Archive for Body

The Assassin’s Creed, Part 1

Posted in All, Economics, Miscellaneous, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by marushiadark

“Only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world.  This is our greatest asset … It presents us with challenges, yes, but freedom yields greater rewards than the alternative.” ~ Altair, Assassin’s Creed.

In my post on chakras, I mentioned that I often lose faith in humanity; but that, once in a while, someone will come along and restore it and remind me that I’m on the right track.  The brilliant minds over at Ubisoft responsible for the Assassin’s Creed series are another such group of people.

For those who don’t know what it is, you can check out the Assassin’s Creed wiki, or play the games yourself.

Suffice to say, it involves global conspiracies throughout history that are well-researched and quite plausible, in my opinion.  It’s a work of fiction, of course; but much like the works of Dan Brown, I doubt such stories could be made believably if there weren’t a great deal of truth to the subject matter.

The main idea behind Assassin’s Creed is that there are two overarching factions at work: the Templars, who seek to control everyone and everything in an Orwellian oligarchy, and the Assassins, who seek to restore freedom and sovereignty to the individual.  Over the years, these two sides go by different names, have different faces, and use different methods, but the core ideas of order versus chaos, control versus freedom still prevail.

The Assassin’s Guild has its own rules and hierarchy, but these are much more general and loosely defined in what is known as The Assassin’s Creed.

“Justice is balance.  You burnt my house and left me for dead.  Consider us even.” ~ Raz Al-Ghul.

Like many factions, both real and fictitious, the Assassins see themselves as the agents of natural law and divine justice.  They believe in balance above all things and the authority of the individual to act as judge, jury, and executioner in maintaining that balance.

Justice is balance, and the purpose of any system of justice should be to restore a situation to its proper state.  If a person’s property is damaged, justice demands that the offending party fix the property or pay fair compensation for the damage.  If something is taken, it must be returned.

In our modern society, prison does not always serve as appropriate punishment.  All prison really does is remove the person from society, but this does not always remove their criminal influence on society, nor does it guarantee their reform.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Goodfellas, you know that people of wealth and power can easily circumvent the rules to avoid truly paying off their debts by turning punishment into a luxury.  Thus, the power of the offender often determines the method by which justice is best applied.

One cannot undo rape or murder or reverse psychological trauma easily.  Thus, justice would demand that the individual be made to understand the severity of the damage caused in kind, so as to deter them from further damage in the future.  A rapist is sodomized, a murderer killed, and one who destroys a person’s life has their own destroyed.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, … that is true justice.

The word “justice” itself derives from Latin justistia, meaning “equitable.”  It is an economic term that refers to the application of natural law in determining the monetary value of something.  The term “equitable” relates to “equatable,” meaning that two things can be considered the same.  This is the basis of our entire monetary system.

There’s a reason Lady Justice is blindfolded and carries a sword and balance scales.

The blindfold suggests the impartiality and unbias of true justice in the ideal.  The sword represents execution on the law in a strict sense, which may literally include the execution of an individual in taking their life.  The balance scales are used in commerce and are the best visual metaphor of equity.  If you place a weight on one side, the scales very obviously tip to that side.  If you then place a weight on the other side, the scales will tip back the other way.  If the scales are not even, then the two sides are not equitable.

Mercy is altogether a different thing from justice.  In fact, mercy is the special allowance of an imbalance to exist.  For instance, it is normally wrong to take a life because this causes great pain, but it is generally considered more wrong to allow a person to suffer for a long period of time.  Thus, the idea of a mercy killing creates an exception to the rule because it serves a greater good.

The term “mercy” derives from Old French mercit, meaning “reward, gift, or kindness.”  Mercy is linked to the concept of forgiveness: “For I give.”

If you give a gift, you are relinquishing your right to something in exchange for nothing.  You are putting something on the scales and the other person isn’t.  You are creating an exception in ordinary rules of justice.

In the Mosaic Law, there was execution on the law and an emphasis on justice and equity, taking back what is rightfully yours.  When Christ came along, he placed great emphasis on justice, but a greater emphasis on forgiveness.  This is because forgiveness represents a superior position.  If you have an abundance of money or power or love, you can give of yourself without suffering any significant loss.  Taking is easy, giving is hard.  If you are constantly giving, the other party will have no need to take from you, nor can they, as you cannot take something that is given freely.

“Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent.” ~ First tenant of the Assassin’s Creed

In carrying out their charge, the Assassins employ a variety of techniques and practices, including the killing of those that cause harm to others.

As you can imagine, having such power to take life can be easily abused.  Towards that end, the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed was developed, which cautions against the spilling of innocent blood.  More generally, this cautions against collateral damage of any kind, instructing members of the order to act only when it serves the greater good.

This is one of the few rules that differentiates the Assassins from the Templars.  Where the Templars are willing to do anything and everything to achieve power, without regards for those they hurt, the Assassins exercise restraint and mercy alongside their administration of divine justice.

The term “fungible goods” is used to refer to anything that is equivalent to another thing of the same kind.  For instance, all one-dollar bills are worth the same amount.  It is generally assumed that all things of a kind (an eye, a tooth, a life) are fungible goods.  In the administration of justice, it is sometimes necessary to distinguish something as not being fungible. For instance, you cannot refuse a dollar bill as payment unless you can prove that it is counterfeit and therefore worthless.

In law, human bodies are considered physical property of the soul and fungible as a general rule.  Of course, in practice, not all human beings are equal.  Some people have more to offer than others.  Some are better at a craft or are better teachers, etc.

In the case of capital punishment, the value of a murderer’s life is considered diminished because the vessel has a history of causing damage to other vessels.  If the body or mind cannot be restored to a state of health, the vessel must be destroyed to prevent further damage.  This is not unlike a car with faulty parts that tends to lean to the left and drive into on-coming traffic.  If the issue can’t be corrected, and no other value can be gained from the vehicle, the car must be removed from the road and destroyed.

