Recovering from Depression; Riding the waveform

I got hit by the Flu about a month ago, and became horribly depressed. Things haven’t been the same since. Huge changes have cascaded in since that happened, changing me in ways I cannot account for. This is the first time I feel the necessary strength to actually write about it.

  1. I quit school. It wasn’t a case of just up and quitting. I had been thinking about it for a few years. I quit music therapy almost immediately after I started it because I could clearly see that I wasn’t cut out for it and it would not fulfill me as a person. It never linked science and music in a satisfying way, nor could the way in which psychotherapeutic disciplines were knitted together with music ever make a big enough change to satisfy or impress me. I felt I must study something more fundamental. That is where answers will really be rendered. What should I study? Astronomy, Astrophysics, Particle Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Nutrition even?
  2. An old friend, who never really left my life, came into its focus as I grappled with the internal changes. I fell in love with her immediately. People have their own circumstances to work with, coming to their own understanding of things in their own time, so my feelings weren’t reciprocated for a long time. She is a truly impressive individual; She’s humble, compassionate, an intellectual visionary, and very beautiful.

The strange part is that we came back into contact very shortly after I quit school. Ok, I am tired of narrating.

My capacity to feel has awoken after laying dormant for so long. Before the flu, before the depression, it had been years since I felt sadness, the need to cry. It has always been anger, very deep anger. Anger is easier to leverage into motivation than sadness is. I now think that sadness is the call to pull back and examine your actions. Being pushed forward with blind anger, suddenly being hobbled, and then succumbing to depression when one is unable to enact that release valve for the feeling of anger, quickly inverts it back on itself. So, I had been running on the momentum of anger for a few years, perhaps longer.

I still don’t understand why. What was I hiding from myself? What was I not admitting? What was I compensating for?

If I was motivated by Anger to do all that I did, and realize that the path it was propelling me down was in vain, what can be my motivation now? I cannot find a stabilizing answer. I can only tug at loose strings and blindly feel along its strangely textured surface in coffee shops, on errant walks, and on the interminable drives between loved and hated cities with music, coffee, and cigarettes.

 

Holotropic Breathwork

I’ve always been interested in altered states of consciousness, even before I knew how to articulate it. The naked feeling is that there is always something more, a bottom floor to reality accessible by the human mind.

Jung called this the universal unconscious, and he recognized it in native cultures and Shamanic traditions. I go somewhat beyond this. Whereas archetypal symbols apprehended in a trance state that bind the individual to a tribal identity through rituals involving drugs, pain, feats of endurance, I envisioned entering such a state of consciousness through merely willing it.

What if you could induce the most profound states of consciousness, entheogenic states, by merely thinking them into being? The realm of conceptual possibilities on the table is greatly expanded in our own time. We are capable of more. We understand more. The most formidable barriers we come up against are always that which we comfortably reside in that define the current zeitgeist. We groupthink the unknown future into terrifying dystopian cocktails, and assume away the possibility of expanding conceptual space to truly brush upon something original on an individualistic basis.

Revolutionary thought is not born for its own sake. Often revolutionary thought is confused with raveous, egoic contrarianism, or untempered angst. Those who try to be original fail in their first intent with doing something for the sake of originality. As if no one has tried that before. What is the sum of the wasted caloric energy of the collective brains striving in vain for an original thought? This drive for originality, i think, is the unconscious, unawakened will to transcendence that is the defining characteristic of consciousness for human beings. Truly revolutionary though merely is, apropos, born of a visionary capacity in an individual, and if enacted correctly, enriches the world we live in by spurring on our prodigious evolutionary lineage as curious, restless creatures.

I think I have stumbled upon my own vision, a cornerstone of transcendence and biohacking. Alas, It was thought of before I thought of it! I still savor with pride the fact that I had the maturity to recognize it in the form that I did so early. I am stung that it took me 14 years of searching to find the physical analog to my thought.

(more to come)

Superintelligence and the Post-Human existence

I often ponder our place in the Universe at large.

