The Doors of Perception (reloaded)

“Space was still there; but it had lost its predominance. The mind was primarily concerned, not with measures and locations, but with being and meaning.

(…) the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend. (…)

It does not consist in the fact that ‘these wonderful originals seen in my visions, were some of them one hundred feet in height … all containing mythological and recondite meaning.’ It consists solely in his ability to render, in words or (somewhat less successfully) in line and color, some hint at least of a not excessively uncommon experience. The untalented visionary may perceive an inner reality no less tremendous, beautiful and significant than the world beheld by Blake; but he lacks altogether the ability to express, in literary or plastic symbols, what he has seen.”

Aldous Huxley

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La pensée et le mouvant

“N’attendez pas de cette métaphysique des conclusions simples ou des solutions radicales. Ce serait lui demander encore de s’en tenir à une manipulation de concepts. Ce serait aussi la laisser dans la région du pur possible. Sur le terrain de l’expérience, au contraire, avec des solutions incomplètes et des conclusions provisoires, elle atteindra une probabilité croissante qui pourra équivaloir finalement à la certitude. Prenons un problème que nous poserons dans les termes de la métaphysique traditionnelle: l’âme survit-elle au corps? Il est facile de le trancher en raisonnant sur de purs concepts. On définira donc l’âme. On dira, avec Platon, qu’elle est une et simple. On en conclura qu’elle ne peut se dissoudre. Donc elle est immortelle. Voilà qui est net. Seulement, la conclusion ne vaut que si l’on accepte la définition, c’est-à- dire la construction. Elle est subordonnée à cette hypothèse. Elle est hypothétique. Mais renonçons à construire l’idée d’âme comme on construit l’idée de triangle. Étudions les faits. Si l’expérience établit, comme nous le croyons, qu’une petite partie seulement de la vie consciente est conditionnée par le cerveau, il s’ensuivra que la suppression du cerveau laisse vraisemblablement subsister la vie consciente. Du moins la charge de la preuve incomberat-elle maintenant à celui qui nie la survivance, bien plus qu’à celui qui l’affirme. Il ne s’agira que de survie, je le reconnais; il faudrait d’autres raisons, tirées cette fois de la religion, pour arriver à une précision plus haute et pour attribuer à cette survie une durée sans fin. Mais, même du point de vue purement philosophique, il n’y aura plus de si: on affirmera catégoriquement – je veux dire sans subordination à une hypothèse métaphysique – ce qu’on affirme, dût- on ne l’affirmer que comme probable. La première thèse avait la beauté du définitif, mais elle était suspendue en l’air, dans la région du simple possible. L’autre est inachevée, mais elle pousse des racines solides dans le réel.

Henri Bergson

Le possible et le réel

“Les deux illusions que je viens de signaler n’en font réellement qu’une. Elles consistent à croire qu’il y a moins dans l’idée du vide que dans celle du plein, moins dans le concept de désordre que dans celui d’ordre. En réalité, il y a plus de contenu intellectuel dans les idées de désordre et de néant, quand elles représentent quelque chose, que dans celles d’ordre et d’existence, parce qu’elles impliquent plusieurs ordres, plusieurs existences et, en outre, un jeu de l’esprit qui jongle inconsciemment avec eux.

Eh bien, je retrouve la même illusion dans le cas qui nous occupe. Au fond des doctrines qui méconnaissent la nouveauté radicale de chaque moment de l’évolution il y a bien des malentendus, bien des erreurs. Mais il y a surtout l’idée que le possible est moins que le réel, et que, pour cette raison, la possibilité des choses précède leur existence. Elles seraient ainsi représentables par avance : elles pourraient être pensées avant d’être réalisées. Mais c’est l’inverse qui est la vérité. Si nous laissons de côté les systèmes clos, soumis à des lois purement mathématiques, isolables parce que la durée ne mord pas sur eux, si nous considérons l’ensemble de la réalité concrète ou tout simplement le monde de la vie, et à plus forte raison celui de la conscience, nous trouvons qu’il y a plus, et non pas moins, dans la possibilité de chacun des états successifs que dans leur réalité. Car le possible n’est que le réel avec, en plus, un acte de l’esprit qui en rejette l’image dans le passé une fois qu’il s’est produit. Mais c’est ce que nos habitudes intellectuelles nous empêchent d’apercevoir.”

Henri Bergson

The Doors of Perception

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies – all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to Permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or “feeling into.” Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the Places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience.