This is what the Assassins do in carrying out divine justice – rounding up and destroying the vessels that damage other vessels, leaving all others to their own devices.  Just as you would not needlessly destroy a perfectly working automobile, so too does the first tenant of the Assassin’s Creed guard against the needless and unjustified destruction of innocent human beings.

Just as crushed cars are recycled, so too will the human body and mind be recycled by the universe.

However, unlike a car, human beings are self-correcting machines.  Given enough time, even the most vile of persons can come around.  Unfortunately, this could be several hundred years, which is enough to span several lifetimes.

Thus, it is a very delicate matter being an Assassin.  It requires great wisdom and experience to determine whether a person is too far-gone to be healed, if they are worth saving or too dangerous to be kept alive.  Because human beings are not yet at the point where we can restore life as easily as we can take it away, I think capital punishment should be reserved as a last resort and for those that are truly incurable.

Persistence of Memory

Posted in All, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“God is Santa Claus for grown-ups.” ~ Unknown

People of faith often believe that, when we die, if we are good, we’ll get eternal happiness, and if we’re bad, we’ll get eternal punishment.  But does that sound fair to you?  Does that sound like the invention of an all-knowing, compassionate being?  Or does that sound more like a bedtime story you’d tell to kids?

Hey, kids, you know, if you’re really good, Santa Claus will bring you lots of presents, but if you’re bad, he’ll bring you an icky lump of coal instead.  And he can see when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake.  In fact, he won’t even come until after you’re in bed.

You know, there’s a reason they call it eternal rest and sleeping like the dead.

It doesn’t seem right to me that God should give you an eternity of something based on the actions of a fraction of a fraction of that time.  Given all the hype about God, I think he would have more sense than that.  I mean, even our own limited and fallible human institutions know that people change over time and that reward and punishment must be in accordance with a person’s recent behavior.  For some, it may takes moments to change, for others decades, for some maybe even a few hundred years, but that’s still nothing compared to eternity.

Based on the laws of karma, I do believe that you receive some sort of reward or punishment after you die, but I hardly think it’s eternal.

“Death is rest for the soul.  Who was it that said that?  If the body did not die, and the fears borne in the mind just continued to pile up, the world would be nothing more than an eternal prison.” ~ Ziggy, Xenosaga Episode II

The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred.  Even a cynical empiricist who worships the scientific method must admit that if consciousness is energy, then it retains some form even after the body has died.  It might not be in exactly the same state, but it still continues to exist in one state or another.  And what does that sound like from a spiritual perspective?  Reincarnation, perhaps?

Reincarnation is simply the conservation of consciousness between one lifetime and the next.  Many religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Christianity teach that this is what happens to you when you die.  The body decays and the carbon, water, and other components go back into the environment.  The mind goes offline and reawakens in some other body, like transferring documents from one computer to the next.  And the soul just remains as it’s always been, in the position of the observer.

The concept of reincarnation can be scientifically verified.  In fact, some people have already tried.  Maybe you’ve heard stories and news reports about young children being taken to certain places and having knowledge of those places and certain events relating to them that no one has mentioned to the child and which the child can’t possibly know otherwise, except through some sort of metaphysical transfer of information.  That would be a way of proving reincarnation to someone else, but there are other ways of proving it to yourself.

“‘How can I tell,’ said the man, ‘that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?'” ~ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Ever since I was young, I’d always gotten along a lot better with adults than I did people my own age.  I think a number of people can probably say they feel the same way.  Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve conversed with people much older than myself and have come to realize that there are people ten, twenty, even thirty years older than me that act like children.  I don’t really count myself particularly privileged, at least no more-so than those individuals.  So what accounts for this?

When I was in college, I took an introductory course on Psychology and learned about the various stages of development that the human mind goes through.  Among them was the concept of Generativity vs. Stagnation, more commonly known as the mid-life crisis, in which a person looks back on their life and feels that they’ve done nothing but waste time and miss opportunities.  I was only about twenty at the time, but I felt as though I’d already had several mid-life crises over the course of my lifetime.

Some months later, I began to do a great deal of soul searching and starting to become aware of the fact that this wasn’t the first time I’d been here on this planet.  All in all, I’d been here at least five or six times that I can recall (possibly even more than that), which would mean that I’m a fairly old soul.

People often ask me how I know all this, how I came to realize that I’d had past lives and that they took on the particular characteristics that I claim they did.  Well, let me put it to you like this.

I know that there is a lot of New Age emphasis on the Power of Now, as made famous by Eckhart Tolle and others, and that along with this comes the realization that there is no past or future.  But for sake of argument, let’s assume that there is a past.  Most people would think it reasonable to say there is a past.  But how do you know?  How do you know that you weren’t literally born yesterday?  How do you even know that there was a yesterday?  How do you know that, when you woke up this morning, it wasn’t the beginning of time and you simply discovered you had all these thoughts in your head from the very beginning?

When you play a video game, it’s all a programmed illusion that begins as soon as you turn the game on.  That is year zero.  Yet when you turn the game on, you are immersed into a world and a body that has history, or so it believes.  In rare cases, such as Assassin’s Creed II, you get to know the character from the time of their birth; but usually you just wake up one day to find that you are now in a situation and that you have thoughts and ideas in your head about who you are, where you are, what you do, and who your friends are.  Time began at that moment, so all the so-called past is really just an illusion.

Do you think it’s reasonable to suggest that the same could be true for us as well?  That time could just be an illusion and the past merely accounting for discrepancies between our present condition and our memories?

But let us suppose that the opposite is true.  Supposing there really is a past.  So there’s a yesterday and a last year.  Why would your birth, then, be the beginning of your consciousness?  Genetic memory and the 100th Monkey Effect can explain where behavioral instincts come from, but not memories and wisdom of things that neither you nor your ancestors experienced.  For that, you’d need reincarnation.