There are many angles to probe this compelling idea from. The first angle came about in the mystic and esoteric circles. We are part of a grand cosmological scheme, a Universe unfolding its capacities to the extreme, spanning from the very most fundamental inert matter to the highest ordering of that matter into a self-referential biological matrix and beyond.

Is intelligence an accident? Is the gradient of complexity from hydrogen to complex organic matter a neutral, natural, consequence of the convergence of fundamental principles of the operation of the Universe? Is that the essence of existence, or is that perception a product of a thinking, highly organized brain evolved to see patterns?

Given our place, we can see only imperfectly back into history and forward in time. The larger the number of variables we seek to integrate and make sense of, the more we tax our faculties, and thus the farther off course the end result would be if we were able to compare it with the actual outcome far in the future. The trajectory of technology is simply too counter-intuitive for us to grasp.

Given the pattern I see, capability is compoundable and scalable. Forgive how sophomoric this sounds. We will begin with the element Hydrogen. This reactive gas accumulates in space and is considered the most abundant element in the universe. Under the right conditions, they fuse into higher elements, giving off tremendous amounts of heat and light, becoming stars. The convergence of gravity, matter, magnetic and tidal forces create an entirely new hierarchy of elemental organization that previously never existed. This, in turn, gives rise to more and more complex organization. At each turn in the evolution of matter, the speed increases while the time scale shrinks by orders of magnitude.

As a massive star burns hydrogen, it is also fusing hydrogen into helium. Over time, the helium will fuse into higher elements such as carbon, oxygen, nickle, calcium, ect. At some point, the star exhausts its energy and supernovas, fusing these elements into yet higher ones such as iron.

A planet with specific conditions is needed to continue up the hierarchy of complexity. This includes amino acids, proteins, and all organic compounds requiring the energies of heat, light, gravity, electromagnetism in amounts within a relatively small and controlled margin. Molecular engines such as DNA and RNA make this process more self-directed and recursive creating a controlled trajectory for further elaboration of complex molecular arrangements.

The brain is the crowning achievement at this stage in the game, representing the very most advanced and sophisticated evolution of matter. Our brains are exponentially more recursive and broad a biological learning machine, repeating the pattern of augmentation of its own capacities.

We will soon breach the next turn in spiral and create something far more advanced than us. We will create a superintelligence.

Now that I have illustrated the pattern inherent in the unfolding of the universe, of which we are brief pinpricks of light before its great eye, I would like to bring it full circle and then elaborate on the concept of a Superintelligence.

First, a definition: “Let an untraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an intelligence explosion, and the intelligence of man would be far left behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control”.

With the advent of symbol systems of language and mathematics, we far surpass all animals and remain the apex predator on this planet. The concept of a predator may well soon be outdated as the social and relational paradigm between intelligent, self-aware beings shifts into something far more expansive. The capacities of this next-order-of-magnitude intelligence may well be as relatable and comprehensible to us as our lives are to bacteria.

How will we change in the coming decades? The recursive improvement process rests on conscious minds that consciously evolve, as opposed to the old system that relied on molecular engines such as DNA to select for adaptation in an environment for survival. This system cascaded in complexity until it was able to support conscious life forms. Now we are able to draw from it. Intelligence compounds upon molecular machines. The new input for one cycle of growth is this new intelligence with all of the information distilled down from the older paradigm into only that which has worked the most effectively. We are approaching a new ordering of matter, and thus intelligence, that is post-biological. 

All of our technology is at this point is more closely linking machine learning and computing with an increasingly nuanced understanding of our biological selves.

Part 2 coming

 

Escape Velocity

I’ve been making a lot of beneficial changes in my life lately.

Giving up refined sugar: I have been wanting to do this for so long. I’ve been a slave to it for 30 years. It’s presence and untold, unquantifiable damage done to me will probably take a while to completely reverse. It almost feels like i’ve been living a lie for the entire time. How could have I gone so long thinking that it was OK, that it wasn’t having a negative effect? I think it was because I was born into it, began drinking sodas and coffee with sugars at an early age. I got addicted to it and it ran my life and mind. There was no sufficiently strong force to decouple and reorient me from it. I think it destroyed me academically. It destroyed and inhibited my social growth as well. I just got my teeth fixed. That was the absolute biggest change. I was afraid to smile. It seems foreign to me now.. I suppose I hadn’t thought of it too much, because it was so horrible. Knowing that I have a birthright that is much higher that what it is I am under the influence now.

