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Non-Fiction

Sprituality & Transpersonal

The Nonsense Play

The Future

From the book The Nonsense Play
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Beyond old school naivety, the first thing that has to happen is to awaken into the realisation that we don’t truly understand anything until we understand the mind that is doing the understanding. Really, that only begins to happen when we go beyond the "who I am" idea on which the commonplace workings of this mind are erected, even when we are thinking objectively. Being objective is insufficient. We have to become transpersonal.

Climate scientists themselves have got a pretty good grasp of what climate change is going to mean. At least in terms of the global climate itself. 

Given what we now know about causal networks - which not so long ago we didn’t know - we now know that everything about us as a global collective, is about a connected, complex causal network. Not just the climate system of the Earth, but everything about our human-made world in which we live and operate. It is all a highly connected, complex causal network. Just as the brain is, too. And for that matter, networks of brains.

A much smaller number of people can see that in this respect our collective situation is not merely somewhat like the brain. It is, they can see, inseparable from the brain. Because we also now know that there is nothing we know or experience that is not a construct of brain function. It is true that as yet, we have no proper scientific understanding that can represent how brain function amounts to the same thing as our experience of self, and the world we experience. But we do know that it is the case. We just don’t know how this is the case.

One way of putting this, is that we don’t have an established scientific theory of "consciousness". Another way of putting it is that we don’t know how biological brain function becomes mind. And we don’t know how it is that what each one of us experiences as the material world, is in fact a construct of brain function.

Nonetheless, the truth is, that where we are, at the cutting edge of what we know, it is no longer tenable to insist that nature is separable from the mind we are being, whilst at the same time accepting what we know in modern brain science - that the mind we are being is inseparable from material nature. What we experience as material nature is arising as a construct a natural brain function. This is part of how nature works.

The immediate, popular way we interpret this fact is to say that we are experiencing a neural construct that is created by the brain, that predictively "models" a material world that is not a construct a brain function. However, this mentally constructed attempt at understanding the situation, is itself not tenable.

Let it suffice to say that there is actually no scientific reason to assume that the objective, material nature of the world as we experience it - as a construct of brain function - must be independent of what we perceive and experience. In other words, there is no reason to cling to the idea that it must be independent of the part of it that we now understand as brain function.

There is a certain ouroborus principle here, it is true. What we encounter as material brain function is part of the objective, material world as a whole. But we only encounter it, through brain function, and as a construct of brain function. 

The material world is indeed objective, in the sense that its structure and nature does not depend on any individual or particular brain organ. Nor does it depend on any network of brain organs. But this does not mean that it is not a construct of brain function. 

Consider an analogy. The principle of DNA does not depend on any DNA molecule, nor, indeed, does it depend on any aggregate of DNA molecules. Nonetheless, it doesn’t exist unless there are DNA molecules.

The truth is that in the mainstream we don’t really understand what nature is. We understand a good deal about nature, but not what it is. We have been presuming for a long time that nature is separate from us, but in fact, we only encounter nature, and experience nature, and come to understand nature, scientifically, by being what we are being.

The most salient thing about the brain is not that it enables us to sense-perceive the objective material world. On the contrary, the most salient thing about it is that it creates our conditional experience of being as mind and self. In other words, the creation of mind and self is what nature is actually about.

The idea that we just happen to be arising in nature, by sheer chance, as an independent observer of nature, is an old idea. It is old school, rooted in past ideas that arose around the time of the 17th-century so-called "scientific revolution". 

There were ideas at the time, of separation between mind and matter, "Cartesian duality" it is sometimes called, after Descartes. And they are ideas that we have now gone well beyond, in modern science. 

The idea that the universe has nothing to do with us, other than that we happen to have arisen in it, is also rooted in old ideas that are simply not up to speed with where we are now. So the idea that we just happen to be arising in nature, by sheer chance, as an independent observer of nature, is not really tenable any more.

So to come up to speed is also to realise that responsibility for our situation isn’t just responsibility of the kind we are now widely talking about. Which is restricted to the idea of being responsible for the planet, as something separate from us, or responsible for being "sustainable", by changing the way we behave. As if we just happen to be in nature, and as if our minds are separate, independent observers of nature, that just happen to be experiencing nature.

Many people perhaps do feel an instant reaction against the suggestion of this kind of non-duality, not least because it does tacitly imply a level of responsibility for our own existence that many people would rather believe is not the case. 

Many other people simply don’t question what they have been brought up to believe about the our situation in nature. Which is the conventionally established paradigm of our evolution in a material world that has otherwise nothing whatsoever to do with us, other than that we happen to have arisen within it.

This idea of separation or duality has currently taken a deep hold in the Western mind, it has been entrenching itself in the network of our minds ever since it was spawned from the original "scientific revolution" of the 17th century. 

Now, as you may well have heard, the thinking in the Western mind, is that there is pending, a new "scientific revolution" of unprecedented proportions. Not least, this is due to the acknowledgement of certain difficulties and inconsistencies with our current scientific theories.  

So when we talk about non-duality between brain function and the material world, in this way, there are plenty of thinkers who will say: 

"Oh yes, this is the teleological theory of the brain that you are talking about." 