So how do I know that I lived a past life?  Simple.  I remember something about it, the same as I remember something that happened yesterday or last year.  How do I know it’s memory and not imagination?  Well, how does anyone know that what they experienced yesterday or last year was real and not simply made up?  You feel it in your gut that this is true and accurate and what really happened to you.  That’s how.

“Now if you’re thinking, just now, ‘Why me, oh God?’  The answer is, God has nothing to do with it.  In fact, God is never in France this time of year.” Dorleac, Count of Monte Cristo

Reincarnation is tied with karma.  What you do in the past effects your future.  Even if you get away with something in this lifetime, there are higher forces at work that will see to it that you make up for it next time.  Just like in playing a video game, if you fuck up and die, you retain the memory of what happened and that can effect future outcomes.

That’s probably also what Déjà Vu is, too.  If you feel like you’ve experienced something before, it’s probably because you have.  You just hit the restart button and decided to play over from your last checkpoint.  Like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day, when he keeps trying to find the right words to say to his coworker.

So if you find yourself thinking, “Why me, oh God?” the answer is, it’s always been on you.  Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people and to young children?  It’s probably to teach you a lesson for something you did in a past life.  For instance, in one of my past lives, I was a really shitty parent.  So God decided to grace me with a bad father.  Not as bad as I had been, but enough that I could understand what it was like from the receiving end.

In another past life, I was a cruel Templar master.  So God decided to set me in a time and place where the Templars ruled as the sort of cruel masters that I had been.  He set me on a path to learn about the New World Order from the perspective of one of their slaves.  If I am truly the observer and the creator of my universe, then it stands to reason that such things as The Da Vinci Code and Assassin’s Creed were also created by me as tools for my benefit.  The entire history of the world has been constructed and uploaded into my mind to serve as context while I progress through the game of life towards my objectives.  It’s only logical.

It’s a lot like Alice dreaming of the Red King, who’s dreaming of Alice, who’s dreaming of the Red King … From your perspective, I’m the illusion and the whole world is created for your benefit and lesson.  So life becomes a dream, a shared dream (like in Inception), in which we all create and grow and experience together.  And when we die, we simply wake up somewhere else, with only the memory remaining.

Hierarchy of Law

Posted in All, Economics, Politics, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by marushiadark

“Then God said, ‘Let us create man in our own image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion … over all the earth and every other creeping thing that creeps upon on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26

In my last post, I talked about how we tend to identify with things that have nothing to do with who we really are, and how we are simply the observers on this universe.  It is important that we understand who we are and what are place is in the hierarchy of the universe.  If we don’t, then we become the slaves of our creations instead of their masters.  Many people are suffering at the hands of religions, governments, and corporations because they have forgotten that they are the creators and that our position is of higher authority.  It’s as though we are serving our spoons and our hammers.  To correct this, we need only remember our place in this world and who we are and then exercise our authority as true sovereigns.

So the most fundamental level is the level of God and the soul, which is the level of being.

From there, the soul may choose to create a mind to think and reason with, which may entail the temporary division of the mind into parts to create the illusion of separateness.  So now we have two levels: the level of the soul and the level of the mind.  We are a soul, but have a mind.

Of course, from this, we can infer that the mind in turn creates illusions and avatars in the form of a physical body.  So now we know there are at least three levels: soul, mind, and body.  We are a soul, but have a mind and a body.

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.” ~ Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 1-2

If you take something and someone else then claims it as their own, it’s common to retort, “Well, I didn’t see your name on it.”  Of course, we know that there is no such mark.  There’s nothing there to identify the object as being the property of any individual in particular, so it becomes fair game to all.  Yet in our everyday lives, we place so much identity and attachment to our names in reference to who we are.

When you were born, you didn’t come out of your mother’s womb with a UPC barcode on your body, did you?  There were no inherent identifying marks of any kind that could be misconstrued as labels stating who you are, were there?  Of course not.  So why is it that when asked, “Who are you?” we answer with our name?

A name is not something you have inherently.  It is something bestowed upon you by another.  And such a name can be different depending on who’s referring to you.  A child may call you “Mom.”  A parent may call you “Son.”  Your dog may call you “Arf.”  The IRS calls you by your Social Security Number “123-45-6789.”  These are all names given to you as a means of referring to you, but they aren’t you.  There’s not even a rule that says you have to have a name at all.  There’s no law that says you have to carry around any sort of identification of any kind just to walk down the street.

In that scene from the movie Shooter where the cop stops Bob Swagger and asks to see his ID, he could have just turned around and asked, “Are you suggesting I’m obligated to carry around ID with me?”  The cop would then have had to either let him go or prove that there was a law requiring him to carry ID.

In the spy business, agents rarely use their real names.  Those names are just NOCs the agency gives them.  Those names have no more to do with who those agents are than your birth name has anything to do with who you are.  Your name is something that you choose to use or not.  You can change it anytime you like.

You are a soul, you have a mind, a body, and a name.  This distinction is very important for anyone that considers themselves a free individual because, as you’ll soon see, a name is everything in law.

“Bob Marley isn’t my name.  I don’t even know my name yet.” ~ Bob Marley

Do you know what your name is and when you were born?  If you do, you must have a time machine or some sort of clairvoyant powers, because you weren’t alive at the time of your birth to know all that stuff.  What you think you know is the result of hearsay from your parents and others who were around at that time.  But you, yourself, don’t have first-hand knowledge of that.  So your name is, at best, an accepted designation; and your date of birth, at best, is an estimation.

Were you also aware that you have not one, but two names and dates of birth?  In the legal system, you actually represent two persons: a natural person and a legal person.