To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves. But what if these others belong to a different species and inhabit a radically alien universe? For example, how can the sane get to know what it actually feels like to be mad? Or, short of being born again as a visionary, a medium, or a musical genius, how can we ever visit the worlds which, to Blake, to Swedenborg, to Johann Sebastian Bach, were home? And how can a man at the extreme limits of ectomorphy and cerebrotonia ever put himself in the place of one at the limits of endomorphy and viscerotonia, or, except within certain circumscribed areas, share the feelings of one who stands at the limits of mesomorphy and somatotonia? To the unmitigated behaviorist such questions, I suppose, are meaningless. But for those who theoretically believe what in practice they know to be true – namely, that there is an inside to experience as well as an outside – the problems posed are real problems, all the more grave for being, some completely insoluble, some soluble only in exceptional circumstances and by methods not available to everyone. Thus, it seems virtually certain that I shall never know what it feels like to be Sir John Falstaff or Joe Louis. On the other hand, it had always seemed to me possible that, through hypnosis, for example, or autohypnosis, by means of systematic meditation, or else by taking the appropriate drug, I might so change my ordinary mode of consciousness as to be able to know, from the inside, what the visionary, the medium, even the mystic were talking about.”

Aldous Huxley

The End of the Curve of Reason

“But apart from these excesses of a too logical thought and a one-sided impulsion, apart from the inability of any “ism” to express the truth of the spirit which exceeds all such compartments, we seem here to be near to the real way out, to the discovery of the saving motive-force. The solution lies not in the reason, but in the soul of man, in its spiritual tendencies. It is a spiritual, an inner freedom that can alone create a perfect human order. It is a spiritual, a greater than the rational enlightenment that can alone illumine the vital nature of man and impose harmony on its self-seekings, antagonisms and discords. A deeper brotherhood, a yet unfound law of love is the only sure foundation possible for a perfect social evolution, no other can replace it. But this brotherhood and love will not proceed by the vital instincts or the reason where they can be met, baffled or deflected by opposite reasonings and other discordant instincts. Nor will it found itself in the natural heart of man where there are plenty of other passions to combat it. It is in the soul that it must find its roots; the love which is founded upon a deeper truth of our being, the brotherhood or, let us say, — for this is another feeling than any vital or mental sense of brotherhood, a calmer more durable motive-force, — the spiritual comradeship which is the expression of an inner realisation of oneness. For so only can egoism disappear and the true individualism of the unique godhead in each man found itself on the true communism of the equal godhead in the race; for the Spirit, the inmost self, the universal Godhead in every being is that whose very nature of diverse oneness it is to realise the perfection of its individual life and nature in the existence of all, in the universal life and nature.

This is a solution to which it may be objected that it puts off the consummation of a better human society to a far-off date in the future evolution of the race. For it means that no machinery invented by the reason can perfect either the individual or the collective man; an inner change is needed in human nature, a change too difficult to be ever effected except by the few. This is not certain; but in any case, if this is not the solution, then there is no solution, if this is not the way, then there is no way for the human kind.”

Sri Aurobindo

The illusion of action

“Agitation, haste, restlessnes lead nowhere. It is foam on the sea; it is a great fuzz that stops with itself. Men have a feeling that if they are not all the time running about and bursting into fits of feversih activity, they are doing nothing. It is an illusion to think that all these so-called movements change things. It is merely taking a cup and beating the water in it; the water is moved about, but it is not changed for all your beating. This illusion of action is one of the greatest illusions of human nature. It hurts progress because it brings on you the necessity of rushing always into some excited movement. If you could only perceive the illusion and see how useless it all is, how it changes nothing! Nowhere can you achieve anything by it. Those who are thus rushing about are the tools of forces that make them dance for their own amusement. And they are not forces of the best quality either.

 

Whatever has been done in the world has been done by the very few who can stand outside the action in silence; for it is they who are the instruments of the Divine Power. They are dynamic agents, conscious instruments; they bring down the forces that change the world. Things can be done in that way, not by a restless activity. In peace, in silence and in quietness the world was built, it is in peace and silence and quietness that it must be done. It is ignorance to believe that you must run from morning to night and labour at all sorts of futile things in order to do something for the world.”

 

The Mother

The Shaman’s Body

“Instead of fighting these forces or trying to explain them, the shaman gives up trying to change what he cannot grasp and reorients himself by adapting to their direction.

The average person {… a “phantom”} attempts to hold these forces at bay and refuses to sense his own impotence. The average person, your own naive consciousness, leads you to believe that medicine will heal your body, that psychology will make you more reasonable, and that being nice will help you in your relationship problems. Prayer should reduce the impact of fate, and technology will tame the universe. Whatever happens, you cling to the belief that you will either be saved from the unknown or discover new solutions to your problems. You believe that you are the center of a world that belongs to you.