Exercise and Running:  One of my new goals is to run an ultramarathon. I was inspired first by Mark Sisson, and then by Dean Karnazes. I read the book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall and learned about karnazes. From then on, I decided that, since we have that genetic lineage, and most people should be capable of it, that it would be a worthy goal. In fact, it would almost be a goal to end all goals. It would be a pinnacle of physical fitness and thus cognitive performance. Running has taken me on an interesting journey thus far.

I consider running a primarily Shamanic activity. It’s a whole body ritual communing with the deepest, most primal self: that of fear, aggression, the contemplation of mortality and the great hunt. We hunt and are hunted. The experience of death, dying, and rebirth; the turning of the wheel of consciousness. I get this from a couple of incredible experiences while running, while pushing myself to the brink as one does in Ecstatic Shamanism.

Get Genetic Testing done: I have only just sent my sample in and will have to wait 12 or so weeks for the results. This test will give me the raw data for some 60,000 base pairs and potential gene polymorphisms. I don’t have too terribly much else to say about this at the moment.

Going Paleo, Going Ketogenic: This is a natural bi-product of giving up sugar. This repairs the damage I did to myself with chronic abuse through consumption of sugar. I have gained  a lot of my concentration and cognitive prowess back since going ketogenic. I don’t want to expound upon the science of it here. That’s not the purpose.

Visiting a counselor: This wonderful woman I am seeing and discussing my problems with is helping me to bring all of this full-circle. I see the wonderful purpose and sadness for the existence of the psychologist. It is insane that there must be people employed whose purpose is to find the best possible ways to communicate on every psychological front to the widest range of people possible in order to help them become more attuned with themselves.

This tells me that society is not geared towards the imperative of self-actualization for the individual. it is its own beast and jungle. We have created this volatile new organism, augmenting and inhabiting it as we ourselves grow our own population. What an unruly, capricious ecology we have designed, and we cannot seem to consolidate our interests beyond the concentric circles of social organization because we lack an overarching intellect to apply the vast amount of information necessary. It would be enough to agree on ONE THING: Our intrinsic humanity, our precarious place on this planet in the greater cosmos and the necessity for rapid advancements of technology to transcend immediate and longer-term threats.

Higher Order Conceptualization: At this very moment, at the end of a string of broad, fundamental changes that are still unfolding, I wonder what new conceptual ground I can uncover. What new possibilities are in store for me. That which lies beyond my understanding, grasping it and applying it to my life, is the key to my success. I am trying to express a very strong idea within myself. A new, very complex concept has emerged in my mind. I should say, it has not fully emerged. It is as if i were a populace and people-I were watching from different points along the coast, from different heights and angles, a massive object rising from the surf in the middle of the ocean. The great bulge of the ocean, the water running off it in rivulets, and the seeming inability of those multiple perspectives to be consolidated into one image of a thing not completely emerged, prevent me from acting on it as it is: A totality. A truly life-changing epiphany. Power mounts within me. I am getting my brain back.

 

Letting go of old patterns

The job I have.. I came into it carrying my personality in bags and boxes before me, displayed as if to unpack and rearrange; a merchant of myself, displaying my wares, my best qualities. Shining ancient crystals without a human finger print smudge; vials of my bluster; tonics of lemon-rose kindness and bitter fly agaric paranoia. I had warding sticks of standoffishness, dowsing rods of friendship.

That was incredibly naive of me, to think that anyone in a job-type setting, a mundane work setting, to care about the whole person. They need specifics of my ability to be mobile at a certain speed, my hands to maneuver and fix problems as directed by certain qualities of my mind. All that extra filler: My love of the transcendent, of art, beauty, my humor, other higher cognitive functions, my creativity as it doesn’t pertain to my job description. All kind of in the way, unnecessary.