The word “person” in law is a tricky thing because it can refer to either a natural person or a legal person, and often there is no telling which is being used.  Usually, it applies to both.  You see, law is a very precise thing.  Every word, phrase, spelling, and punctuation mark changes the meaning of what is written.  For instance, the phrase “A young, bare man” has a totally different meaning from “A young bear-man.”  But if I were to say both sentences aloud, without you seeing the spelling and punctuation, it could get quite confusing.

Just as there are two types of person, there are also two types of law: common law (the law of the land) and admiralty law (the law of water).  Common law is common sense and is the law of flesh and blood human beings.  Admiralty law is maritime law and is the law of commerce, taxes, businesses, and corporations.  Each has its own jurisdiction.

The so-called natural person is the name given to the flesh and blood human being.  It’s written using proper English Grammar with a capital initial letter and the rest in lower-case, such as John Henry Doe.  The legal person, however, is the name of a corporation and is written in all caps, such as JOHN HENRY DOE.  If you don’t believe that, just go ask a lawyer or a judge.

If you look at your driver’s license, credit card, bank statement, Social Security card, or other such commercial documents, you will likely see that the name on the document is written in ALL CAPS.  This means that you are operating under the jurisdiction of commercial law, not common law, and the rules are very different between the two.

Knowing that, it begins to make sense how a burglar can enter someone’s house illegally and win at court because he got hurt, even though he’s the one at fault.  It’s because you’re fighting in common law and he’s fighting in admiralty, and because he’s the plaintiff coming forward with a claim, he gets to choose which court to play in.

But how did all this happen?  How did we get two names and two birth dates?

“Your birth is a mistake you’ll spend your whole life trying to correct.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, satirist

When a ship enters port, it travels down a canal, leaves the water, and is then placed onto dry land where the ship is then said to be “berthed.”  An officer of the State (such as a customs agent) will then ensure that the vessel is registered, complete with the ship’s name and date of berth.  He then gives the ship a registration number, which is recorded on a special piece of paper called a certificate of value and cargo manifest.  From that point on, the ship is subject to all the statutes and commercial laws of the jurisdiction that it’s in, so long as it resides in port.  In order to operate in commerce, the ship must obey these rules or it cannot do business.

What does that sound like to you?  Does that sound like something you’ve possibly heard of before?  No?  How about this.

Approximately nine months after your dad knocks up your mom, your body (a vessel for your soul) travels down your mother’s birth canal and leaves the water of the womb to enter onto dry land.  At this point, you have been birthed.  Shortly after, your mother will register the birth on a birth certificate and a State officer will file that with the county as proof of your manifestation into this world.  From that point on, you are subject to all the laws (commercial laws, that is) of whatever jurisdiction you were born in if you wish to do business and operate in commerce.

My, my, isn’t that interesting?  So does that mean your body is actually a commercial vessel subject to admiralty law?  It certainly sounds that way, doesn’t it?

“Like everyone else, you were born into bondage.  Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch.” ~ Morpheus

The 14th Amendment states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.  Recall that I said “person” has a dual meaning, that it can refer to a natural person or a legal person.  Wal-Mart is a corporation, a legal person, and has all the same rights as a person like you or me.  Doesn’t that just make your blood boil?

All of the commercial documents that you get over the course of your lifetime, from bank accounts, to credit cards, to driver’s licenses (or any licenses) … they all require you to have a birth certificate.  And those that don’t usually require presentment of other documents that do.

The ALL CAPS name on your documents is, in fact, a corporation.  The birth certificate your mother registered is actually a unique piece of work.  It bridges the gap between natural person and legal person and is what created the legal person in the first place, allowing it all the rights and privileges under commercial law, according to the 14th Amendment. In the game of commerce, it’s your playing token.

Having a registered birth certificate is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, being under admiralty law affords you certain rights and privileges.  You can own a business, have a bank account, take out a mortgage for a home, collect Social Security and Medicare benefits, etc.  On the other hand, it also means you have to pay taxes and avoid certain things like putting drugs into your body.  After all, the State doesn’t want anything to happen to your vessel while you’re in their port.  Damaged ships on their turf reflect a bad image and can be a potential threat to their property.  Why do you think illegal immigrants are such a concern for them?

But you can’t have it both ways.  Either you accept the pros with the cons, or you give it all up entirely.

It’s been said that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  That may be true if you’re talking about common law, where the only real rule you have to remember is don’t infringe upon the rights and/or property of others.  But when it comes to the 16,000,000 or so commercial laws and statutes, I think most people would say that ignorance of the law is every excuse, because it’s just too much information to keep track of.  Yet, if you don’t know how to play the commercial game, you’ll likely suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of those that do.

So you have two options.  Learn how to play the game properly, or stop playing.  Stopping is hard because so much of our society is based upon the commerce game.  However there are those that have gone and done this successfully.  Such people often form their own little communes away from civilization, away from commerce, technology, and all the trappings of modern life.

However, it would seem that a far more practical solution would be to learn the rules and enjoy the game as it was meant to be played so that we can take advantage of all the good things that modern life can offer us as well.

To do that, though, you must first realize who you really are.  You are a soul, which has a mind and a body.  The body has the name of a natural person and that natural person is then the player with the legal person being the game token.

You can think of the legal person as yet another avatar for your natural person, just like how a car acts as an avatar of your physical body, which is in turn the avatar of your soul.

I know that can sound quote complicated, but it’s really very simple.  Just remember that there is a hierarchy to all this: God / soul, mind, body, natural person (John Doe), legal person (JOHN DOE).  It’s really as simple as that.  No creation can be higher than its creator, so long as the creator is operating from a position of creator instead of a position of victim.  If you remember that you are a living soul and a part of God, then you are already three-quarters of the way to being totally free from the legal and corporate entities that we created down below.  The rest is just putting it into practice.

