The Element of Illusion

“Everything we call real is made of things that can’t be regarded as real”—Niels Bohr

First let me preface, I am an atheist. There are arguments for “something else”, but I don’t know what that means. I am not protective of my atheism (finding what people call god would be a prize winning effort) but I do struggle with the term and how it’s been defined beyond the reach of understanding.

Life itself is some type of illusion (deceived by our own relativity?) What you see on the surface seems so real and tangible (mass) yet is hardly anything tangible at all but energy (what is that?) and According to Einstein, energy and mass are equivalent (that’s the message of E=mc2) But our interpretation of how solid an object is purely relative. How would we know any different than what we are relative to our surroundings (insert puddle analogy) It seems so “there”, but is only a form of energy, which we know little about.

In physics, the kinetic energy (KE) of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion. KE= 1/2 mv2. In emergency medicine, we alway want to know how fast the car was going, etc, so the severity of injury and patterns can be predicted. Stopping that motion releases a lot of joules, and how quickly it stops is the difference between life and death.

Earth is energy in form, hurling through orbit at 66,000 mph and spinning—and the energies accumulated to reach that speed it still possesses.

Ideas on the other hand, have no energy. Life has evolved into the lazy mans game, gaining 90% of our knowledge by opinions and papers, instead of experience. There is little horse-sense applied to solving problems, but persuasion turned to belief rules the culture. While utility inspired the idea, now the idea has a life of its own. Man, now disconnected from his environment lives in a life of barriers—and through opinion develops ideas on how to master that environment.

Since the idea has no mass, the end of arguing over beliefs would drown without a whimper—no explosions or mass casualties. It would be like cancelling church during a pandemic. Would anybody have even noticed if it weren’t for a few showmen insistent on keeping there ideas alive for cash flow?

Anyway, Christian influence has the world at odds—because of belief (everyone is compelled to take sides) The appeal to faith also uses no energy, but is the path of least resistance where belief now trumps utility—now the way of the world. The nature that evolved the man no longer exists. There were more sustainable philosophies, but it appears to be too late for that. We are now in the puddle of belief, and for most of the world it’s a perfect fit.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

154 thoughts on “The Element of Illusion”

  1. Can we go back a bit?What exactly is a universal mind? Is it a computer-like memory bank of all the things people have discovered, imagined, ideated, conceived of, believed in, or is it an actual consciousness, one that can make decisions on its own, that can add 2+2 and see it equals 7, that can look into a future and see what it can direct itself to become?
    My own theory is that a universal mind, is not one thing, but a vast array of memories that could be used, if it were conscious, to choose who it wants to be. Right now, though, as in the universal “now,” is still storing data that mayhap, someday, might reach a point like instaneous combustion without help from anyone. Isn’t that basically happens to a child’s mind at some point.
    When did “you” first become conscious that you were a person in your own right? For myself I cannot remember an instant of becoming conscious, but rather a series of events that called my attention to the fact I was becoming. Becoming what, I did not know yet, but something that was/is/will continue to be greater than the whole of my being.
    IF there is a universal mind, I do not think it has reached this stage yet. For now it is a storehouse of information, but it is not yet able to reason, to make decisions, to cause purposeful change. This is what makes sense to me, and speaks loudly to me.
    There can be no such thing as god, if there were the universe would already be perfect. It is very imperfect, right up to the point that chaos is the norm. We can try to control our little corners of the world. but we can never control all of it, Neither can a universal or cosmic mind control , not yet.

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    1. Why would a universal mind be concerned with controlling anything? Control always diminishes. To me “universal mind” which I call spirit, is a constant process of giving and adding without restrictions. Restrictions – control – are imposed by lesser powers driven by megalomania and fear.

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      1. Hi S’T,
        There are many ways of looking at something such as the Universal Mind, if there even is such a thing. Humans, especially Christians or ex-Christians, like to think of the Universal Mind as a god-like being, one that makes decisions about living beings, or ways to shape the thoughts of living beings. You like to talk about “the Matrix” as being a living thing, one that controls the minds and actions of others. Isn’t this like giving that Matrix control of life, at least on earth? Sounds to me like it does.
        This is why I prefer to think of Universal Mind as a data receptacle, a place where information can be found without a bias to it. The world is round. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a simple datum.Useful spiritually? Of course not. Spirituality is related to our world, but not the shape of our world. Spirituality would not differ if the world was flat.
        Further, the Universal Mind of necessity would have to have everyone, every living being anywhere in the cosmos, be a part of it and have access to it. You and I (and others) know this is not true. A great number of earthfolk do not know they are part of the Universal Mind, so they are apart from it. That means it 8s not universal in the extreme, but only to that group of beings who recognize they are part of it.
        Yes, I am purposefully speaking in circles, because circles are endless. How does a new mind coming to the Universal Mind break into the perfection of a circle. There is no opening for it.
        My stance is still that there is still no universal mind at present.The universe is still not conscious. And that is where we myst start from…

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        1. Rawgod: Hopefully just a few points. If there is no universal mind, which to me is neither here not there, or whether the universe is conscious or not, same, I am not concerned about the universe. My focus is on the infinity and eternity of the cosmos and its endless shades and shapes of reality. Why not start “out there” and move in, see what we can bring in to fit with out own reality? Does the cosmos have a mind? Well, logically if I can claim to have a mind and if I am NOT the cosmic mind, then I am a reflection of something other than myself… or I have to accept that I am that cosmic mind. Not ready for that one yet! 😏
          When I speak of the Matrix I am not speaking of some evil spirit entity in opposition to life spirit but of something mean and nasty that exists also within this universe. We call them the Time Lords. They are the programmers of sentient life that it may serve their desires. The worst kind of controllers. It isn’t a “thing” but a power group. We will need to grasp this and learn to deal with it if we ever hope to discover what it means to have real freedom. Our rulers which are dredged from the worse examples of heartless psychopathy, represent the micro of the power macro we exist under. These rulers are servants of the Matrix and receive perks for their obedience. I’ve mentioned this before but the lone voice in the wilderness is seldom heard – and why should it when all it does is cause trouble?
          Back to Uni. mind, not aware that you are a part of a much greater system doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence I think I read somewhere. Being within universal mind (spirit) doesn’t require awareness of it anymore than a fish swimming the ocean require that the fish be aware of the ocean’s existence as an ocean, have an understanding of how it came about and how and why it functions as it does. The average fish can just be a fish and live according to certain “rules” of survival. I don’t know if there are philosopher fishes. Universal mind, or spirit, is not a closed system at all, just the opposite: it is open ended in every possible direction. When we realize our own infinity and eternity; when we set definite purpose for our own life, that is when we begin to interact with and participate in the endless process of … I don’t want to call it “creation” for that is not how I see it, but a process of expansion and experimental development, what in the movie by that name they called “The 13th Floor.”

