Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

With life better than ever, why doesn’t it feel like it?

According to Dr. John Vervaeke, “there is a recent and steady surge in the search for meaning. Interest in mindfulness, psychedelic experience, transformative and mystical experience, as well as interest in wisdom and the search into ancient philosophies, like stoicism and Buddhism”.

There is also an academic uptick and public interest to study meaning in life. Is there a unifying account for why this is happening? What is it about todays world that drives people in record numbers to search for meaning?

Distrust in every institution, apocalypse, suicide, cynicism, the imminent collapse of civilization, the decline civility, all of these things are pervasive and they are now taken for granted as inevitable”. But are they? Statistically this is the best time ever to be alive—why doesn’t it feel like it?

Fall Camp

For centuries we have been influenced by a dominant mythology that turned out to be inadequate, Yet we seem to be happier overall, living with a displaced sense of meaning vs no meaning at all. We are in transition to a higher level of consciousness and wisdom. Change is sometimes painfully inept at explaining itself, but one thing seems to be clear—humanity is seeking something better in frustration to form a cohesive philosophy that results in contentment.

Religion has been exposed—so now what? The head-game of Hebrew religion and faith as a virtue has proven inadequate to take us to the next level. Everybody seems to know better, yet at this moment nihilism seems to be a rising tide, while crystals, tarot, psychedelic experience, mystical driven merchandise is setting record sales.

The most depressing thing in the world is turning back to the things that got you right where you are now—but what alternative is there?

All italics Dr John Vervaekeprofessor of cognitive science, University of Toronto, “Awakening From The Meaning Crisis”

Stick Man

Physics and Mysticism

Where western science meets eastern mysticism—bootstrapping vs intuition

“All this was familiar to me from my research in high-energy physics, but until that moment I had only experienced it through graphs, diagrams and mathematical theories. As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I saw cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I saw the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I heard its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus— Frifjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

In essence the dance of Shiva, a high speed representation of the atomic level—high energy movements, pulsations, and rhythms.

“I was particularly attracted to the puzzling aspects of Zen which reminded me of the puzzles in quantum theory. At first, however, relating the two was a purely intellectual exercise. To overcome the gap between rational, analytical thinking and the meditative experience of mystical truth, was, and still is, very difficult for me.—Frifjof Capra

Mysticism is utilizing what has been experienced, while physics is theorizing, describing, and viewing the fields behind the instruments of what is probable. They have the same descriptions of matter and energy—one through boot strapped logic and rigorous tests, the other through intuition and the meditative arts.

Yet throughout the ages these displays of the cosmic dance are interpreted differently, based on the available language, technology, and culture. How would Black Elk describe this today? “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

Or the Incas and their depiction of Alpa Camasca, meaning “animated earth”, or the Kofan and their ability to “intuitively” read the vibrations of plants and communicate their usefulness in language and practice—through a special process of seeing the cosmic rhythms.

At the same time, everything is more than it appears, for the visible world is only one level of perception. Behind every tangible form, every plant and animal, is a shadow dimension, a place invisible to ordinary people but visible to the shaman”—Wade Davis, on the people of the Piraparaná, Amazon

So there we have it (there are many more) multiple cultures and even physicists describing a world very different from our normal level of magnification, each pointing to the universe as a unified cosmic dance—a dance without a regulating force.

In other words I feel, no longer a stranger in the world, but that the external world were my own bodybut a very overwhelming feeling that everything that happens, everything that I have ever done, anything anyone else has ever done, is part of a harmonious designthat there is no error at all—Alan Watts

It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet—Werner Heisenberg

What about when 10 lines of thought, jungles, and time irrelevant meeting at the doorstep of modern physics? Is that evidence?