Mindfuck #3: I Am

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by marushiadark

“No matter what ya calls me, I am what I am an’ tha’s all I yam.” ~ Popeye

Very little thought is given to the way in which we use words, especially in reference to ourselves.  Often times, we place a great deal of our identity into things that are not us.  We equate who we really are with an object or concept that is not who we are, but rather something that we have.

For instance, people often say things like, “I am black” or “I am Christian” or “I am a redhead.”  Oh really?  That’s what you are?  Are you sure you don’t simply “have black skin” and “have Christian beliefs” and “have red hair”?

Such behavior is not inherited; it is learned.  We aren’t born identifying with things around us.  That line of thinking is socially conditioned into us.

Would you say that you are your car?  No, that’s ridiculous.  You’re very clearly not your car.  You have a car, but you are not your car.  A car is simply a vessel that you move around in.  You just attach yourself to the vehicle temporarily for the purposes of travel, carrying heavy loads, and doing other such tasks that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.

How about when you play a video game?  We often refer to the character as ourselves.  We say “I did this,” “I moved that,” “I shot the enemy,” and so forth.  But we are not the character.  The character is simply an avatar – a vessel – that we attach ourselves to by way of the controller in order to move about the digital world and do things like fly, shoot lasers, etc.  If you’ve ever been on a forum, you know that the little icon to the left of your post is also called your avatar.  It’s not you, either.  It’s merely a temporary representation of you that may not have anything to do with who you really are.

So what about your body?  Do you identify with that?  Your body is just a collection of cells that grouped together to form a collective unit.  It has more in common with a pixelated video game character than anything else, and your mind would then be the controller.  If you lose a few cells, do you necessarily stop being you?  If you lose an arm, a leg, or a kidney, do you stop being you?  No.  At least, you don’t have to stop being you.  It’s your choice whether or not you let such physical changes affect who you are.  Ultimately, all that really changes is what you can do with your body, but that doesn’t change who you are.  Even if you die, who you are will continue to live on in some form (even if it’s just a memory).

You are no more your body than you are your car or a character in a video game.  Who you are is the person in the driver’s seat, pushing the controls that make the body run, and your mind is the steering console.

“I think, therefore I am.” ~ René Descartes

During the early 17th century, a French philosopher by the name of René Descartes speculated on the basic principles of existence.  He wanted to know what was actually real, or at least what could be proven to be real.

There are two basic ways in which something can be known: empirically or logically.  Empiricism has to do with observation through the senses, while logic has to do with mental reasoning.  Descartes began with the simple observation that there are times when the senses appear to fail to accurately depict the world around us.  For instance, you see something out of the corner of your eye, but it isn’t actually there when you go to check on it with your full vision.  It is a mistake in observation.

Descartes reasoned that, due to the inaccuracies of the senses, it is suspect as to whether or not they can be trusted at all, so he rejects them entirely.

This establishes the notion that any and all physical things observed are potentially nothing more than mere illusions, fabrications of the mind.  It also leaves Descartes with nothing but logical reasoning, and all of that is just a fiction in the mind.  There are no perfectly straight lines in nature, no perfectly three-sided objects, no perfectly round objects; such things are mental short-hands of our own invention.  They do not actually exist.  They are illusions as well.

So then what does that leave?  Nothing, really.  Or does it?

If everything is merely an illusion, then there must be something that is being disillusioned.  There must be some observer of the trick.  Descartes himself referred to these illusions as the act of some demon.  But if there was a demon, the demon must have a victim to play his tricks on, even if that victim is simply himself.

Descartes’ method does not really give us much detail as to the qualities of the observer, just that there is one and that we can be 100% certain of this.  For all anyone knows, the world could be completely accurate as we observe it, or we could be a free-floating consciousness in a void without a body; but it can never be proven one way or the other what the actual nature of reality is.  So everything besides “I am” or “I exist” must be taken on faith.

This tends to piss off a lot of empiricists and scientists that rely heavily or even exclusively on their empirical observations.  Such a conclusion would pull the carpet out from under their feet by establishing the fickle nature of even their most basic assumptions.

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’  And he said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ … This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. ” ~ Exodus 3:14-15

Scientists aren’t the only ones pissed off by this conclusion.

Among those that believe in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, there is much time spent worrying and debating over pedantic little details like “Is God’s name YHWH or YHVH?  Jehovah or Allah?” “Is Jesus, Yeshu, or Yeshua the correct name of Christ?”  “What color was Jesus’ skin?”  “Is it sinful for me to take only the bread and not the wine during communion?” “If I eat meat on a Friday, am I going to hell for it?”  “If I forgot to say PBUH after Mohammad’s name, will God hate me?”  “Do I need to wash my hands before prayer?”  “If I have a cheeseburger, is God going to punish me for not staying Kosher?”

If your focus is on minor details like that, then I’m sorry to say that you have missed the forest for the trees.  Without seeing the bigger picture, these little things are rather irrelevant.  If your car doesn’t even have wheels, what does it matter if the dashboard lights aren’t working?  Even if the engine worked perfectly, you’re not really getting anywhere, now are you?

All three faiths respect and defer to Exodus and to Moses.  So if you claim to be a believer of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, there’s really no excuse for not knowing and understanding this particular passage.  God spells out rather clearly here as to who and what he is.

God is.  It’s as simple as that.  Most everything else is just minor details.

You are.  I am.  That’s as much as anyone can ever truly know for sure.  If it turns out that there is no God and we’re just a consciousness in a void; then by definition, you are God because you are the creator of the whole universe, since you are the one creating the illusion.  You call the shots, so why would you cast yourself, or anyone else, into eternal torment?  Why would you make yourself perform rituals and subjugating acts of worship?  You are the God of your own universe.

Eye of the Beholder

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by marushiadark

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” ~ John Keats, poet.

I was sitting on my back porch today and I happened to look up at the clouds in a particular moment and noticed that they were exceptionally beautiful.  In my mind, I found myself saying how only God could make such a thing as that.