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          1. The Matrix, The Time Lords, The 13th Floor, all fiction movies. I know nothing about the last one, but the other two would never have been allowed to be released if they were true. They are just figments of some writers’ fantasies. I know you think they are real, but really? What good would it do these evil-doers to have them exposed. The movies were certainly were not made in secret. Any such evil doers would have kiboshed them before they ever hit the planning stage. But no one stopped them.
            You are not a lone voice, but you are one voice. One of many, each with their own theories of what is really happening on this world, in this universe, in the cosmos. Except, they all not only have Terran names, they all have Terran English names. Is English the Lingua Franca of billions of billions of planets in millions of millions of galaxies in the Multiplex of universes present day scientists are telling us exist. No, English is a Germanic language conceived here on earth, absorbing words and names from other languages like a sponge absorbs water. Yet there are no alien words in English. Why is that?

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            1. @Rawgod
              What the hell is wrong with you, man? I’ve been watching Doctor Who since I was 6 years old. He is a Time Lord and in all his or even her different manifestations he/she spoke English.
              Also Star Wars and Star Trek and among the oodleplex of star systems where aliens abound, English is spoken by all of them.
              It’s just like with Jesus. If the KJV & English was good enough for him …. oops sorry … Him then it should bloody well be good enough for a bunch of aliens.
              Get a grip RG and stop being so narrow-minded for the non-gods’ sake.

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            2. I have chatted with Sha Tara in the past about her experience. Whether these things are real or imagined, it certainly had an impact and also a healing of a chronic disability which from what I recall, was instantaneous. We discussed the power of the mind to do these things, and that part is really amazing, however that worked. She was also open to those possibilities, but really, how can one know if something like this happens to them whether it was real or imagined—or is there even a difference?

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            3. Thanks for that Jim. I think my response to rawgod “illustrates” what I’ve been attempting to describe. I’ll repeat this: the Teachers taught me to value another’s life above my own, and I asked, in a comment, what would this world be like if we all valued another’s life above our own?

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            4. Nope, no difference to the other, but a great difference to the one. I know, I am a one to whom something happened, and yes, I changed totally. And if it wasn’t real, I don’t care, I like the changes.
              Yes, I know S’T went through something, I’m not denying she didn’t. But I don’t think she is telling us the whole story, and I don’t know why not. I keep trying to get at it. I won’t be satisfied till I do.

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            5. Nope, no difference to the other, but a great difference to the one. I know, I am a one to whom something happened, and yes, I changed totally. And if it wasn’t real, I don’t care, I like the changes.
              Yes, I know S’T went through something, I’m not denying she didn’t. But I don’t think she is telling us the whole story, and I don’t know why not. I keep trying to get at it. I won’t be satisfied till I do.

              rawgod: I know your comment wasn’t addressed to me but I meant to respond in some way. First, what struck me as odd is your statement that something that changed you totally might not be real. It had to be real enough to implement that change, no?
              To “telling the whole story” of what happened to me, that is something else. First, it was something that had already been in the works, as I was made aware of in being shown how to access past, and even future, lives. This is a timeless, unending story of change which all those who are evolving into the mental state called “human” must eventually come to realize. It’s a strange and fascinating story, not for everyone, certainly. In some bits of writing, I mentioned being of those who sided with Lucifer in HER rebellion against “divine” forces in some distant place called Eden, not the fake Eden of biblical note, but that known to Christians as “heaven.” In other writings I described a life as a member of the mer people, proto-humans who lived in the vast oceans of the world known as Tiamat. I mentioned that Tiamat was destroyed in a political controversy over who would rule this solar system and since Tiamat had become Lucifer’s seat of power, she was once again defeated and her world destroyed. I have explained how Lucifer’s challenge is the source of our curse of misogyny and racism. I have mentioned how the world we know as Earth is but a part of the destroyed Tiamat. I have also written about an interaction I had with “myself” on Earth approximately 1000 years into this world’s future. And of course I have written extensively about my own life in the here and now, what motivates and pushes me; what my chosen purpose is; how my lifestyle has given me quasi-perfect health for over 40 years now without any need for any Earthian medical intervention, including drugs – no accidents, no serious illnesses, just the usual colds and flus which are necessary to tune up the physical body’s immune system.
              Obviously my story, and yours, aren’t something that can be told in a post or a comment! If you have any specific questions that might help to satisfy your curiosity, fire away. I’ll answer as best I can which is all anyone can do.

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            6. Ah, S’T, I do wish English was your first language, inasmuch as you miss so much of what I say. I guess that’s my fault, because I can only express myself as I learned how. So let’s start with the fact of course my comment was directed to you. I cannot come to your blog anymore, so when the chance arises to poke the bear (read: get your attention) I take it.
              What happened to me, and inside me, was REAL, to me. I don’t expect anyone to believe what I say about it, I just hope they listen and consider, does rawgod have anything worth investigating. Yes or no doesn’t matter. I do not like telling anyone what to believe, that is for people not in tune with their spiritual selves. Belief is only as good as the lifetimeone is living in. Who knows what knowledge, wisdom, or beliefs will come in the next reincarnation. There is always a next reincarnation. We just don’t necessarily know where.
              As for me asking you leading questions, that is not the way I operate. You know what you know. If you want to tell me you will. If you don’t want to tell me, you won’t.

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            7. I was made aware of in (sic) being shown …

              Whatever does this mean? Who or what was making you “aware”? Are we talking mental visions or actual personages with flesh and blood?

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            8. For rawgod, and quote: “The Matrix, The Time Lords, The 13th Floor, all fiction movies. I know nothing about the last one, but the other two would never have been allowed to be released if they were true. They are just figments of some writers’ fantasies.”
              True, and granted. I am using a literary technique called “illustration” and I think it is quite common. In fact anything represented by words, symbols, images, are illustrations, not the real thing. Writers put out ideas and many do it to point out problems, or solutions to problems rather than merely entertain. It is up to the readers/watchers however to decide whether to pay attention to the “lessons” or to just be entertained and get nothing more out of the book, movie, discussion.
              But there is more “Oh boy!” stuff I need to explain. In “my” world, everything is real, however it is demonstrated. Pink elephants are real because they can be described. There are no illusions or fantasies, i.e., non-existent somethings, because nothing is impossible and fiction is impossible. You can’t depict it without bringing it into some reality. Once the concept of “it’s all real” becomes a normal part of one’s life the mind expands by leaps and bounds – but that is volitional. It can be told but that’s it. My Tweety Bird is real, yours is a cartoon on a TV but I’ll get more “information” out of my Tweety than you will from yours.
              Why are we discussing here? For the fun of it? To score points? To mock each other’s ideas, put each other down? To endlessly “define” terms that do not need defining? I am here because I read interesting ideas and equally interesting comments. Even when I disagree, or take something out for a ride on some tangent, there is much scope for learning. We live in a terribly skewed world, chock full of criminal social injustice and that needs to be addressed. On that note, I’m switching to Jim’s new blog post to comment there.

