Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reality: Not the Same for Everybody

I was thinking, I should start with the idea that Reality is created. It didn't just happen. Perhaps it always has existed.  The Big Bang was 15 billion years ago. That's a long time but we regularly count things into the Trillions.  The US deficit is $20 Trillion. Twenty Trillion years is a pretty small part of the infinite Past.  We could have had thousands of sterile and uninteresting and unconscious Big Bangs producing nothing but heat, light, space, and hot rocks.  So there has just always been stuff and it re-combines forever.  This particular combination may therefore not be that memorable or important.  We like to think Reality is a Truth that includes us but a materialist could argue--it's just another day of Universal irrelevance.

So we could say that matter, in time, generates "consciousness".  But what if we said that consciousness creates time and matter?  Everything just is--eternally present and we experience in consciousness a small part of it. When I was young I could not picture being dead except as an eternal sleep so considered that "awakeness" was the only thing and I would necessarily be re-incarnated as some other consciousness when I died.  Kind of a Buddha idea, approaching Nirvana.  Kind of a Hindu idea--endless cycles.  In Western philosophy, Nietzsche and the eternal recurrence--a perhaps similar idea.  In short nothing is happening if something's not aware of it.  The tree falling in the forest problem of creating "sound".  If there were a spaceman on a hot rock in the 3rd re-iteration of the Big Bang forty trillion years ago then the rock would exist, but if there were no spaceman--sorry folks, the rock is not there.  It is an imaginary rock.

I have what I think is my real life but I have imaginary lives too.  I think about lives I could live and so in a sense, do.  I could activate them but I am apparently comfortable not doing so.  Now actually I have had interesting dreams in which I am still myself but in vastly different circumstances.  Upon awakening I realize I acted and thought similarly but was in a sense a different person.  I have had several dreams in which the character I seem to be in the dream re-joins experiences he has had in other dreams.  So I am in an apartment in Paris interacting with dream friends (upon awakening realize they are not people I actually know) and I leave and meet someone on the stairs going out who I only vaguely know.  Where do I know him?  Oh, I remember, I met him in another dream from several weeks, months, years ago when we were taking a sailing class together.  In a kind of generic place at the beach with a porch that looked kind of like the view from Wolf's Bay Restaurant in Orange Beach, ALA. that I recognized when I woke up.  My immediate sense upon waking was that the "dream me" continued on down the stairs in Paris and was continuing my "other" life until I rejoined it when I fell asleep again and re-connected--so to speak.

So you can't not be conscious.  It's an ur-condition.

Now here it might get a tiny bit weird.  I am me and having a pretty good time but when I don't wake up anymore(die) I become some other consciousness--maybe you, maybe your dreams.  I just "flow" elsewhere and experience something else, eternally.  There's not anything else.  There's just this.  Having only this we should make our lives better for all the people(consciousnesses) who will have to live it.  And what others suffer, so shall we.

Heaven.  Doesn't it feel like a ludicrous idea?  Everything you know and think about is incredibly small and unimportant in the grander scheme because there is actually another more important place--10x-100x more important and better than here where you will know why you had to put up with what happened to you here.  Here--our Reality--is a dream and we wake up to God.  I'm not saying it's impossible.  In fact it sounds nice but it tends to devalue and minimize our pathetic little lives.  Oh right, that's human sinfulness and I have just made the Christian case for acknowledging God's otherworldly greatness.  But do you need the Jesus Christ bridge or can you just do your best?

I have never really wanted to go to China because I had such a great trip there in a dream.  It has been my most luminous and intense dream.  I awoke at 6:00AM  and fell back asleep.  I then took a several week trip to China by boat--leaving from Birmingham.  I had been searching for my grandmother's house and arrived in a bad part of town that I had not been in before.  There was a dock, and a cruise ship, so I got on and we left for China.  I had a stateroom and explored the ship, playing in the casino-eating well, playing shuffleboard and standing at the bow like Titanic sniffing the sea.  It took several days to get to China by boat and then I toured Shangai, Beijing, and the Great Wall.  I looked over the terra cotta soldiers in an immense trench and toured a dental school where they showed how they trained students using older dental equipment.  I observed the pedo clinic with little Chinese children who were nervous about their dental appointments but they had a nice playroom for them where they were all watching Lion King.  The various departments were connected by outside stairs that you had to go out among the trees and I had to stay in a dorm room with bunk beds instead of a hotel. We took trains to our various tourist sites.  The tour directors spoke excellent English and I wondered whether I had taken a pill that made me hear proper English when they were in fact speaking Chinese.  Everyone was just too friendly.  I could not find my way back to the boat to come home so awoke with a start because it might have left me and I saw that it was 6:20AM and I felt I had been gone a very relaxing 10+ days.  There were a number of people in the dream I did not know in real life but felt as if I had met them sometime.  They seemed to be from other dreams.  Perhaps if I had been diligent about recording all I could remember about earlier dreams, I could make a connection but you have to realize that the immensity of detail I would have to write down after this dream would have been impossible.  It's like multiplying a 20 minute story into 2 weeks.  Could I have remembered upon waking what cards I took at blackjack or what foods I ate in the restaurant?  It was all intensely present and slowly dissolving as I remembered it.  Like any experience.

Listening to other people's dreams is usually boring.  Having electric dreams is NOT boring. My dreams are typically engaging and seem to be a normal reality for most of it and then there is usually a turn to something dark and foreboding that begins to wake me up. Perhaps, I am walking and I see a tiger far away hunting a gazelle but I realize the tiger could possibly see me, then he does see me!  I know I am easier to catch than a gazelle so the tiger begins to move toward me. I turn to run and I am slow like molasses.  Quick. Wake up. I have not experienced being eaten by a tiger... I hope there is nothing prophetic about these dreams.  I was hit one time by a wrecking ball exploring a house and know I got all the way to big thud and flying through the air but I merely startled awake.

So, is there a Creator? If you have to ask and don't know then you cannot be told.  Whose word would you take?  Could you have a vote among your friends?  What about a sample of random strangers--kind of like asking the audience in Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.  So I am telling you this, there is a Creator.  I imagine he wants all his "children" to be great human beings.  He wants his tigers to be good tigers and killer whales to be the best and mosquitoes to do what they do and he/she  is just very interested in what happens.  That's what gives everything meaning.  Without a Creator I think we have a meaning and destiny problem.  If we are responsible--not God, there is no justice.  If God exists but does not judge we are merely irrelevant thinking rocks populating the universe.  if God judges, there is another (higher) God reality.  Can you pick the kind of world you want to live in?  Yes.  That's the charm of being fallen creatures.  I may have said enough about God.

I have to show you Reality before you will do your part.  That's why I am talking all the time.  Talking, talking, talking--there's Reality right there pointing, writing, so if I shut up will you listen?
Reality is not the same for Everybody but oh how we struggle to make it so.....

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