Now, I’m not what you would call a religious person, but just sitting there staring at the clouds was both deeply touching and deeply rewarding for me.  For a brief moment, I felt at one with everything around me.

I think the idea that only God could make something so beautiful is quite true.  After all, what mortal man, with all of his technology or artistic skill could make something as beautiful as a bona-fide sunset?  Certainly no one thus far.

There have been times where I’ve looked out upon nature and it all seemed almost artificial to me.  For instance, sometimes I’ll notice a slight curvature to the sky, as though I was under a giant dome.  Other times, when I’m high above the ground (especially in an airplane), I’ll look out and the world will appear more like a diorama than actual life.  Sometimes I’ll walk through the park and remember that the landscape there was arranged by man – ordered, tamed, unnatural, almost clinical, even.

And yet there are always those times where I look upon nature and feel the presence of God and life in everything around me that fills me with peace and joy and love.

“Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” ~ David Hume, philosopher

Many people of lesser mind use the argument of beauty as proof of God’s existence without truly understanding what they’re talking about.  Almost immediately after I made my remark about the clouds today, my mind took a dualistic position.  I reasoned that God didn’t have any effect on the clouds.  That it was just water in the atmosphere collecting to form a random pattern.  If there was any beauty involved, it was all in my own mind and not something objective outside myself.

I contemplated this argument for a minute and then realized that it was also true.  There wasn’t anything outside myself that made it particularly beautiful.  Beauty was an internal conception, something only a human mind could conceive of.  But that just goes to further prove that God had a hand in making what I saw.  For if God is in all of us, which he is, and if God is the observer looking out through our minds and bodies, and if our perceptions create a sense of beauty in the mind in reaction to some external stimulus; then through a transitive line of reasoning, it stands that God created the beautiful scene that I observed.

In my lecture on symbols, I talked about how symbols only have those meanings we apply to them.  Without that, they’re just a collection of random lines and shapes.  But it’s the creative and associate processes that take place in our minds that make these symbol something else.

What is a cloud but a randomization of water molecules in the air?  If we see shapes in the clouds, we are taking that raw material and creating something out of it.  It’s no different than an artisan taking a lump of clay and molding it into a shape conceived of in his mind, except that we’re not touching the vapor with our hands.  We’re crafting it solely (soul-ly) within ourselves.

“No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Beauty is something that has been analyzed for millenia.  The dictionary defines beauty as “the quality of a person or thing that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction, whether arising from the senses, meaning, pattern, spirit, or other.”

In layman’s terms, beauty is everything that you expect a thing to be.  If you see a beautiful sunset, it has every quality that you, personally, think a sunset ought to have.  It fully meets your expectations of a textbook sunset.  Likewise, a beautiful man or woman has all the qualities you are looking for.  If their personality matches your unique expectations, then that person has inner beauty as well.

Because each person has their own mind with their own thoughts, tastes, and preferences, their perception of what is beautiful and what isn’t will be inherently different from that of everyone else; unless said individual has been influenced by social trends and molded to think a certain way.  Remember, societies have minds too on a different level of consciousness.

Even putrid, disgusting, and malevolent things can be beautiful in their own right.  Ugly dolls , for instance.  Or pugs.  Many people adore pugs specifically for their ugliness.  Similarly, a crime that is said to be a “work of art,” such as a murder, has everything you’d expect from the perfect crime.

In traveling down I-95, going through Elizabeth, New Jersey, there is a certain chemical plant along the side of the road that spews steam and, quite possibly, pollutants into the air.  Yet at night, it is a sight to behold with all its lights.  It almost reminds me of that scene from The Matrix Revolutions where Neo is blind and yet everything he sees is made of light.  Even though he’s in the most hellish place on earth, he can’t help but be in amazed at the beauty all around him when viewed from a higher perspective.  Whenever I pass by that plant, I can’t help but gaze in awe myself and wonder how something so bad for the environment could, at the same time, be so beautiful.  Only something from within, the divine spark, could create that.

The ability to see beauty or ugliness around us depends upon what level of consciousness our mind is in at the time we observe a given event.  If we are on the dualistic level of lower consciousness, separated from God, we will see nothing but horror and strife.  Conversely, if we are resonating with love and oneness on a higher level of consciousness, then we will see beauty in all things.

The phenomena around us are simply random, neutral events.  What changes is our perception of them and the order and beauty and meaning we bring to them.  We’re the ones applying bias one way or the other, depending on the lenses we choose to see the world through.  We are the creators, creating our own universes.

H is for Healing

Posted in All, Health, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by marushiadark

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” ~ Buddha

The Japanese toast “kanpai” is a wish for health and wealth, with the understanding that health is more important and thus comes before wealth.  Money comes and money goes, but without your health, you haven’t got anything.

Many people do not take charge of their own health, but instead leave to men and women called doctors, most of whom are only trained in the treatment of symptoms with patented drugs and surgical procedures.  Most of them are on a payroll getting kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies when they should be interesting in curing disease and restoring optimum health to their patients.

Do not misunderstand me.  There are great doctors out there that do know what they’re doing, who are interested in genuinely helping people for reasons other than money (the real-life Gregory Houses and Hank R. Lawsons) that have not allowed themselves to be corrupted by the business of medicine.  Those are the sorts of doctors I would defer to if I needed help.  And were I or someone I knew in a serious medical emergency or accident, I would probably go to a hospital in lieu of any other option.  But for the vast majority of illnesses, it takes a long time (sometimes years) to develop these problems and the majority of them are preventable and/or psychosomatic (i.e. all in your head).

So why are we leaving our bodies in the hands of drug dealers and butchers?  All a doctor is going to do is ask you questions about your body and then make an assessment based on the information and patterns he has stored in his head.  He can’t possibly know your body better than you can because only you can know what you are feeling.  And the information that he learned is information that you can learn as well.  So why are you there listening to him?