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  2. “There are arguments for something else”

    Sure. But is there actual empirical evidence in support of those claims for something else? Because absent that, you’ve merely exchanged one system of unfounded beliefs with another.

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    1. So to hint at a consciousness arising outside the organic, rather preceding the organism is out of the question scientifically?
      Philosophically it would make sense to me that the one thing nobody can identify is probably it. The Buddhist says were it. But how would it know it? There has been a common theme with mystics throughout history that claim to have seen it (I and the father are one?) as well as the shaman, the voodoo acolytes, etc. I am curious about these practices and what it is that they actually see, or is this just another illusion of a flat line brain?

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      1. Again, where is the evidence supporting the proposition that consciousness can arise or exist apart from living organisms? Moreover, the existence of a timeless, disembodied, non-physical consciousness pretty much defines the primary quality attributed to Allah/YHWH. So how do you you reconcile your simultaneous acceptance and rejection of same proposal?

        And finally, I think that the multiplicity of conflicting conscious thoughts creates a strong counter-argument against the proposal for the existence of some unified universal consciousness.

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        1. Well said. ”I think that the multiplicity of conflicting conscious thoughts creates a strong counter-argument” Does it in your opinion, really, when the interpretation of these perceptions, dreams, visions, “revelations”, etc, totally subject to the limits of language structure and culture, putting into words in various ways their claims? The parallel might be describing quantum computing (or even quantum anything) so even the lay person can grasp the idea, even though none of us but a select few have seen the experiments.
          The way my brain works, it is always connecting disparate ideas. I look at a blade of grass and can trace out a thousand connections to human behavior. Maybe it’s a curse, but I also know there are those with superior reasoning skills that I have to put a bit of trust in until I see it clearly. This is one of those moments because I do know a second language, which is eye opening yet even adds more layers of complexity.

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          1. I hold that consciousness is an artifact of neuro-chemical reactions within the brain because there is a strong correlation between physical brain injuries and mental impairment. To prove me wrong, all you’d have to do is produce evidence of just one person who retained his/her full mental faculties following a lobotomy.

            To address you other points:

            I agree that knowing multiple languages (especially those learned while young) provides you with a greater perspective of the world. Nonetheless, I still view it as another skill set rather than some inexplicable extraordinary power.

            Ditto for your perceived congruence of thoughts with your mother from afar. Which is more likely to be the case: some combination of shared genetic materials and environmental conditioning to each others thought patterns and habits, or some inexplicable force of nature?

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            1. I hold there is an explanation over supernatural. Everything is eventually natural after it is understood. Thanks Ron, always appreciate your insights.

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        2. Unfortunately man remains too much like the earthworm attempting to describe and understand the purpose of an elephant. If “it” can’t be described, then “it” doesn’t exist? No elephant in this room, just illusions? Some “scientific” people actually do want to “see” the elephant, but on their own terms. Put that elephant under my microscope so I can study it and I will accept it exists once splattered on my slide? What if man’s mind and all of his instrumentation are simply inadequate to make any rational comment about the existence of an intelligent universal mind? Why not say well, it makes more sense there would be such a thing than not, so let’s proceed with that assumption and deal with what we can deal with? In other words, why do we need to have our hubris in the mix or worse, running the show? Why not allow those who can tap into aspects of cosmic intelligence the freedom to have their thoughts and expound on them? Is it pride, or fear of a challenge one’s “science” won’t be able to counter, therefore suppress it before it spreads? The Catholic church tried that and it led to the Protestant reformation. Suppression (by whatever means) of non-conforming ideas is fascism and that inevitably leads to violence.

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          1. Call me stubborn, but I’m a hardcore empiricist who greets all unevidenced claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.

            Nonetheless, I also subscribe to the doctrine of “live and let live”. You are more than welcome to believe whatever you want to believe or follow whatever path you choose to follow so long as you extend the same courtesy to others. I only take issue with those who want to impose their personal beliefs on me.

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            1. I believe we were talking about “spirit” but “it” could be anything, including the cousin on the Addams Family. If I remember “spirit” doesn’t exist for you because it lacks empirical evidence whereas it exists for me because of personal evidence. There is such a thing as personal evidence… things an individual experiences that others have not experienced, at least not in exactly the same way. I’m not forcing my views upon you, Ark, just saying that I have these experiences and no amount of denial of their possibility coming from any other source can ever change that. Even if I just made it up for my own, let’s say, edification, or to rationalize happenings I have experienced, it still remains a part of me which no one, regardless of their a priori knowledge or their power over me, has the right to try to remove from me. I could deny it “from” myself, out of fear; need to belong, or from too much abuse incurred over “it” but “it” would still be a part of me. Again, to keep the record straight, I believe we were discussing spirit. ““What senses do we lack that we cannot see or hear another world all around us?” ― Frank Herbert, Dune. How many times have I asked myself that very same question! How do we give ourselves meaningful purpose if all we insist on knowing is this one, little, dead-end life? How could there not be more?

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            2. There are a great many people who will swear blind they were abducted by aliens.
              Of course, such testimony is generally regarded as … well, waffle.
              Odd though don’t you think that such testimonies only began to surface once we became aware of what ”aliens” and flying saucers were?
              And before long most of these accounts of aliens had similar elements – especially as to how the aliens looked. I’m sure you know the ”look” I’m referring to, yes?

              So I take what people say about spirits etc with a pinch of salt and normally chalk it up to an over active imagination brought on by cultural influence of one sort or another.
              All very similar to what the god-botherers whine on about regarding prayer and
              Jesus in their heart.
              Believe what ever you like …. ’tis a free(ish) world after all.
              As long as any children are spared this nonsense.

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            3. Actually there are many mentions of “alien” abduction in the Sumerian records… and in the bible as well. Not such a new idea at all. Both Enoch and Elijah were “taken up” by God according to the bible. Real or myth, the point is the idea is quite old. Let me add to your fun here, I wasn’t taken up, “they” came to me. Not quite as exciting perhaps but it did change my life. And just to add to the mix, these “they” do not have gods, or a God – not part of their reality. In their reality you are your own god, only they refer to that as being self empowered or self empowerment. Are you going to ask me to define that for you as well? ☺

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            4. One thing that intrigues ms me about your story. If it is what actually happened it is fascinating. If it isn’t, how it happened is just as interesting in a different way. But it is yours alone to tell.

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            5. Yes, it is an interesting story. There was a time when I didn’t believe it myself, but the evidence was irrefutable and remains so to this day. And I remain humbly thankful.

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            6. One thing that would help is evidence, and by that I mean this; was there any verifiable, new information you received in your experience that you could not have possible known otherwise? Did you come across any historical figures or evidence of events or places not previously known?
              Most mystical experiences build on details you already have. Such as, without having names or proper context many people have a similar experience and say it was Jesus (I have a coworker like this). When I asked how he knew, he said he just knew it was Jesus. But failed to ask his name. He interprets his experience based on his indoctrinations and expectations.