Not the right place for it, not the arena where I can bare all. This isn’t a complaint. This is just a review, an assurance to myself, that I can change things in the world. I cannot change what I would like to change or initiate the birthpangs of such a change from my current daytime job. That is absurd to think. But yet, I was naive enough to try it. This doesn’t make me feel bad, however. There is actually a certain joy that I now see comes from understanding that I am liberated even further from the expectations of other people, from the effects and measures they take to control their worlds to the effect of decadent sameness, comfortability, uniformly unhealthy sense-pleasures,  all with an arch of apathy propping it up from horizon to horizon. In this way they suspend what they think is a halcyon construct indefinitely, until it grows stale. This is hilariously misconstrued as “progress”, this spiritual decay that seeps into the very sunlight of their homeostatic world.

I think that this place deliberately seeks to crush people down, render them into only what is absolutely useful for what their jobs call them to do. This is done in such an insidious way. You can see broken fingernail chips embedded in the walls, scratches attempting to pierce the ultra-dense anti-philosophy impacted into this horrifically ill beast’s colon, this hard-pan desert where the husks of the dead etch their soul’s ideograms by dreary firelight. You can see that it is just a bit more pressure than normal that cripples people faster, wears them down by continual re-tooling and whittling of their being by a stripping down of their ability to change Anything about this place, and then making them just comfortable enough to not want to change anything.

This is the death of the human. The will to not want to change, the hatred of change. This disempowers us and gouges out our as-yet infant third eye. What is the fundamental reality within which we live? It is one of constant motion and change; Nothing, absolutely nothing is static. This is misconstrued as entropic. Everything is winding down, the universe itself grinding to a halt in a uniform cold black homogenous subatomic sludge. The ultimate fate of all matter. I don’t think this is true. I think we are tempted to believe such a nihilistic idea because of the reality of death as the end of every organism, the dissolution of every structure.

What we are seeing is the dissolution of form only! Things appear to be destroyed only in reference to the way our minds function with language to categorize being into specific chronological events that must have distinction through contrast. There doesn’t seem to be a mode of awareness for every day life and the way we function every day to facilitate an unbroken, clear focus upon one phenomenon. So attention  stops and starts, chopping what would otherwise be a seamless, flowing continuum of events, polarizing it into instances to reverse-engineer causally. Polarization of time-space events seems to be at the root of causation. We create forms through this polarizing of events (or of the continuum into events) that must interact somehow.

Conceptually, we keep these forms as mental models for the universe we live in, in an effort to understand it, one another, and our own minds. We encompass more and more of the continuum as we further polarize it with conceptual forms, which further define our thinking. The unavoidable consequence is that we cannot see the reality beyond our own toolbox of conceptual lenses, because it requires further construction of finer and more complex lenses. These frozen snapshots of reality are taken to be reality itself. Our forms we hold dear in mind, like a mantra, for how we think the world is, is the root of suffering, of dissolution of forms mistaken for reality and identity for the human being.

Having a human mind, or even a mind in general, entails this great strength and flaw. Being able to adopt, create, or render new forms is a matter of creativity and mental acuity. Reaching the threshold in peak experiences where one is actuating the flow of formlessness, the pure continuum of reality as it appears to us in the most naked form that it can through the medium of the senses (or quantum entanglement, perhaps) is the first step to realizing the nature of mind at large, and is the further key that solves the problem of dissolution, of death and decay. The dark idol of death is the most stagnant and pestilential example of our attachment to form. We cannot conceptualize beyond it; it lies at a liminal zone of knowledge for us. There is no dissolution, unless it is of a form that has been artificially preserved, a form that can no longer comport to the ebb and flow of the continuum at large.

So, “Be like Water, my friend”. The great mass of humans can be seen as a flowing stream. I adjust myself and the way I interact so that it comports with the continuum at large, instead of the circus of forms that one merely becomes, from time to time, entangled with. It is a piercing up into the more subtle realms of thought, a constant pressure to rise and perceive the intrinsic order of the universe, which is an absolute beauty, joy, transcendence..

