe has to offer.