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            7. Do you want a book, Jim? Yes I have names. Places. History. Yes I certainly have knowledge of truly “ancient” history dealing with a time this earth didn’t exist. Yes, I have traveled this universe and beyond and seen pretty amazing things. None of that is believed by anyone, of course, and of course. These things don’t sit well with the status quo as they tend to make a mockery of man’s pseudo-history, religions and sciences.
              Before my encounter at 4:30PM April 19, 1979, I could barely walk and was seriously contemplating suicide. Within six months of chaotic re-arranging of my life, including a divorce, I was doing long distance cycling and running. Apart from my full-time job I was active on several committees, writing reports for papers and magazines, speaking on radio and TV, running on 3-4 hours of sleep. I had dreams and visions, as well as teaching “thought forms” to interpret and put in practice. Modus operandi was change, change and more change. For some 20 years I had three main “Teachers” or sponsors: YLea and El Issa, from a world they call “Altaria” and Phaelon who would simply say that he hailed from the area we call the Orion constellation. When challenged to choose a life purpose and I chose compassion, I had to undergo a test: to offer to give my own life in trade for another, in our opinion wrongfully committed and sentenced to die. I entered this “deal” and the other, after 2 years of deliberations and possibly the embarrassment of my presence in the mix, was set free. I was taken into my last past life in order to meet 3 men who were instrumental in having me tortured to death as a member of the French resistance during WWII. The point was to meet with them and forgive them. It was an extremely emotional meeting as it took place “at that time” and the men were wearing their SS uniforms.
              By the year 2000 I was left to my own devices to continue this path I had chosen. To practice compassion and to learn how to function within the System without being part of it. There is so much more but I believe that each individual must find her/his “connections.” Time to grow up and realize we can no longer live by clinging to the shirt tails of others we think we can trust to tell the truth and to lead. No such individuals. We can all use good teachers but what we don’t need is gurus, leaders and rulers.

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            8. Thanks for the question, Nan. I had no idea what “a state of conscious suspension” could be but I found this on Yahoo: Conscious suspension is the specific absence of conscious cognition. It is a state that is sought in many meditation and self hypnosis techniques. In effect it is the freeing of the mind from conscious awareness without loss of consciousness.

              I suppose it’s possible. But that would only apply on the very first occasion. Afterwards interactions with “the Teachers” as I thought of them was as normal as any discussion with anybody else. Often one would ride with me as I did a lot of driving in those days. Other times one of them would show up when I was kayaking on the Fraser river nearby. It was on one of those low rocky islands so common on this part of the river that El Issa first broached the topic of a possible life trade. I still remember as that was a real shocker even though I knew by then that my life had passed from its focus on the physical to a more “mind without a body” reality and that I would not be left alone to deal with the fallout. Did she already know I would never be called to take the other person’s place in prison while waiting for an execution date? Acceding to the request seemed to me the logical response. I had been given a new lease on life, now I had the opportunity to trade that to save the life of a much younger person. We receive but to give back – part of the process of enlightenment. To get back to your question, that meeting with El Issa seemed normal to me, like someone asking you to do something you both know you are equipped to do. I have often wondered what this world would look like if all of us put more “value” on another person’s life than on our own?

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            9. While I am prepared to acknowledge your sincerity of belief in this regard are you familiar with the story of Betty and Barney Hill?

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            10. I hope you realize that from a bystander’s viewpoint you sound like you’re communicating with empty space while “believing” there’s someone there. If you’re doing this “out loud,” I would suggest you limit your “discussions” to private places. 🤨

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  3. “persuasion turned to belief rules the culture”
    That is so true. Did you catch the news that our government recently abolished the separation of church and state doctrine? We the taxpayers are now shouldering the salaries of clergymen (and women) during the Covid crisis.

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    1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” means that the government cannot pass laws favoring one religion over another.

      The SEC. 1102.7(a) LOAN PROGRAM of the CARES ACT provides relief to any business concern or nonprofit organization (including churches, mosques, temples, etc) having no more than 500 employees on the payroll.

      How is this a violation of the separation of church and state doctrine?

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        1. Indirectly, yes. But as noted above, the first amendment was intended to prevent the establishment of a state-sponsored religion (like the Church of England) rather than a blanket restriction on supporting religion per se. Moreover, the IRS deems clergy as employees for tax purposes (but self-employed for SS purposes) and requires them to remit quarterly payments like every other self-employed individual. Thus a strong argument can be made that the state/church separation was violated long ago when religious organizations were forced to register as tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporations. under federal law.

          Please note that I’m not defending the support the public funding of religion so much as arguing that the knife cuts both ways: if government wants to regulate the affairs of religious organizations, it then becomes obligated to treat them identical to every other tax-exempt organization.

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          1. Tax-exempt status is a huge benefit to religious organizations, not a burden. They are permitted to be exempt from all payroll taxes, as well. And all but one state permits them to be exempt from state unemployment tax as well. Therefore they are not being treated the same as any other non-profits and do not qualify to receive tax dollars to pay clergy.

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            1. Agree, organized religion is on a permanent “bailout” free ride at the expense of taxpayers, many of whom, non-religious people, if they realized the amounts thus spent would go apeshit. But it’s so “subtle.”

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            2. It doesn’t change the fact that under law:

              – all tax-exempt organizations must be treated equally
              – the loan money can only be used to meet payroll expenses
              – clergy are deemed to be employees for taxation purposes
              – all U.S. citizens (and resident aliens) are required to pay income taxes

              None of the above tax laws violate the first amendment clause prohibiting congress from passing laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, because they neither establish or prohibit religious activities.

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            3. As I pointed out to you, religious organizations are not being treated the same as other non-profits as far as payroll taxes are concerned. This bailout law is ignoring that fact and making a major change in how the government deals with religious organizations. It should be cause for concern.

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            4. Sure. The tax code has all manner of rules and regulations and exemptions for different taxpayers. But this still does not violate the 1A.

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    1. This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’—Douglas Adams

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    1. Not lazy, just too much time on my hands. Without something to do with the brain continues to work regardless. Nothing is born of utility anymore just thinking and opinions

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  4. I would tend to agree that ideas have no mass, but they’re more akin to light than anything else. Light has no mass, but it can affect matter. Ideas do not carry mass, but they do have an effect on behavior. This has been true for at least as long as humanity has been able to record ideas.

    In that way, I don’t think that the world had more “horse-sense” than it does today. The difference is that ideas have a higher velocity. They can spread further and faster due to advances in literacy, writing, publication, and mass media. People are able to get lost in their ideas because they can find them more easily.

    I think this distinction is important because it shows why people might remain lost in a set of ideas (be it conspiracy theories or mysticism or logical fallacies). Ideas can have an attraction beyond any demonstrable effects they carry. That attraction will sustain a less useful idea for longer time.

