In the last instalment, I guided you through a thought experiment facing the stark reality of Nature’s unforgiving brutality. Separated from civilisation and any man-made objects, you hopefully discovered that your naked body is insufficient to cope with the natural weather, terrain, wildlife and survival. You realised that your life is entirely dependent on other life for survival. Not only animal and plant life for nourishment, but also your fellow humans for support.
Life’s intrinsic need for other life’s death will be a hard truth for many to digest (pun intended). However, to have any hope of peace and detachment at our death, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of Life’s nature.
Life and Nature seem beautiful because of the sanitised comfort and safety, a modern peaceful society provides you. But even civil society rests on a precarious tightrope.
If you’ve experienced the panic that arises from extended technology breakdown (like power grid failure), civil unrest, violent crime, war, food or water shortages, you’d become acutely aware of everyone’s instinctive fight for survival. Everyone instinctively knows once civil order breaks down, it returns to the survival of the strongest, fastest, smartest. Our animal instincts take over. For proof, research any community where order was lost.
On a personal level, we’re so habituated from birth by modern protection from Nature, we assume our bodies are perfect machines that shouldn’t fight for survival, age, suffer, break down and die. When it inescapably arrives, it always feels unfair, surprising, personal, untimely and alienating.
It did for me.
Most of us are oblivious to the true nature of Life. If we continue to ignore it and fantasize Life as unicorns and rainbows, we’re going to suffer exponentially whenever anything crashes our fantasy. Pain, suffering and death is a universal constant; it’s just a matter of time.
In this instalment, I want to show your body’s core structure. Science has a postulate: Structure = Function. What that means is, how something’s built determines its purpose. By seeing your basic structure, you’ll grasp your basic evolutionary drive as science sees you.
Then, we move on to a quick overview of Evolutionary theory and nature’s adaptation for the survival of the species. However, I’ll raise some questions regarding man’s evolution. Principally, man’s intellectual evolution far exceeding other species, and what that may mean for its purpose beyond its core biological imperative.
Finally, considering our peculiar intellectual evolution, I’ll end with our intellectual capacity to discover the unseen world beyond our senses: from both the scientific and mystical disciplines. While these supposedly opposed disciplines use different methods, they both arrive at exciting answers. This is important because it starts to set the foundation for understanding how we perceive physical reality, and what that may mean after Death.
To fully grasp Nature’s hunger for Life and its death, it may be useful to explore why it’s so, through our body’s structure and function. Since we’re so attached to our “beautiful” body, it may be helpful to see it for what it fundamentally is.
A body is a locomotion machine for the procurement and digestion of food. Ingestion of food (energy) powers your body to move (survive) until the next meal. When the body reaches sexual maturity, hormones drive the body to search for and reproduce with another body until a new body’s made. Then, through hormones again, we attach to the new offspring and feel compelled to protect, feed and condition the new body to repeat the process.
Feed, Move, excrete. Feed, search, Reproduce. Feed, Protect. Feed. Die.
In essence, our physical lives boil down to this. Everything else is decoration. Most of us live lives no more complicated than any other species. We may use fancy names but the process is rudimentarily the same.
At their core, most animals are a food tube from mouth to anus for processing food. Along the digestive journey, food is broken down and its nutrients extracted, absorbed, circulated and utilised by various surrounding systems.
Surrounding the digestive tract are various organs whose sole function is using those nutrients for repair, formulating other substances or providing energy to muscles and brain via the circulatory system. The muscles facilitate motion to feed (or reproduce), and the nervous system provides feedback and direction.
Physical animal bodies are structurally designed to move towards food. That food provides energy to move again to get more food. A single-celled organism does this adequately well and illustrates our reductive biological drive and function. But we’re more than a single cell. In fact, we have 37 trillion of them (37,000,000,000,000) all requiring the same thing: Food (energy). Everything that happens within your body, from a single cell to your whole being is designed to fetch and process energy to keep functioning towards reproduction.
Reproductive survival is the primary driver within Darwinian evolution. Over 3.5 billion years–from the first amino acid created from inorganic matter to the modern human being–the proficiency of all species to feed and reproduce, means they survive and pass on those genes through reproduction. Along the way, small incremental changes in the DNA create small incremental changes in the species’ structure; consequently, possibly improving their function, and changes of survival. For example, antelope that can outrun the cheetahs will survive and pass those characteristics to their offspring facilitating their survival. Likewise, the fastest cheetahs get to survive and reproduce, passing those traits to their offspring.
You may be wondering why I’m rehashing evolutionary theory.
