Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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Today I had a haircut and lunch at the Chinese restaurant. On my way home, a fifteen minutes walk along some very busy streets, I had this thought: Oh, Brother. There are so many different kinds of people here, Hip hoppers, Punk rockers, stressed out office clerks, right-wingers, left wingers, Neo-Nazis, alcoholics, mental cases, Rastafarian's, Muslims... There are so many different kinds of people in this world and so many different ideas. And here comes an ambulance. Maybe someone is dying in there. And here comes the Police. What’s going on? This is our life, suffering, jealousy and hate, love, nonsense, jokes, distress, disasters. So much is here. It’s like a play. Why bother if people play games and delude themselves. Why bother if people pray to Santa Claus or if they hope for nothing but an improvement of the stock market rates. We’re all deluding ourselves and we are all like actors in a play. This is life. What if all the actors in the play suddenly took off their costumes and explained that they were sick and tired of acting. "Shakespeare is a jerk. We want to wake up from this stupid make believe nonsense.“
Some people are fragile, nervous and sensitive. They often spend decades trying to get rid of their nervousness but nothing seems to work. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs gives only temporary relief. Psychotherapies and meditation does not seem to do the trick either. Medication can be helpful for some time, what I understand, but eventually the nervous person has to get off the medicine because of the side effects. My experience is that it is not until one begins to accept ones nervousness and fragility that things improve. The nervousness and the fragility are still there but one does not bother to fight it any longer.

We spend so much time, money and energy trying to change ourselves, trying to fit ourselves into imagined molds. One part of us is telling another part of us that we are no good and that we ought to do something about it. This is a crazy.

Some people pretend that they are religious; some pretend that they are optimistic and some pretend that they are sincere. Many people simply pretend that that they are not pretending and lecture you on how you ought to live your life. Surrounded by bullshitters it is better to give them some bullshit back. We are immersed in to a world of bullshit.

You cannot become what you already are. You cannot miss out your life because you have been so busy with other things. This is your life. This is what you are. You cannot say to yourself, “I ought to live in the now, nothing else is real.” You cannot say to yourself, “I ought to love what is.” Well, you can tell yourself how you ought to think, but it will not change anything. You can tell yourself, “Do not try to change anything!” But, isn’t that the same thing? We are trapped. This is the human condition.

“You must not give in. You have to wake up. You must not be so negative. You really ought to do something. This is just your mind playing tricks on you... ”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

There are many different kinds of smiles. You can smile as at social worker or you can smile as a sales clerk. You can smile as a minister or you can smile as a thug. You can smile as a politician. You can smile consciously. You can smile condescendingly and you can smile like if you feel guilty of something. You can smile completely idiotic smiles as the drunkards.

However, there are also true smiles and true laughs that originate from a completely different place. Such smiles and laughs come from out of nowhere.

“The human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons linked up with up to 10 000 synaptic connections each. Despite rapid scientific progress, much of how brains work remains a mystery.” (I found this information on Wikipedia.)

Indeed, it is a mystery how the brain works. Somehow thoughts, dreams and fantasies are created in the neurons and the synaptic connections. Also love and hate, intuitions, synchronicities, awareness, attention and consciousness is created here by a number of mystical chemicals. The brain is not just a brain. If you can't see what a miracle the brain is, with all its mystical chemicals, you wont be able to see any miracles at all.

Certain drugs can instantly make you lose your consciousness. Other drugs can make you relaxed or wired or crazy. Some drugs can create fantastic fantasies and images in the head. The material world is a total mystery. .

Seriously, what is matter? What does it consist of? Protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, strings, vibrations, energy. But think of it: what is an electron, really? What does it consist of? It is not easy to be a materialist these days. It is silly to be a materialist. It is as silly as defining oneself as spiritual. It is out of date to talk about spirituality versus materialism. We are lost. We don’t know anything at all. Everything is a complete mystery.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Freud declared that human beings unconsciously are motivated by the drive for sex. Adler opposed him and said that we are motivated by the drive for power. Viktor Frankel explained that the drives for sex and power are strong but the most important drive is the drive for meaning. I would say that the most important drive in human beings and what motivates most of our actions, is unconscious fantasies.

Not only religious or political fanatics are driven by fantasies and delusions. All people have their heads filled with crazy ideas. Some believe that nothing matters but money, competition and climbing the social ladder. When they have millions of dollars they still feel a compelling urge to get more. They are like alcoholics who can’t stop drinking when they are drunk. Some people believe, deep in their heart, that they are useless, ugly and that they ought to kill themselves, which some of them eventually succeed with. Some believe that nothing is of any importance but chilling out with good marijuana. Some are health fanatics and some are spreading themselves thin to please their inner dictators. The varieties in our conscious and unconscious motivations are endless.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I have a day off from work and I’ve been listening to spiritual teachers on the Internet all morning. Now I’m full.

They all teach that nothing is real but the present now. They talk about the now much in the same way as the Christians talk about Jesus. They are forming a new religious cult. In a way they are right, I suppose, but they forget that the human brain is wired to plan for the future. The planing function is in our biology and has helped us to survive through two hundred thousand years. To denounce the planing function would be like if a bird denounced its wings. And they also forget that the present now is also a mental construct? Everything is mental constructions in the brain.

When you, for example, hear something, the sound has to travel to your ears and then from your ears, along the nerves, and then it has to be processed in the brain before you can notice it. What you hear belongs to the past. What you perceive as the present now is actually something that happened in the past.

And ponder this: When you look at a beautiful sunset, the sun may have exploded five minutes ago but you are not aware of it because it takes eight minutes for the sun rays to reach you. And if you look at a twinkling star it might be a galaxy that disappeared a million years ago.

Twenty years ago Benjamin Libet made neuropsychological experiments and was able to show that the will to act, for example move a finger, will start 200 milliseconds before you are aware of it. You feel that you are voluntarily moving your finger, but the brain has already started the process 200 milliseconds before your conscious act of moving it. Isn’t this weird information?

Maps are useful but they are not the territory. We mistake the map for the territory. We are obsessed with our different maps, spiritual maps, political maps, scientific maps. My map is better than your map. Nobody is looking at the territory. This is our problem, not our capacity to plan for the future. If we are completely engrossed in our maps we don't even notice what the world is like around us. To wake up for a moment, I think, is to put away the map and take a look at the trees and the birds, the sun and the moon and the stars, the traffic jams and the stressed out people in the commuter trains, all the horrors on the evening news on TV, whatever is there in front of us.