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  5. i think ‘unreal’ is a better word. and the fact that all changes, is proof of its unreality.
    and only a real state can know an unreal state.

    the illusion is created by the fact that we take the subject (me) to be a stable, concrete thing. all our life is spinning around this concept. and, if looked at deeply and diligently, is found to be totally imaginary and false. this idea of a separate ‘me’ limits our true perception of reality. it as like molding a vessel and forgetting that the air contained inside is exactly the same air as outside the vessel.

    all true spiritual paths (buddhism, zen, yoga, sufism, etc) aim at breaking down this false concept. that is the only purpose of ‘spirituality’. nothing to do with anything magical, supranatural, or other nonsense. it is realizing your own true being, naked of any false ideas

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    1. and i will add, it takes a certain emotional maturity, an uncompromising desire for nothing less than the truth to take this journey. it’s very easy to take new garments, a new philosophy, a new idea or belief. there are millions out there. but very few are willing to undergo death of the ‘me’.
      and to truly live, one must die while alive

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      1. If it’s any consolation, nearly half the world understands this philosophy from their youth. It’s interesting and actually should foster unity believing you are all one.

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    2. Hi Monica,
      Is there really a “true spiritual path”? Just because some philosophies/religions/ pseudoreligions seek to break down ego-realities does not make them complete and “true,” for they do nothing to build up an alternate reality of what life can be. Sufism (not sufiism?) I do not know much about, yoga and zen only a.little, but buddhism seeks nirvana, and nirvana is not an end of life, but just a stepping stone. I cannot say what that stepping stone leads to, but I can see it leads to something.
      Taking a long rest after spending many (millions?) of lives trying to learn what life on this plane is all about might be gratifying, but after the vacaton life goes on. It does not stop. If energy is forever, so is life. Yes, the above is only my opinion, I do not pretend to know or understand what else there can be, but I very strongly feel there is more yet to come. Much much more.

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      1. nirvana is a state. like all states, it comes and goes. whatever comes and goes, cannot be It. what is it that is aware of all states coming and going?

        we don’t need to ‘build up’ realities. reality is what is already there. we need to remove the illusions that keeps us feeling as separate entities 😊

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        1. That is a difference between us. I see whatever it is reality is, is always changing, and therefore always becoming. Reality is only that which has gone before, and therefore unchangeable, though it is not necessarily known correctly by us, and therefore changes as we come to know it.
          Don’t know if you watch the “Curse of Oak Island” but the discoveries they are making could change history as we know it. The discovery of a Roman pilum from circa 400 AD, buried beneath 100 ft. of rock, certainly calls the Christofer Columbus theory of the discovery of North America into question. Possibly even predating the Norsemen’s discovery of NA. There is always something new to discover in the past, the present, and the future, as well as other levels of life beyond our present dimension. The only “truths” I can live with are that we can never know everything about anything, and that life is.
          Is what is another discussion all together.

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          1. yes, the happenings always change. but reality is something that doesn’t need becoming. it is. and the mind that is grounded in reality, never goes along with the happening.
            have you noticed, how it is ALWAYS now?

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            1. Now is eternal. Yes, I’ve noticed. But now is just a word, and any description of “now” is different than the now just passed, and barely able to be seen in the now about to come.

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            2. because for you to go to the ‘now that has passed or the one in future’ you can only go with your mind. the birds will always sing in the present moment, regardless of where your mind is.🐦 pay attention to the present moment only, that is where life is.

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            3. To only pay attention to the now is to be satisfied with what is. As we are seeing all around us right now, few people are satisfied with the now, and see the need for change. Black Lives Matter is all about changing the now.
              Yes, life can end in a microsecond, and with it ends the now in this plane of existence. But that doesn’t mean we cannot help make the now better for those who live on after us. The best thing we can do for the world, and life on this world, is openly accept the changes people around us need without trying to control them.

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      2. I agree with the “much more to come”! What would be the point of going through all of “this” if it was a dead end for all of it? “We came, we saw, we screwed with it, we perished.” Hmm.

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    3. Quote: ” only a real state can know an unreal state.” An interesting state-ment… but that brings us back to Jim’s earlier questions about the mystical. What is the “unreal” in your world then? How can a real state actually know an unreal state? What do you do when you encounter a “state” that to you has to be unreal, yet you (as real) have encountered it? How do you label it?
      I was taught that nothing is impossible – not in the usual sense of all things are possible – but in the sense that it is impossible for there to be nothing. “Everything” is real. That was a challenge for quite some time until I learned to accept it. Is a cartoon character real? Yes it is because I can sensually interact with it. Is a thought real before an experience follows? Yes, it is real though it does not become knowledge until followed through with an experience. By the same token, a dream is real. Better put, everything imagined, thought, verbalized or created, exists. Do pink elephants exist? Yes since I can verbalize the idea and furthermore I can actually picture such creatures in my mind. Is my mind then a creator of reality? Absolutely. What we are all, consciously or subconsciously, questing for is knowledge. Our knowledge is how we ultimately define ourselves. The more knowledge we have, the more knowledgeable we become as human beings, the more empowered we are to act on our environments, whether physical or mental. How I see it (now): in our current state we are mental and physical beings. When our body dies we revert back to the mental state, giving us much more freedom of movement though gaining little in experiential knowledge which drives us again to seek a new physical form to incarnate into. The funny thing is anyone could know all of this and still be an atheist. That would be atheism without a dead end.

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      1. when you dream at night, you are convinced the dream is reality. if you are on the edge of a cliff, your fear is real. your heart might even start beating faster. then you wake up. you realize it was all in your head, the dream had no ‘substance’.

        it is the same with the awakened/enlightened man. he has awakened to another reality, and this one can never fool him again. as long as you feel you are an person living a life, you are dreaming. there is a further reality to awaken to.

        and yes, you are right, reincarnation happens only as long as the person thinks they are a person. once the true state is realized, there is nothing to return.
        i’ll give you a hint, you feel you are self-aware. look for that self-awareness inside you, where can you find it? and don’t just cling to an answer you feel might be appropriate. look with attention, and ask yourself ‘how am i self aware’?

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        1. Thomas Huxley famously illustrated the view by likening the relationship between mind and brain to the relationship between a steam-whistle and a locomotive engine. The whistle only accompanies the work of the engine. Just as the steam-whistle is caused by the engine’s operations but has no causal influence upon it, so the mental is caused by the neural goings-on but has no causal influence upon them.or the reverse is it?

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          1. the brain is the neurons. very much like a computer, it interprets, makes sense, classifies. but mind, as buddha found, is everywhere and not located in the head. this is one grave error that leads to the feeling that our mind-space is private.
            one of my friends (a very advanced meditator) said he arrived at such a point he could easily read people’s thoughts. he said stuff out loud, but this made them uncomfortable, so he stopped.
            shows how you and your mother often had same thought at a distance. mind is an entangled space.

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            1. said he arrived at such a point he could easily read people’s thoughts. he said stuff out loud, but this made them uncomfortable, so he stopped.