Only your momentary terror and insecurity betray your impotence. The wiser part of you, your sorcerer, realizes that life is ultimately something beyond your mind and changing body. No one theory can completely explain anything, and the origins of even your simples impulses seem to be connected with the universe itself. In light of this, the apprentice tries to befriend the unknown.”

 

Arnold Mindell

An artist’s life Manifesto

1. An artist’s conduct in his life: 


– An artist should not lie to himself or others 
– An artist should not steal ideas from other artists 
– An artist should not compromise for themselves or in regards to the art market 
– An artist should not kill other human beings 
– An artist should not make themselves into an idol 
– An artist should not make themselves into an idol 
– An artist should not make themselves into an idol 




2. An artist’s relation to his love life: 


– An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist 
– An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist 
– An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist 




3. An artist’s relation to the erotic: 


– An artist should develop an erotic point of view on the world 
– An artist should be erotic 
– An artist should be erotic 
– An artist should be erotic 




4. An artist’s relation to suffering: 


– An artist should suffer 
– From the suffering comes the best work 
– Suffering brings transformation 
– Through the suffering an artist transcends their spirit 
– Through the suffering an artist transcends their spirit 
– Through the suffering an artist transcends their spirit 




5. An artist’s relation to depression:
– An artist should not be depressed 
– Depression is a disease and should be cured 
– Depression is not productive for an artist
– Depression is not productive for an artist 
– Depression is not productive for an artist 




6. An artist’s relation to suicide: 


– Suicide is a crime against life 
– An artist should not commit suicide 
– An artist should not commit suicide 
– An artist should not commit suicide 




7. An artist’s relation to inspiration: 


– An artist should look deep inside themselves for inspiration 
– The deeper they look inside themselves, the more universal they become 
– The artist is universe 
– The artist is universe 
– The artist is universe 




8. An artist’s relation to self-control: 


– The artist should not have self-c ontrol about his life 
– The artist should have total self-control about his work 
– The artist should not have self-control about his life 
– The artist should have total self-control about his work 




9. An artist’s relation with transparency: 


– The artist should give and receive at the same time 
– Transparency means receptive 
– Transparency means to give 
– Transparency means to receive 
– Transparency means receptive 
– Transparency means to give 
– Transparency means to receive 
– Transparency means receptive 
– Transparency means to give 
– Transparency means to receive 




10. An artist’s relation to symbols: 


– An artist creates his own symbols 
– Symbols are an artist’s language 
– The language must then be translated 
– Sometimes it is difficult to find the key 
– Sometimes it is difficult to find the key 
– Sometimes it is difficult to find the key




11. An artist’s relation to silence: 


– An artist has to understand silence 
– An artist has to create a space for silence to enter his work 
– Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean 
– Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean 
– Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean 




12. An artist’s relation to solitude: 


– An artist must make time for the long periods of solitude 
– Solitude is extremely important 
– Away from home 
– Away from the studio 
– Away from family
– Away from friends 
– An artist should stay for long periods of time at waterfalls 
– An artist should stay for long periods of time at exploding volcanoes 
– An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the fast running rivers 
– An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the horizon where the ocean and sky meet 
– An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the stars in the night sky 




13. An artist’s conduct in relation to work: 


– An artist should avoid going to the studio every day
– An artist should not treat his work schedule as a bank employee does 
– An artist should explore life and work only when an idea comes to him in a dream or during the day as a vision that arises as a surprise 
– An artist should not repeat himself 
– An artist should not overproduce 
– An artist should avoid his own art pollution 
– An artist should avoid his own art pollution 
– An artist should avoid his own art pollution 




14. An artist’s possessions: 


– Buddhist monks advise that it is best to have nine possessions in their life: 
1 robe for the summer 
1 robe for the winter 
1 pair of shoes 
1 begging bowl for food 
1 mosquito net 
1 prayer book 
1 umbrella 
1 mat to sleep on 
1 pair of glasses if needed 
– An artist should decide for himself the minimum personal possessions they should have
– An artist should have more and more of less and less 
– An artist should have more and more of less and less 
– An artist should have more and more of less and less


15. A list of an artist’s friends: 


– An artist should have friends that lift their spirits 
– An artist should have friends that lift their spirits 
– An artist should have friends that lift their spirits 




16. A list of an artist’s enemies: 


– Enemies are very important 
– The Dalai Lama has said that it is easy to have compassion with friends but much more difficult to have compassion with enemies 
– An artist has to learn to forgive 
– An artist has to learn to forgive 
– An artist has to learn to forgive 