“A lot of people say they want to get out of pain, and I’m sure that’s true, but they aren’t willing to make healing a high priority.  They aren’t willing to look inside to see the source of their pain in order to deal with it.” ~ Lindsay Wagner

I’ve often said that the best way to think of your body is to think of a car and treat your body in a comparable way to how you would treat your motorized vehicle.  If a car doesn’t work, it’s a technical problem and there are only so many things that it can be.  To fix the car, you simply find the root cause of the problem, address it, and viola! the car will run as well as it did before … unless there’s something else that’s wrong, in which case you just step and repeat until it’s working again.

The human body is no different.  Find the cause and you find the cure.  But the body is also a self-correcting machine, unlike a car, because it’s alive and a system of living organisms; and if you respect it as such and treat it well, it’ll serve you well.  Any medicine you give it is only as good as its ability to help the body regulate itself in getting back to homeostasis.

In my article on organic food, I stressed the importance of not putting crap into your body and in getting the right nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water, and energy you need to keep your body running.  If we did just that, and nothing else, about half of the diseases in the world would be eliminated.

The children in Africa are sick primarily because their country is our waste dump and they have no food and water.  Find the cause and you will find the cure.  It’s as simple as that.

“Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet in an environment equally fit for birth, growth, work, healing, and dying … Healthy people need no bureaucratic interference to mate, give birth, share the human condition, and die.” ~ Ivan Illich, philosopher

So what about drugs and surgery?  Is there any place for them?  The answer is yes, but their role is auxiliary, best used in emergencies and accidents and such.  They’re more like a Plan Z than a Plan A.

As I said before, the human body is a self-correcting machine.  Every part has a purpose and so the removal and replacement of such parts should be reserved as a last resort.  Things like heart disease and kidney disease are preventable and the human body will suffer without them.  If taken care of properly, transplants shouldn’t even become an issue.

Sometimes an organ is defective from birth, like a car that was built badly or the steel used in the Titanic.  We can’t sue God for the damages, but we can correct the mistake (and, by the way, it’s only a mistake or a defect if it inhibits the person’s ability to function).

And what about drugs?  There’s a simple metric for that as well.  What is the cause of your problem?  If your problem isn’t caused by a lack of drugs, then taking prescription and non-prescription drugs will not make you better.  Do you have an aspirin deficiency?  If not, then aspirin is not the solution.  While it may relieve the pain, it isn’t really fixing the underlying problem, which is caused by something else.  No amount of medication will fix your carpel tunnel if you continue to rest your wrists on the sharp corners of your laptop.  No amount of pain killers will correct your poor posture and alleviate the pressure of your vertebrae on your lower back nerves.  If you haven’t had anything to eat or drink all day, then how can ibuprofen or acetaminophen possibly stop your headaches?  And if your life is causing you stress, why would anti-depressants be a better option than a cup of hot tea and a vacation?

Then, on top of not fixing these problems, the over-abundance of such toxins in your body can wreak havoc on your systems and lead to other potentially lethal side effects.  Who in their right mind would volunteer themselves for all of that?  Someone not in their right mind, that’s who.  A little may not hurt, but a lot will most certainly kill you, and there are people ingesting and injecting themselves with drugs on a virtually daily basis.  Maybe we’re simply fighting the wrong enemies in the drug wars, because we’ve certainly become a nation of medicinal junkies.

The body is a machine and its problems are technical.  Find the cause and you find the cure.  You can do this yourself with a little bit of knowledge and experience.  And the usage of drugs and surgery should be limited to only medical emergencies.

“Man thought he had a human spirit.  That is totally  incorrect.  Man is a human spirit, which is enwrapped more or less in a mind, which is in a body.” ~ L Ron Hubabrd

Man is a spirit in a mind in a body, like a Russian nesting doll, setting one inside the other (and then at times we have our body in something else and this continues).  The spirit directs the mind and then the mind directs the body and then the body in turn acts upon the world around us and interacts with it.  But because the mind controls the body, the health of the mind means the health of the body and so it’s not enough to simply figure out the machine.  Even the best working car can’t make up for driver error and so we must learn what causes damage to our psyche as well and then work to correct that.

The brain is an organ, a physical machine.  It runs on electricity and, at least according to one theory, is the recipient of all electrical signals from the cells.  It is the central office, the capital of the nation that is you.  Direct all complaints here, it says, and we will take care of you.  Along with that information comes all the pain felt by the body and the brain sends this information to the mind, which is the president and the emperor, who determines what course of action must then be taken.  Depending on the condition of the mind, it may make rational decisions or it may be affected by mental aberrations (bad advisers) and be in the habit of making poor or irrational decisions that affect the overall health of the body at large.  To make the best decisions possible, we must weed out the aberrations of fear and guilt and shame and pain and grief and doubt and so forth until only love and logic remain.  Then and only then will be truly be able to heal.

All this obviously represents a huge financial loss to the companies that make products tailored to those diseases.  There is nothing wrong with companies making a profit off their contributions to society, but when they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep in business, we have to draw the line somewhere.  It’s us or them and I’d rather be on the side that wins that battle.

Food for Thought

Posted in All, Health, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by marushiadark

“It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe to eat.” ~ Robert Fuoss

In this day and age, there seems to be a great deal of emphasis on diet.  Eat this, don’t eat that.  Eat more protein, eat less protein, eat more carbs, eat less carbs, eat no carbs, eat only certain carbs.  Join Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, South Beach, and so forth.  In a world where one of the leading causes of death is starvation and malnutrition, in America we have the highest obesity rates we’ve ever had; and that’s in spite of having more weight-loss programs, dietary drugs, stomach pumps, and liposuction than ever.  We blame genetics and viruses for our poor health and spend countless billions in pursuit of treatments (not even cures) along those lines with no assurances that that’s even the right path to be going down.