              Ah, the wonder of hearsay. ” A man in the pub said …”
              Was this techniques ever tested or verified by independent witnesses?
              I feel sure that such a valuable skill would likely attract the attention of the authorities, even the military.
              Did you ever watch the TV series Lie to Me with Tim Roth, by any chance?

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            2. for sure they would attract the military! and all sorts of dubious characters. that’s why the further you go, the less you can speak about it. in the hands of the common man, transcendental knowledge is turned into a mockery 😉

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            3. So, no, then. We only have your friend’s word for it.
              Hey, did you know that a bloke called Jesus once walked on water? I’m serious. It says so in some book called the bible. Honest!

              Just for you …

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            4. True. However, if you did it in a long, floor-length nightdress affair and open-toed sandals you would probably suffer frost bite before you reached the shore – where a Black Bear or even a Grizzly would be licking it’s lips in grateful anticipation of the fact its lunch was personally delivering itself and it didn’t have to stand in freezing water trying to catch salmon.

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        2. Quote: “ask yourself ‘how am i self aware’?”
          My answer: How could I not be self-aware? I am fully aware that I exist as an individual entity apart from any other entity. I may choose to interact with another – yourself for example with this comment – but I remain an individual, making choices, searching, seeking, experiencing, learning. I remember past lives and I have seen myself, as an individual, into a distant future on this world. The dreams I have dreamed have been part of my learning as well as the many visions I’ve had. I have done what people call astral travel; been to some fascinating worlds and met even more fascinating individuals. Those things are mine, no one else’s. Selfish? You bet. I would never give up my personhood to any philosophy, not even one of mine. I don’t know if a drop of water in the ocean is self-aware, or if it’s all one great big sea but I am not a drop of water, I am a human being… a human in the process of being.

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  6. I don’t think being an atheist or not has anything to do with this argument! As a non-atheist I find the argument interesting. I would agree with Steve, in fact have argued it for years, that life is not an illusion, not a dream, not something lived strictly out of a programmer’s agenda. We are self-aware of our own existence and to me that’s a case closed: we are real because our existence, for better or worse, depends on choices we must make each day: what to do, what to eat, what to wear, what to think, what to engage or not. Of course “reality” can be debated to hell and back but it won’t change the fact that I have to go to work in a few minutes and I have some problems to solve on that job. Those problems are real to me, and certainly to my client. Do it wrong and she could end up spending a lot of money she doesn’t have. Do it right and I’m the hero of the moment. As a “fixer” of things that’s been by life’s reality. It’s serious business, just as your medical interventions are, Jim. Those aren’t illusions, certainly not to those who depend on our skills and knowledge.
    I strongly disagree that “the appeal to faith uses no energy.” Perhaps in your particular soft society, that is partially true, but in many places, choosing to follow a certain religious path requires a great deal of courage and commitment to a cause. Americans should try that sometimes. Religious peoples of all faiths have all, at some point or other been persecuted, tortured and killed merely for their beliefs. There are two sides to that story, not just the “pushy” side of Christian fundamentalism. Why do people remain in a religion that leads to persecution, such as the Muslims in Myanmar? Because that is who they are; their faith is an integral part of their reality, not an adjunct of it. I’m not defending Islam here just stating a blatant fact. To “push” faith (spreading propaganda) or to live faith does indeed require energy, just as doing anything at all requires energy: fighting a war, feeding a starving child, lighting a candle in a church.

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    1. Belief or faith may lead to exertion, but that belief in itself is simply an idea one take ms comfort or fear in. This is why the appeal to faith can be so damaging.

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      1. Yes but all of our type of life is based on faith-not religious faith but faith at its lowest common denominator. Faith I’ll be able to take care of my family; faith that things will remain stable; faith the car will start etc. We don’t call it faith but that’s what it is. We could call it expectations but that’s what faith means. To ‘denigrate’ faith because it’s particularly linked to some religion is capitulating to that institution’s bullying tactics and playing semantics. No matter how the game is played, all expressions of faith/ expectations require the expenditure of personal energy even if only as hope or anticipation/ dread.

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          1. If it makes you feel any better Nan, the reason these concepts trip is up is the fact we all think in lines of the judeo/christiian western philosophy. It’s not how people outside of western and islamamoculture view themselves in relation to the world. It stems from a slight skew in origins that we are foreigners here on probation. That we came to the world as part of some master plan to be tested. It spawns a sense of identity that makes life an individual time of reckoning—you vs the world and its temptations.
            Whereas the eastern child is raised that he came out of the earth. It really is in alignment with much of evolution and even atheism, as there is no god, but everything is god. There is no separation, just different outposts on the same organism—or more poetically, ticks on the same hound.

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            1. Your points are well-made. However, in my own life, since I left the “judeo-christian western philosophy” many years ago, I feel I’m no longer bound by that thinking related to my existence.

              I’m not going to argue with you (or Ark or John or Sha’Tara or Monica or rawgod or anyone else) about your personal philosophy of life. If your outlook satisfies you, then so be it.

              Having said that, I admit I do find it interesting to read how others view “life” (and even beyond in some cases), but I guess my personal philosophy is summed up by “It is what it is.” 🙂

              P.S. I also kinda’ like Carpe Diem!

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            2. Carful when you practice Carpe Diem after you’ve been liberated in the Buddhist sense. When you see the game as it is, without discipline you could be trouble!! Especially in Oregon!

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          1. There’s a problem here, Ark. All you seem to be interested in is getting “definitions” for this and that ad nauseam just so you can amuse yourself in poking holes in them and if that won’t work, mocking… a la Donald Trump. I HAVE defined what I mean by faith, you didn’t read it. Why try again? Unless I choose a “definition” that would fit neatly in a “Fun with Dick and Jane” primer you won’t even try to reason “with” the person offering the explanation. Honestly, the game is getting stale. You and Clubschadenfreud should have your own private party.

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            1. The only real problem is that your terminology is misleading.
              I wonder, would you equivocate so much if I asked you to define Evolution?

              To paraphrase the bible: Faith is belief in things unseen and unevidenced.

              And to paraphrase Life of Brian which I consider to be MUCH more on the nail regarding your faith views:
              ”She’s (He’s) making it up as she (he) goes along.”

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            2. Define evolution? It’s an interesting theory but to believe in evolution requires as much faith as to believe in gods for it cannot be observed either. I like adaptation as a concept, and I leave the “problem” of the great beginnings… to the great beginnings. I have no reason to “worry” about how it happened, there’s enough here, right now, to keep my mind occupied. If I can read some history, and if I can go back and/or forth through time and remember past/future lives that is more than enough to chew on.

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            3. Aah … so you are a science denier? Fair enough.
              I don’t mind playing along for a while but eventually I run out of patience with fools.
              If things pan out as they so often do when this topic is raised then someone such as Tildeb – who has oceans more patience than I ever will, should read your comment and offer you the benefit of his wisdom and knowledge.

