I Love the World
It sounds simplistic, but it is essential. You can’t really learn anything if you set negative boundaries. Yes, there are countless terrible things done, all by humans, but in this place and this life we have endless possibility. When I read about hopelessness it seems a terrible thing, to be unable or unwilling to see the beauty of it.
I am a pragmatist. I do not believe in a deity. If anything, everything here is the body of a deity, including each and everyone of us, every rock, twig, scrap of plastic, creature, genius, saint, and criminal. There is no separate self.
I understand this is anathema to many who sincerely believe humans are the most important species, the only one of value, because we have a certain kind of consciousness. But that consciousness, which remains one the most elusive concepts to scientific inquiry, is probably just one definition of awareness.
We are observers and pattern recognition is ingrained in us, but that recognition is simply a description of reality that we have all agreed upon. Anyone who has their mind jolted by psychedelics or from deep meditation, knows that there is an indescribable reality out there, one without boundaries that is in a state of constant flux.
Our shared description of the world
Some believe our shared description of reality is an evolutionary protective mechanism, because the actual nature of reality might drive us crazy. Language was the tool that built this description we think of as so solid. With a shared language we could articulate a shared, agreed upon way of describing.
That tall green thing that waves in the wind is a tree. Without a limited description we might only perceive it as a part of the fabric around us. But when it coalesces into a tree and we, as a group, define it as that, it will always and forever be a tree, to humans.
Imagining a different perspective of reality
I once tried to tell a story from the perspective of a flock of tiny birds living in a hedgerow. I attempted to imagine an entire different perspective of reality but it was beyond me. Even if it had succeeded it would likely have been incomprehensible to readers.
This is why someone returning from a psychedelic journey struggles to tell about the experience. We do not have a language for that kind of experience. It is not simply a visual or audio kaleidoscope, it has all the variety of any reality but it uses our mind, perception and physical sensory tools (eyes, ears, touch, etc,) in wholly different ways.
Imagination a drone flying alongside a raptor, high over a landscape. The drone’s camera captures what we call a birds eye view but it is not anything like the bird’s experience. These birds are swimming in the air with full awareness of every wind shift, sound, and visual. Their eyesight works completely differently. And every other sense.
The bird also has a shared description of the world, both from evolutionary instinct and learning from its parents. We can study that description and try to imagine it but we cannot get inside it.
Many myths and stories have their protagonist go through transformation experiences where they enter the minds of other creatures. These stories are as ancient as mankind. Even today films and books try to create other realities, matrices, if you may. It is an integral aspect of the hero’s journey, the rite of passage designed to give them strengths the average traveler does not have, or aspire to.
Though I took LSD as a very young person, when my mind was still developing, it changed my perspective. Later, meditation and compassion reinforced that idea that what we see and experience as normal is barely the tip of the iceberg. I believe this small understanding led me to write.
And it helps me love a world, my world. But more, writing, like music and the other arts, gives us tools to try and expand our description, to break away from preconceptions that limit us. To me that is a beautiful goal.