Saturday, May 27, 2017
--- Attributes: Different angles ---
Most people, I think, see their everyday world as an assemblage of things they can touch - matter. Matter is the things that you can use, eat, and the kind of thing that can hurt you. Humanity grew up attending to the matter around them to survive, create, or fear. Matter has been what most mattered.
So, our brains are hardwired to understand the world as matter.
I have recently watched a lecture series by The Teaching Company entitled "The Higgs Boson and Beyond" presented by the theoretical physicist Sean Carroll. It is a fascinating exploration of what goes on inside the atom and between the stars. I won't say that you will understand particle physics if you watch the series (I didn't); but I will say that you will be much more comfortable with the ideas that particle physicists bandy about.
Early on, Dr. Carroll made the startling statement that matter doesn't exist - it's all energy fields - at least, in the worldview of a modern theoretical physicist. I suspect that would be a disturbing concept to regular folks.
What is an energy field? Well, it's the values that properties of space take at different points. For instance, we used to think that gravity was how hard one object pulled on another object. Einstein said that that was wrong. Gravity is how space bends around massive objects, so that when objects (like a meteor) falls toward another object (like the earth) it is actually sliding down a slope in space. The gravity field, in that case, is the map of the values of curvature in space.
But, according to modern physicists, the reality of the universe isn't matter - it's energy fields. The reason we can't sense energy fields is that they are not the most proximal things that have affected our existence throughout our history. We can't directly perceive the basis of our existence (ayehhhhhhh!).
We have to trust our mathematics to tell us what energy fields are doing. Don't go grab your algebra textbook. You need much more advanced mathematics.
If you've seen my StatFiles on the Timeline or DANSYS, you know that I'm a statistician (at least at the amateur level). Statisticians look at the world through the lens of probability. Actually, modern physicists can use the same spectacles. Ever since the advent of quantum physics, scientists have realized that there is a big dose of uncertainty in reality and it is often more advantageous to say "I don't know where it is exactly, but I know the probability that it's somewhere between here and there."
Again, probability fields are not things that people see directly, but they're there.
Religious people have another way of "seeing" the world. They understand that the world is a world of spirit, some subtle, imperceptible, maybe ineffable substance that pervades the world. I can, perhaps, speak to that from a nonreligious direction, "perhaps" because it is based on a personal experience, not on academic knowledge.
In a sociology class at Auburn University, the instructor made the statement that humans cannot even think of concept like "power", "love", "goodness" - abstract concepts - without the mediation of words. I had noticed that before a word happened in my mind, that there was something that happened just before, so I brought that up to the instructor. Knowing that this professor was unlikely to back down on any of her opinions on the subject of sociology, I was taken aback when she said, "You may be right."
So, I've played around with the concept most of my adult life and I've developed the knack of catching what happens "just before".
My shamanic skills have grown through my adult life and especially when I started associating with other Weres and, being of a scientific bent, I always suspected that the "shamanic realm" was not accurately what could be called "the spirit realm".
I started looking for the "just before" that happened just before something happened during a "spirit quest" and, to my great disorientation, everything went away, but there was something else, and this is where my discourse has to stop because my brain can't fashion a description of it.
I will say two things about it. Since my brain cannot grasp what happened, I am convinced that it could not have been my imagination, because imagination happens in the brain. Further, I think that this is the reality of spirit. The best I can come up with, spirit is the template that underlies what we see as reality.
Many religious people make the assumption (and it is an assumption since I can find no support in any of the sacred works of the world), that spirit is only in persons. In my experience, spirit is everywhere and at the base of everything - it's what the world is made of, or more accurately, what the world is made on.
What separates a shaman from others is that their brains have caught a scent of these other things that are "out there" - not only matter, but energy fields, probability fields, spirit - and their brains try to make the imperceptible perceivable. They have a virtual reality in their heads that allow them to work with "the other stuff".
Everything is matter.
Everything is energy fields.
Everything is probability fields.
Everything is spirit.
Matter, energy, probability, spirit are just different attributes of reality. Seeing the world from different orientations can make more sense in different situations. On the level of the mundane, everyday world, we can get more purchase on the world by seeing it as matter. The physicist has to shift to grasp energy and probability fields. The shaman works with spirit.
Our ecology is a web of power scintillating throughout the universe. We are part of that web, like spiders at the junction of strands. Each strand is a feed of information. Each spider is part of the web and the web is part of each spider.
Everything at the foundation, is information, an eternal flux of changing values.
To see the world in all it's complexity, that is the joy of diversity.