              Meantime, I hope you enjoy the ”company” of people such as Berlinski etc.

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    2. For me, Sha’Tara’s remark sums it up : We are self-aware of our own existence and to me that’s a case closed.

      Whatever happens … or how it happens … or why it happens … during our “existence” is always open for debate. But IMO, there will never be a “winning” side.

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        1. But to identify as a self, requires there be other. You cannot identity self without the other. You cannot independently be aware of yourself without other. They are one entity, as the Buddha would say, you’ve been conditioned to interpret you as self since the day you were born. The zen master would undo all those beliefs and at the end, liberation from your indoctrination shows it is all one. That it is all one happening and you are it.

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            1. Perhaps. But it’s a topic that, IMO, has no firm and non-debatable answers. We all have our own perspective of “life” and what that entails. What aspect feels comfortable to you … or Sha’Tara … or Jim … of even Ark … is what matters in the long run.

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          1. That might be good, Jim but ‘it’ simply doesn’t add up when you seriously add it up. ‘I am self aware’ means just that in my understanding. Whether that needs interaction with others or not is not relevant. If I were put in a sealed cave at birth and never met any other I would/could still develop self awareness. The same if I were put in ’empty’ space. I think Snoopy said it best: I am too me to die! And so it is self awareness that keeps us from ever truly dying; that makes us eternals in an eternal ever changing reality we accept, adapt to and change at need to the degree that we choose to empower ourselves.

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            1. Oh boy the arguments I could come up with against that whole philosophy, apart from the long-standing historical FACT that it doesn’t work any better than Christianity. No “self” equals no responsibility, no matter how they word it. No “self” means no real existence. What is “really” needed isn’t a worthless, pointless and unworkable philosophy of no self but the discipline of detachment through the very real and eternal self. Sorrow – empathetic interaction with the pain of the world – and joy – empathetic interaction with the well-being of the world both come from compassionate detachment of a “self”. Then, just for the halibut, there’s Myanmar where currently the Buddhist majority is committing genocide against their Muslim minority. Great show that, what? I don’t have the knuckle-chewing dread of my “ego” the way New Agers do… or those who flirt with those teachings, do. The term “ego” is misconstrued. Ego is my “translator” between the “desires” of my mind (which I choose to be the ruler of “me”) and those of my physical self. Without an active ego the body would operate just like any animal body, without input from a vastly more knowledgeable mind to direct it, instilling the sense of discipline and responsibility.

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            2. I love this comment. I’ve never really read any arguments against Buddhism. This reminds me to do so. This is like “what the missionaries won’t tell you in Christianity”, and why I share ideas here. I love it when my argument gets a counter. And look, you never even accused me of believing it.

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            3. I knew you didn’t post on it as a belief – Buddhism is but another religion and you’re an atheist! Perhaps, maybe it would be nice to find a religion that actually worked, that actually came close to following the dictates of its gods and gurus but we’ll always find the opposite to be true. Every religion provides the best ever argument against the existence of its gods. If such gods existed and were as claimed in character the very first thing they would do is defund religion and have its leadership, all of it, bar none, condemned to public trial then execution for grand theft and blasphemy.

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            4. Well Buddhism has some interesting angles. There is no god, but everything is god. It’s all one organism and we’re it. Liberation comes when you see it’s all one show.
              It’s a compelling thing to write about obviously, since it has been at the heart of discussion since man could.
              Even crazy horse who was a great shaman as well as warrior, had his vision quest at 17. This may be redundant to you, but here—Crazy Horse went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one—Black Elk
              Where does this come from and why are different cultures telling essentially this same story from all over and forever? Is this not some type of evidence?

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            5. Quote: “Where does this come from and why are different cultures telling essentially this same story from all over and forever? Is this not some type of evidence?”
              I certainly consider it corroboration of my own experiences with the “mystical” and astral realms. The problem as I see it is that the Western world in particular as it swung away from Christianity and towards a materialistic view of the world has been seduced by what it calls “science” and the need for “empirical” evidence for absolutely everything. This is rank bullshit. Result is that if something can’t be measured by mechanical means then it is thrown out, considered non existent, of no value, or worse, a hindrance to understanding reality as imagined in the laboratory. I think that many people who have turned away from their faith in God have also turned away from anything “spiritual” out of fear that it might lead them back into the religious fold. So best deny on the basis of lack of material evidence that non-material reality exists. It’s also handy to denigrate non-“scientific” thinkers while building up another mind controlling apparatus. Excise all thoughts of non-material reality from the minds of children and up through the education system. Who was famous for indoctrinating children before this? The Catholic church.
              Here’s a thought for the material evolution/material science fraternity: who built the Great Pyramid? Oh, I know, I know! It was a bunch of primitives in skin loin cloths wielding stone axes and wooden rollers who got together on day and decided to build one. For what purpose exactly? Shrug… and let’s move on to the Bronze Age…
              How’s this relevant? Well, if Earthians didn’t build it, who did, and why? Maybe if they took it apart piece by piece they might discover who built it and why. My point is, science is no better than religion. Wha it can’t explain, it ignores and mocks those who demand explanations. Like the old joke goes, “We have not succeeded in solving all your problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.” That to me sums it up rather nicely. Don’t give up on contemplating man’s pre-historical reality, there’s a lot more there than meets the physical senses or that can be analyzed, measured and categorized in a lab and under a microscope. I’ll trust my intuition over technology any day of the week.

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            6. you misunderstand the buddhist concept of no self, Sha’Tara. indeed, buddhism has its own shares of issues (show me any group that doesn’t) but compassion and responsibility for all is at the center of their existence.

              they view self as you view ‘ego’, some point around which your life evolves around. buddhism maintains that idea is merely an illusion, built on mind stuff (memories, desires, fears) and which doesn’t adequately reflect reality. when that illusory idea is seen for what it is, illusion, reality can shine in all its completeness. in no way does it mean that the person ‘disappears’ or becomes irresponsible for his actions. on the contrary, awareness expand exponentially, as everything is seen to have the same source, which Tibetans call the ground of luminosity

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            7. Using a religion to “demonstrate” any truth to me is pouring water on a duck’s back. Buddhism is in no way better than any other religious organization. When it gets power it abuses power, whether its a Buddhist majority in Myanmar committing genocide against its Muslim minority, or an individual Canadian-style Buddhist cheating his landlady (a friend of mine) of her rent, making a mess of her property then leaving. I have met too many Buddhists to be impressed. So let’s leave that failed state behind.

              You speak of a reality in which there is no person, no individual, no self-awareness. That to me is the reality of a line of fence posts in a field joined by barb wire. How can one experience life: joy, sorrow, feel empathy, or express compassion where the dance of life is denied individual performance?