Which is basically the idea that the evolution of the brain happened in order to bring about the brain. But that’s not quite the same thing. It is not what we are saying here.

What I am saying is that the theatre in which the evolution of the brain is currently understood as having taken place, is not some theatre separate from what the brain itself is now creating as our experience of being, mind, thought, knowledge and understanding. 

I’m not saying there was a material universe around before the evolution of the brain, through which the brain evolved with the purpose of creating the brain. Which is often the way a teleological theory of the brain is understood. 

Rather, I am saying there is no duality between brain function and what we experience as the material world, and there never was. Explained like this, some people will "get it" straight away. For others, it may be necessary to contemplate it over a cup of coffee, until it sinks in. And some people can never really get what we are saying here. But basically, what we are saying is entirely consistent with the fundamental fact of modern brain science.

As an aside, it also happens to be consistent with some fundamental facts of quantum physics. But the discussion of those is beyond our scope here.

So when we say about climate change that we have to be responsible for the planet, as something separate from us, and that we have to change our behaviour, and that we have to be responsible for each other, because we are "all in this together", that’s an immediate practical response of exactly the kind you would expect. At a practical level, it is an intelligent response. But there is more to it.  

That kind of responsibility is always for something outside the self. The self that nature brings into existence through the principle of the brain. It is essentially responsibility for something outside this mind we are being. As it arises through brain function. 

To really come up to speed with where, on the whole we are, in our scientific understanding, is to realise that responsibility as human beings is about being responsible for our tendencies, and for the nature of this mind and self that we are being. As it arises through the principle of the brain.

What we are embarking on, globally, as you can see if you so much as keep up with the daily news, is a process of what we might appropriately called meltdown. Some places it is gradual, other places it is, or is going to be, catastrophic. This process of meltdown we are now in, is not just environmental. There is a wider process of meltdown going on. It is even in science too. 

There are a number of crises that are taking place in science, and in the way that it is done. Not least the way in which politics has come into science. And also what is being referred to as a "reproducibility crisis". This refers to the fact that many published scientific papers refer to experimental results that subsequently turn out to be not reproducible.  

We are at the beginning of a process of meltdown in what we, as a global network mind, currently believe, about who we are, how this world works, and what this world is, in which we live. 

The most general description of this crisis would be as a pressure being brought to bear on us, to wake up from naivety. That is, the naive view of our constitution and situation. 

There is of course, even today a faction of the Western mind network, that is still tacitly clinging to the old school idea of separation between mind and matter. The one that Descartes proposed way back in the 17th century. 

Others will say that the material universe has a great deal to do with us by Divine design. But it is usually believed in a way that still regards the objective material world as independent of our own experience of being as self. And for that matter (excuse the pun), something other than a construct of brain function. 

The thing about network mind is that it changes. Because the only thing that is sustainable about it, is the basic way it works. Which is an extension of the principle of the brain. And so this current vogue for scientific materialism is actually unsustainable. It is unsustainable to carry on thinking we can separate our understanding of our situation, from knowledge of our self, the brain, and knowledge of our own mind.

It is unsustainable to think that we can go on growing in scientific knowledge and understanding, without understanding the nature of the intelligence that is doing the understanding. 

Beyond old school naivety, the first thing that has to happen is to awaken into the realisation that we don’t truly understand anything until we understand the mind that is doing the understanding. Really, that only begins to happen when we go beyond the "who I am" idea on which the commonplace workings of this mind are erected, even when we are thinking objectively. Being objective is insufficient. We have to become transpersonal.  

What that means, to truly comprehend how important that is, and to come to terms with it, will require a much greater transition or meltdown in our network, than what we see as already happening. 

Greater than what we underwent in coming to terms with the fact that the Sun, and not the Earth, is at the centre of the solar system, or that these bodies of ours, are evolutionary, animal, ape bodies. 

Globally, true responsibility for our situation as human beings is not something we are currently achieving very successfully. We are, as a race of beings, currently entrenched in a complex web of past ways of being and understanding. 

Going to the next level of comprehension of our own constitution and situation in nature, goes hand-in-hand with going to the next level of responsibility. And that is not something that can happen without the meltdown of old ideas, and ways of being.

There is no way of getting where we need to get to, whilst still clinging to the avoidance of responsibility, and naive materialism. Globally, internationally, we now have more of a grasp of collective global responsibility. But we are still heavily immersed in naive materialism. Which is the idea that we are living in a material world that in itself, has nothing to do with us other than that we are in it. This belief is a clear sign of the very characteristics and tendencies of mind that cause our problems in the first place.

Getting beyond where we collectively are now, is not something that the network of our minds can just achieve in itself. It actually requires change in the individual. Real change in the individual. And not just change that comes about because the network changes, and the individual goes along with it.

When enough individuals in the network do undergo real change, then the network changes. It changes in a way that it cannot do otherwise. It is the difference between epiphany and social engineering.

When sufficient of this necessary change in the network takes place, then those in the network who cannot really change in the necessary way, can still superficially change by going along with what the network is doing. Which currently, is what pretty much the whole world has done, anyway, in becoming Westernised.

But what this new world doesn’t need, is more of the same. More of the same old, contemporary Western thesis, that as an individual, your only human responsibility is to things outside your self. Like the planet, or the network of "us".

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