We need to understand where current scientific thought stands regarding Nature’s function, and by extension, yours. Science’s view of Life affects how you’re treated when dying.
My hypothesis is simple: if you change how you understand Life, you’ll change how you perceive Death.
The evolutionary theory rests on two unwavering premises.
1) Reductive materialism: Life is just organic matter and, therefore, “mindless” biological machines and
2) we’re alone in the universe: Earth life is the only life that exists in the cosmos.
You’ll find with a little research, that science itself proves both premises wrong. But I’ll address these further as the series progresses.
There are a few problems I have with evolutionary theory as the finite answer for Human Life.
The first obvious question is, if apes developed into men with dexterous hands and larger brains capable of abstraction and innovation to survive nature (even though as apes we survived just fine), why haven’t other species grown larger brains (frontal lobes) at a minimum, and more dexterous paws, hooves, fins, claws? Current primates are relatively unchanged from 7 million years ago. If the earlier evolved hominids (ape-man) died out, why didn’t the current apes? Evolutionary biologists’ answer is that we evolved from one specific kind of ape and the other apes remained the same. That still doesn’t answer why we evolved and other species didn’t to a reasonable degree. This simplistic guess contradicts evolutionary need.
The second objection to human evolution is the current man’s intellect being world’s apart from a chimpanzee—our closest ancestor. Our DNA may only differ by 3 – 4% from a chimp, but that 3% difference created an Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, Michelangelo, Plato, Gautama (Buddha), Nikola Tesla. An ape can be taught to communicate with sign language by humans, exhibiting potential for language and structured thought. However, between Bonobos, chimps, gorillas and orangutans, their intellect remains alike between them and their ancestors.
Humans can build and invent new technology to such a degree that we can even leave the planet. No other species on Earth has evolved a fraction of human intellect, ingenuity or innovation. Which begs the question: if such intelligence is required for survival, then why haven’t other species developed (some) brain-power too? Even 1% – 2%, if only out of necessity to adapt to evolving man?
It appears absurd that Nature evolves every species just enough to survive in its environment, yet, man simultaneously devolves by losing his ability to survive in nature without man-made utilities, and evolves a super-brain that will dominate nature.
Remember the last thought experiment? You were naked in the desert, but completely ill-prepared to handle the weather, let alone Nature without external protection (clothing, shelter, fire, tools and weapons). It seems a logical conclusion that man is unnaturally unsuited to Nature (without technological intervention: clothing, tools, weapons) and “evolved” un-naturally outside the realm of other species’ potential.
Thirdly, is our mental ability to abstract, search for meaning and recognise our mortality. Our ability to abstract, create art, music, literature, philosophy, mysticism and Meaning isn’t required to survive in Nature. Neither is our capacity to question Life and know of our impending death. Other apes and every other species of varying morphology, survive and reproduce via mechanical instinct extremely well without abstraction or existential angst.
Why did we develop or inherit those unnecessary evolutionary qualities?
If evolution’s premise is that biology (structure) adapts just enough to only survive (function), then humans superseded the evolutionary model. For lack of a better term, we feel alienated from the world’s animal kingdom. We possess the reptilian drive, mammalian emotions, but an ever-increasing mental acuity.
Humans are on an entirely different playing field. Our “evolution” towards our current intellectual superiority over other species isn’t necessary for survival on this planet. We could’ve remained apes or even early hominids and continued to survive within Nature’s predator/prey cycle quite effectively.
If we persist in attributing evolution to humans, then man’s development in intellect and abstraction must serve some purpose. Considering our intellectual advancement, discovering the vastness of space and inevitably advanced life on other planets, the discovery of multiple dimensions (10 so far), and an endless list of phenomena we can’t perceive with our naked senses (light spectra, sound waves, quantum particles, etc.), can our human sensory experience of “physical” reality be all there is?
If evolution is a blind adaptation of organic matter, then what’s the Intelligence driving Evolution? (This is one of the mind-numbing contradictions in science!)
Consequently, can Evolution satisfactorily prove that our sole existence is to feed and reproduce DNA, considering our extra-sensory development?
The answer has to be a resounding no!
It doesn’t Matter 🙂
If we accept that our “evolved” advanced intellectual and abstraction abilities serve a purpose, then we have to accept that their purpose involves exploration beyond sensory experience. Because if you remember, sensory experience evolves to aid survival within physical nature.