              Jim wrote: “Reality is simply the way we are accustomed to sensing the world. Ethnographer and atheist Wade Davis from Nat Geo says there are many legitimate ways of interpreting the world. I tend to agree. Things aren’t what they seem, even after they seem like it…”

              I believe that each one of us is a story and that story needs to be told freely, openly, honestly, by ourselves just as we wish it to be told. We spend so much time “interpreting” or “challenging” or demanding “explanations” for everything. Explanations, as I am learning here, serve no purpose except to increase the level of misunderstanding. My experience of “my” life consists of stuff your life doesn’t need or want. That’s OK. I need to be a “Self” so that I can function as a sentient and moral being. I need to have a well-tuned, well-functioning ego for the same reason. I can only be complete as an individual – that’s how I express myself. I don’t do any “ism” and I don’t participate in groups except incidentally, such as being labeled a “Canadian” by virtue of living within a particular artificial and ultimately meaningless border. I’m not even an Earthian (wouldn’t want to be!) – I am a human being. I live in the Cosmos. My life resembles much more the lyrics of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” than those of “We are the World.” Long ago I decided I would not die with my music still locked up inside me. To unlock that music I had to become a self-aware, self-empowered, compassionate independent individual and now the music flows as I live my story. This is where I find health, well-being and happiness.

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            8. @ Sha’

              My point is, science is no better than religion

              That’s a point? ROFLMAO.

              I’ll trust my intuition over technology any day of the week.

              Which is probably something similar to what Mary Mallon said while stirring a pot of beans.

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        1. Not sure what you’re asking … but I go back to my original comment. There is no “winning” side. For some, it will never matter how much alternate “proof/evidence” is offered to counter their beliefs (on either side). They will continue to believe what feels comfortable to them … until it doesn’t.

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            1. We’re working VERY hard here in the States to make that a reality. Cross your fingers for us, cause we are getting closer and closer to that reality, especially in bible belt states.

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            2. Cross my fingers? Shouldn’t you be asking for lots of prayers?
              If it comes to pass maybe the Pope will make Ken Ham a Saint? (while he is alive)

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            3. I agree … to a point. If a country were to be led by a dictator who was also a fanatic “god-believer,” perhaps creationism would be taught in school. 😎😊

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  7. To clarify a bit, we live at a level of reality with which we interact. In the same way our eyes perceive only a portion of the light spectrum, we perceive reality based on only a portion of mass/energy in their forms at this level. So it gets confusing to start using terms describing levels of reality very small or very large – outside of the spectrum of reality in which we operate (and the level that affects us) – and suggesting that these other levels reveal our level as some kind of illusion.

    Well, sort of… but not really. And I would argue not necessary. The physics we use to navigate our world as if it were this way works astonishingly well, which means the idea that we are living at this level of reality but which is ‘really’ an illusion (based on on our constrained perception of what is ‘really’ there) is rather misleading… it’s still going to cause physical damage to whack your shin bone (made up mostly of water particles separated by a great deal of ‘space’) on the table leg (made up mostly of ‘space’ except for distant particles that are ‘really’ just energy in another form). That’s reality at this level… no matter how much we may understand what’s ‘really’ there.

    So although I love the puddle analogy as far as getting the explanation exactly backwards by including some element of woo to incorporate explanations of metaphysical and philosophical musings about meaning (it must have been MADE this way by some other consciousness… because I’m so special to it!), we aren’t mistaken with classical physics (we haven’t gotten it backwards) operating at the level at which we exist. Cause DOES precede effect. Who knew? And we can personally test if we’ve gotten it backwards -like the puddle’s consciousness regarding the reliability of its perceptions at this level leading to the wrong explanation – by repeatedly whacking our heads with a hammer and seeing if our heads are, in fact, made up of mostly space but perhaps the particles has damaged the hammer.

    But mostly you are bang on (to keep the analogy going) that imposing our presumptions and assumptions and assertions of belief ON reality as if it explains it (rather than the other way around) and thinking this must be accurate BECAUSE we’re so special is leading us to disaster on so many fronts (populism over principle, woke over liberal, belief over facts, evidence, and knowledge, doubt over likelihood, censorship over freedom, and so on). We keep whacking ourselves with that hammer and expecting a different result because, you know, we’re so very special.

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    1. Rarely do I recall a dream. I do work things out in my sleep though. I’m not sure I’m following you though. Is your last sentence a separate idea?

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      1. Sort of being analogous. Ideas having mass, mass equalling the attractive force of a body. Someone who’s interesting (has many ideas) attracts more people (and possibly things) around him/her.

        If I recall, this was how the Higgs Boson was explained to me. Imagine a party with lots of people milling about. Joe Black walks in and apart from a few Hi Hellos he walks across the floor pretty much alone. Then Obama walks into the party and people converge on him, they want to be around him. Analogously, he has the greater mass/attraction.

        Does that make any sense? I suspect I’m just babbling.

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            1. Haha. Not everything is a masterpiece (believe me I know) You never know though what thought or idea will spark another one (or make somebody angry)

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        1. am gonna challenge you on that, john! 😃 ideas or thoughts are.. energy-forms. by themselves, they are empty if they are not acted on.
          for example, the thought occurs ‘i am lonely’. i accept the thought, i take it as ‘reality’, i act on it, and get further depressed, fall into self pity, etc, etc

          on the other hand, the thought comes, i acknowledge it, but chose to ignore it. instead i focus my attention on something else. the thought passes. it makes no impact.
          it is all up to whom the thought arises and the energy/intent they put behind it. without your attention… what can a thought do?

          in your example, that an interesting person is full of ideas, i’d say that is very subjective. personally… i would run the other way🤣

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            1. no, it wasn’t. most people have this perception about thoughts. that thoughts are somehow true, or real, or important. meditation teaches you to observe them, but pay no attention. in zen they say “let them come in, but don’t serve them tea”. heheh!

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  8. Permission is hereby granted for you to preface.
    I recall one clear hallucination. I saw something plausible, but very unlikely. I really did see it–clearly. I knew that I was hallucinating (under a great deal of stress and sleep deprivation), but that did not make the vision go away. I was aware that I was seeing things.
    I’ve struggled in opposition to the phrase “we each have our own reality” for years. In the mental health fields, that my make sense, but in physics not so much. Or, maybe I’m illusory.
    Permission to postface? Me too.

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    1. Reality is simply the way we are accustomed to sensing the world. Ethnographer and atheist Wade Davis from Nat Geo says there are many legitimate ways of interpreting the world. I tend to agree. Things aren’t what they seem, even after they seem like it…

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  9. Lovely post and “Life itself is some type of illusion” is itself a bit of lazy thinking. We perceive the world around us through our senses. Our senses are crude at best and so we have to “work around” their weaknesses. That doesn’t make them illusory. To claim an illusion is to undermine our ability to work around our senses. It also implies a “mystery” … whose illusion is it? Is there a master illusionist? Etc. This statement is a little like those perplexed by knife edges being made of round, soft atoms. There must be a mystery or an illusion there, no? No.

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