A primer for Meditation Pt.2

Where does stability lie? Is it the assurance that there is enough money on your debit card for any needs that may reasonably arise between now and payday, barring any disasters or catastrophe? Is it in the generally predictable pragmatic dimension of reality? The waking reality that we traverse and interact with, the mentality with which it is faced and supports it, has always struck me as a very hastily covered-over patchwork based upon a narrow range of tenants: Sociability, economy, efficiency, productivity. Advancement in any field is predicated upon specific environments that collapse into smaller and smaller spaces with an increasing need and demand for orchestrated precision among complex parts of ever-increasing delicacy.

The spaces in between are deserts and carriers of information. The inhospitable superhighways, powerlines, bastardized stretches of essentially sterile land. The essence of humanity and the evolution of our culture and civilization is evolving in the carefully tuned and prepared spaces being propped up by the bulk of our top-heavy industrialization.

So, where does stability lie? The only human activity that seems to be primarily responsible for the discovery and distribution of our most profound philosophical and spiritual insights is the capacity to sit still and draw upon and test the perceptual capabilities of our own minds; this ability is further supported by microscopic environments of unprecedented delicacy and complexity: The Human Brain.

Stability sits on a cushion, or on the bare earth, and effortlessly, silently, thanklessly supports all human endeavor and civilization. Profundity, myth-making, philosophy, and especially the facsimile of their many different expressions, powers the engine of human innovation and dynamism.

It all circles back around quite nicely: Humans craft civilizations, create labor-saving devices, which marshal our mental resources back up from caloric strain and constant exhaustion and toil on our bodies, to the pursuit and refinement of our higher cognitive functions. As the possibilities of leisure increase, so proportionally can the work done to fill out the many imperatives of higher-level functioning. While you or anyone would face a significant challenge in convincing me that philosophy can be born in a field, I think enlightenment has certainly happened in a field. Philosophy occurs upon escaping the field or mentally circumventing it. The fundamental difference between spiritual contemplation, the capacity to realize the nature of the human being and reality, and mere philosophy, is that we are inescapably immersed in one, and the other is a slight expansion of consciousness to incorporate other beings that is a gradual approach to this truth and identification with a larger pattern of human activity without seeing the possibility to fully cross over. That profound nudge into Zen.

So, where does stability lie? Not in the tight-rope walk through a deadly cosmos that is human civilization, beautiful luminescent space algae that we are. Certainly not in the tumultuous noosphere, buffeted with solar flares from the clashing of Empires. Perhaps from those analogous to the Inuits of the north, watching from their meditation cushions the stupendous result of this clash, a beautiful Aurora Borealis of Thought-Energy.

So, where does stability lie?

Cool wind on my back: There is no thing worth my anxiety

This will probably not be a typical post. This is a letter to myself in the future, and a ping to all my friends, when there are many more branching tunnels than there are now and we are required to divide our time between them with mouths full of nectar, tending to the Red Queen, our own larva, or something like that.

I had no idea that I would be writing this morning. Was not planned!

I am really excited about some future projects i’m working on. When I say working, I mean that several ideas converged and have made me tremendously excited.. But I must be careful. I can no longer rely on excitement as my source of fuel; it burns so quickly, and puts stress on the vessel that contains it. When I become excited now, I deliberately make myself artificially calm, tell myself that there is time, and the idea can germinate in the back of my mind until it can sprout naturally in its own time.

I will actually begin working on A Primer for Meditation pt.2 only after I can establish my own very steady consistent practice. I have been a bit too lax. I will jump into the components and basic histories of specific systems, as well as more exotic forms and my own speculations.

An overview of Quantum Models of Consciousness is in order. You’ll also hear my thoughts on the possibility of the Technological Singularity and aspects of Transhumanism that we have already partially stepped into.

These all come with time. I want to do everything all at once. I have to learn patience with myself. I am still only human. The capacity to enjoy relaxation in and of itself is just as biologically and existentially meaningful as my capacity to be dynamic, driven, creative, and proactive. Society doesn’t reward the individual who loves the self, however. Success is often measured by personal sacrifice as a demonstration of commitment and loyalty..

School is beginning in the fall. I will be working 34 hours a week, taking 12 hours of class, and practicing as much as possible. To help manage, I will be taking the Muse neuroheadset on a crash-course.