While our sensory perception of “reality” is satisfactory for biological survival, our senses are unbelievably limiting for everything else (which is why we build sense-amplifying tools). We can’t see electricity, gravity, magnetism, ultra-violet light, radiation or ultrasound waves, but we can recognise their effects. For millennia we weren’t aware these forces even existed, yet, they did.
We weren’t aware of bacteria, viruses, sensory anomalies and abnormal brain activity either, yet, we attributed different explanations for their effects on us. How can we be confident we aren’t repeating history with postulated forces, extra-sensory dimensions, quantum behaviour or Consciousness, which we can’t sense nor comprehend, yet, affect our existence?
If we were to rely only on what can be seen, we wouldn’t have progressed very far scientifically. Some scientific discoveries were accidents (x-rays, penicillin, radiation). But most were initially a mocked and absurd idea (microbes, relativity, evolution, sub-atomic particles, quantum theory).
We should remember history and humbly recognise there are incomprehensible forces at play, and therefore, real alternative possibilities outside our sensory perception that we can’t ignore or pretend aren’t relevant.
Absence of (sensory) evidence, isn’t evidence of absence.
In other words, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
The Rabbit Hole
Why accept a theoretical physicists assertion that there are multiple dimensions, parallel universes, quantum entanglement, and time not existing except in the physical plane? Yet, a spiritual devotee/master discovers the same concepts through internal exploration/meditation over millennia (before advanced technology and mathematics), and we disregard it as spiritual garbage.
Perhaps we’ve subconsciously turned Science into a religion (Scientism); a club whose team we cheer for despite its faults, sense-based limitations and utility-guided motivations.
Mystical enquiry/meditation doesn’t depend on our five senses, although it may start there. Popular meditative practice focuses on an object, a sound, a mantra; but that’s a starting point. That simple (but challenging) practise is to train you to sit still and focus. You’ll need the ability to sit undistracted for long periods to go past the mind-noise and enter a deeper state of awareness. Meditation’s ultimate aim is to detach from the senses so entirely that an underlying reality is perceived beyond the sense of self. Its perception is not a sensory one; instead, it’s an existential awareness of non-physical universal Consciousness.
Don’t believe that’s possible?
What do you think happens to you every night when you dream?
Your senses are silenced, and you experience an existence just as real as this one, don’t you?
“Spiritual” teachers throughout human history from unrelated geography and cultures have always exalted a parallel (spiritual) existence beyond our physical plane and perception. Whether they’re indigenous to South America, Africa, Asia, Europe or Australia, one thing is certain; every spiritual doctrine affirms an alternate, parallel and non-physical, non-sensory, non-temporal reality.
That’s also exactly what theoretical physicists postulate!
Each culture uses different methods of discovery, some through mind-altering plants, others through advanced meditation, chanting, trance or physical movement. All methods aim to bypass the physical senses so as to perceive what’s underneath the noise. Their descriptions differ depending on culture, language and process, but the result is the same: an all-pervading Consciousness capable of any reality imaginable.
Most of us can’t typically experience it because we’re untrained and overwhelmed by the stimuli from our senses. Equally, most of us are untrained in theoretical physics’ equations and can’t begin to grasp its findings in any tangible sense.
Nevertheless, if you pay attention, you can feel an undeniable Force pervading everything. An invisible current powering the machinations of the Universe.
If you feel deeper, you might feel that same rumbling force as a Presence—a Cosmic observer.
That’s not your imagination; it is a recognition of an Intelligence—of Consciousness.
In the next instalment, we’ll explore the mechanics and limitations of your sensory experience. Only when you know the stupefying unreliability of your senses can you have confidence that your perceived reality (Life) is an illusion. An illusion we’re physically imprisoned to via the laws of physics, but a misleading, sense-confined illusion nonetheless.
For now, I have an exercise for you to try (I literally do this every night)
Before you go to sleep, assume you’ll access a parallel life. Keep your awareness on the drowsiness and the slide into unconsciousness. After you wake up, you’ll hopefully remember two essential states: the gap between wakefulness and dream state, and the dream itself. For now, let’s focus on your dream state.
You’ll recognise that You exist in both states simultaneously. There’s the You that’s unconscious on the bed, and the You that’s alive in the “dream”. You may even go through multiple dreams (realities) in the same night. You’re unbounded by sensory stimuli and therefore, perceive alternative “You’s” beyond sensory reality.
I’m not saying that dreams ARE parallel realities in the physics sense. But they are different realities nonetheless. The dream-state is a phenomenal way to grasp the concept via personal experience. I hope you try this exercise and keep doing it. Its benefits on your sense of Self are quite revolutionary. I’d love to hear your impressions on the experience.
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