17. Different death scenarios: 


– An artist has to be aware of his own mortality 
– For an artist, it is not only important how he lives his life but also how he dies 
– An artist should look at the symbols of his work for the signs of different death scenarios 
– An artist should die consciously without fear 
– An artist should die consciously without fear 
– An artist should die consciously without fear 




18. Different funeral scenarios: 


– An artist should give instructions before the funeral so that everything is done the way he wants it 
– The funeral is the artist’s last art piece before leaving 
– The funeral is the artist’s last art piece before leaving 
– The funeral is the artist’s last art piece before leaving

 

Marina Abramovic

 

The Quantum Brain

“We not only lack a model for how we inhabit our bodies and brains as first-person consciousness, but we are as far from one, in a real sense, as Parmenides and Anaxagoras were in pre-Socratic Greek times. Pretty amazing plight, given the ground covered since. We have advanced on everything else in skinny about the universe but no on how its interior light turned on, how the gap was crossed from matter to maine, or how the city got inside the acorn. The brain remains a complex but ordinary object in Newtonian/Darwinian space-time while the mind is a baffling phenomenal (or epiphenomenal) effect associated with but not supervening it.

(…)

The widely accepted premise within neuroscience is that “awareness and subjectivity are probably network effects, involving many millions of neurone in thalamic and cortical structures -neurons- not quantum collapses, not holographic waves, not transductions of uncertainty states into thoughts.

(…)

A scientific waiver to pursue a quantum brain goes something like this: if your proper view is that consciousness is neurons, neurons, and more neurons (or molecules, molecules and more molecules) and that the sources has to be in there somewhere (because it can’t be anywhere else without invoking idealism, vitalism, Platonism, or some other extravagance), and if you are likewise convinced that consciousness cannot be understood using all the resources of molecular-level theories and the levels of explanations that they support -if you concluded that the phenomenon has completely stumped the entire scientific community- then (and only then) may you poke and prod for answers at a quantum level, as that is the sole resources left in the natural sciences.

(…)

Until the search for eroding got into microscopic properties of matter, reality was indeed very real. However, once it got small enough, it also became unreal or at least something other than real. But then I wonder what physicists expected to find under matter: a gateway into another universe, a microcosmic generator of materiality, a primal creationary field, nothing at all? Either stuff comes apart into something else or it spills all the beans, and we know it doesn’t spill the beans because, then, what might they be?

(…)

My own inclination at this point would be to give up on quantum-mechanical relationships in neural tissue and go for the greater backdrop: a conscious universe is a quantum universe. (…) In this game we don’t need discrete quantum special effects because the universe itself is a quantum effect. (…) Chaos there is, in fact, where consciousness as an emergent property meets consciousness as a quantum effect. (…) In an arena this vast with a specificity so entangle and nonlocal, “random” and “nonrandom” have no meaning. (…) Once again, the deepest entropy is also the ontological basis of the most intelligent information, as the Algorithm converges with the Archetype.”

Dark Pool of Light. Part 1

Richard Grossinger

La intuición filosófica

“No habría lugar para dos maneras de conocer, filosofía y ciencia, si la experiencia no se nos presentara en dos aspectos diferentes, de una parte, bajo forma de hechos que se yuxtaponen a hechos, que casi se repiten, que casi se miden y que se despliegan en fin en el sentido de la multiplicidad distinta y de la espacialidad; y de otra, bajo forma de una penetración recíproca que es pura duración, refractaria a la ley de la medida. En ambos casos, experiencia significa conciencia; pero, en el primero, la consciencia se expande hacia afuera, y se exterioriza con relación a ella misma en la exacta medida en que percibe cosas exteriores unas a otras; en el segundo, entra en ella, se recobra y se profundiza.”

“Descendamos entonces al interior de nosotros mismos: cuanto más profundo sea el punto que toquemos, más fuerte será el impulso que nos volverá a la superficie. La intuición filosófica es ese contacto, la filosofía es ese impulso. Vueltos al exterior por una impulsión venida del fondo, alcanzaremos la ciencia a medida que nuestro pensamiento se ensanche al esparcirse.”

“Las satisfacciones que el arte no dará jamás sino a privilegiados de la naturaleza y de la fortuna, y sólo de cuando en cuando, la filosofía así entendida nos las dará a todos, a cada momento, insuflando vida a los fantasmas que nos rodean y vivificándonos a nosotros mismos. Por eso se volverá complementaria de la ciencia tanto en la practica como en la especulación. Con aplicaciones que sólo atienden a la comodidad de la existencia, la ciencia nos promete el bienestar, cuando más el placer. Pero la filosofía podría darnos desde ahora el gozo.”

Henri Bergson