It can’t possibly be as hard as we’re making it, can it?  Clearly, something is very wrong, since we didn’t have this problem a hundred years ago.

“We are all dietetic sinners; only a small percent of what we eat nourishes us; the balance goes to waste and loss of energy.” ~ William Osler, physician

Human beings are made of three parts: a body, a mind, and a soul.  The soul is the conscious observer that has the experiences.  The mind is like analytical software that helps us to figure out problems and order our world.  And the body is the physical machinery, the vehicle, the avatar that we use to interact with the world around us and have those experiences.

While I don’t claim to be an expert on cars, I have noticed a great deal of similarities between the way in which vehicles operate and the way in which our bodies seem to operate.  They’re both mechanical devices that work best when the proper substances are flowing through them and when all the moving parts are maintained and kept clear.  Maybe you’ve seen that commercial on TV where they talk about engine sludge and a guy gets doused in the stuff.  You wouldn’t intentionally put sludge in your car.  It simply wouldn’t work right if you did.  Yet that’s exactly what we do with our own bodies.  We put harmful chemicals and toxins into our bodies, often willingly, and then wonder why we have such terrible health complications like we do.

Though the human body is a complex piece of machinery, it is fundamentally simple to maintain if we keep in mind one simple rule: we are what we eat.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Whatever you put in the engine is what the engine is going to process and it’s up to you how efficient you want that engine to be.  After all, it’s a lot cheaper and easier in the long run to change the oil than to change the engine.

There are certain things the body needs and certain things it doesn’t need and even certain things that can cause it a great deal of damage.  It’s vitally important to keep in mind that, whatever you put in your body, it will either be used by your body or it won’t.  Your body doesn’t care about how you feel in regards to the taste of the foods that you eat.  It’s only concerned in maintaining and executing its basic functions, which depend upon the presence of certain ingredients and the absence of others.

Human beings are a part of nature and so our food should ideally come from nature: water, plants, animals, vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc.  Such a diet would constitute a natural, organic diet.  Organic basically means that there is no crap in it.  No chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, etc.  Also, the way in which the plant or animal is raised is a factor (such as free-roam chickens or grass-fed cattle).

When you consume food, beneficial bacteria in the digestive system (stomach, colon, etc.) breaks down that food, decomposing it into more basic and usable components that can be easily absorbed by the body.  This is similar to bacteria breaking down the materials in a compost pile.

Preservatives prevent this from happening and stop the process of decomposition by the bacteria.  Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were embalmed thousands of years ago and much of their flesh remains intact as a result.  Now imagine what such preservatives could do to the food that you eat.  If the food isn’t broken down, it just passes through undigested and the nutrients aren’t absorbed by the body, which can lead to loss of energy and weakening of the immune system, thereby making you more susceptible to disease.  Most processed foods are packed with preservatives in an effort to extend their shelf life, which has side effects of being beneficial to bottom lines (but not your bottom line).

Ever wonder why doctors are always telling us to limit our sodium intake?  It’s because sodium is a preservative.  For thousands of years, before the invention of refrigeration, salt was used to cure meats and keep them from spoiling.  However, unlike most other preservatives, the components of table salt (sodium chloride) are actually necessary to some degree for biological functions.  Sodium and potassium work together to provide cells with electrical energy.  So salt is ok in moderation.  If you’re worried about your salt intake, look for products whose ingredients list doesn’t contain any added salt.  Alternatively, you can also increase your intake of potassium and definitely drink more water.  Health is all about maintaining homeostasis (balance).

Chlorine is also needed by the body, but too much of it can be a bad thing as well.  For one thing, chlorinated water can lead to scarring of the arteries, known as arteriosclerosis, which can cause cholesterol problems when the cholesterol lodges inside the scars.  This can lead to heart attack and stroke.  If you’ve ever been in a public pool and your skin felt nasty afterwards, it was probably a result of the chlorine.  You’d wanna go home and take a shower, but chances are, your shower water is chlorinated as well.  Some people say that your skin protects you from this, but think about the chlorine: if your skin is impenetrable, why use topical lotions?  Wouldn’t they be ineffective?  Your skin has pores and just as sweat and odors can come out, so too can stuff get in.  Your skin is the largest organ in the body with tremendous surface area.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, when you shower, the water vaporizes and so does the chlorine in the water.  You then inhale the noxious chlorine gas.  I’ve been in showers where the chlorine level was so bad, you could actually smell it when showering.  That’s why I use a filter on my shower that removes the chlorine and why I use Brita pitchers for drinking and cooking water.  If you have a pool, try using an ozone filter or similar instead of chlorine chemicals.

Just like preservatives, pesticides and herbicides are also used to extend the life of crops by killing off life forms that would harm them.  Those chemicals then get into the food and eventually into us.  You may think you’re washing them off when you run your produce under the sink, but that’s only getting rid of the stuff on the surface.  Moreover, you’re probably also contaminating it with chlorine from the tap in the process.  So you’re really just adding fuel to the fire.

All of these things, and a whole lot more problems, could be solved if we just help food producers to higher standards and demanded that all our food be completely organic.  The resulting health benefits from increased nutrient intake and decreased levels of toxic substances would be a tremendous pay-off, one that ought to be self-evident.  I’ve often said that if companies like McDonalds could make their products completely organic while still maintaining their current prices, they would have my unwaivering support and I’d probably eat there all the time.  However, through the power of corporate lobbying, coupled with our indifference, such dangerous practices are allowed to continue with our consent.

I understand that, for many of us, we can’t always afford to go organic and so we buy less than healthy products.  But in the end, you’re only belaying your costs temporarily.  Instead of paying more for food, you wind up paying to patch your health problems later on, which could have been prevented.  If you can’t go organic, then at least start with the big things and go from there.  Read the ingredients lists, not just the nutrition facts, and educate yourself as to what the ingredients actually are.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.