“You’re damn right! Their negligence is a crime against the human race! Why didn’t they ever think or posit that we human beings could be aware of the atoms in our bodies? Atoms are everywhere!" I looked at Einstein demanding an answer. "Why aren’t I aware of the atoms in my own body?"
“Where?” Einstien said turning, his hands offering a perusal of all the books lining the many shelfs in his office. “Where is it written that you cannot be aware of the atoms in your body?”
I paced the floor. I was irascible and seething with rage. I told Einstein that with what I had done so far with engineering conscious experiences I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was possible to be aware of the atoms in my body. And, I told him, knowing this made me feel robbed of a part of my body. "There is no way in hell that I will not stop to fight for what it rightfully mine! You want to talk about minority rights, women's rights – you know about slave rights! This tragedy is nothing in comparison. Those white philosophers sold the whole human race into chains of ignorance"
“But, if I am manipulating those atoms then why in the world aren’t I aware of the atoms in my own body?” I could not tolerate the inanity of inherited knowledge passed down from the philosophers of the ages.
"You like biting off more than you can chew, don't you?"
I was immediately irriated by his comment. According to what I'd learned I knew I could do it. And yet, I was flammebasted by his comment. I automatically assumed he didn't believe I could do it.
“I’m a big chewer.” I spat back. As soon as my mouth closed I regretted saying something so dumb as I’m a big chewer. I felt like I was three years old. I’m a big chewer?
“You see, it's not that your passion is not in the right place or aimed in the right direction. And it's not that your curiosity isn’t enough. Your inquiry is certainly well suited to engineering a conscious experience. It comes down to a basic fundamental cognitive requirement that you have yet to fulfill.
“You still haven’t proven to yourself that you were ‘in’ the Neanderthal’s world.”
My jaw hung open. “I was there.”
“Perhaps you were, perhaps you weren’t. But you didn’t actually SEE any Neanderthals." He gave sharp glance at me. "If we are conducting a scientific investigation of first-person experience, and we are, then you need to validate your claims. And you haven't seen a Neanderthal.”
It was as if his words pierced something in me. I began to fight the feeling of being deflated. My rage began to slowly seep from me and my intellect began to take over. He was right. I hadn't seen a Neanderthal.
Einstein gave me a serious look and made walking motions with his index and forefinger. “You have to take a little detour before attempting to become aware of the atoms in your body.”
“That’s no problem. How do I become more inefficient at handling abstract sense data?"
“No, going back to the Neanderthals world is a big problem. It's a huge problem. It's a ten foot tall wall that you are smacking right into and you've got to learn to jump over the wall. You think that all this rage is going to do it for you as if engineering a conscious experience were up to you and you alone. Of which it is and which it isn't." He grimaced wondering if he should say something. He stood and paced the length of his lab scratching his chin and biting his lower lip. He turned to me and put his hands in his coat pockets.
"But you see, you only know it only intellectually. Your body doesn't know that it's going to die."
I was perplexed.
"Intellectually, sure anyone and everyone knows, in whatever way they are aware, that of course, yes – one day they will die. Nevertheless, for most of us this is just an intellectual proposition. Usually, we have the attitude that - 'I will die when I'm old.' More often than not we tend to think - 'I will cross that hill when I get to it.' But we fail to realize that ‘dying,’ implies a break in the continuity of time."
I wanted to say duh or no duh. But respectfully offered a “Hmm?"
“You see the experiences you've had so far are pretty much in line with everyday life. You go to sleep. You go somewhere. And you wake up. If you are going to intend to be aware of the atoms of your body you will have to break your notion that time is a continious straight line. Most of us live our lives watching time as it retreats from us." He grabbed a piece of chalk and drew a long arrow on the left hand side of the chalk board.
"The philosophy of the being who is going to die." I sat down in an empty chair and flipped to a blank page in my notebook writing it down. "Uh, OK. What is the basic premise of this philosophy?"
"Allow me to establish that by putting forth the following scenario."
"Lets say this is your last moment on earth and you're being attacked by a lion. What do you do?"
"I would fight! I would find someway not to be eaten!"
"Of course! You'd do more than your best to perceive a way out of the situation. You'd run, jump, climb a tree – or go toe-to-toe with the tooth, jaw and claw of the beast. In such a battle your awareness would be attuned to every movement between you and your death without a shred of remorse or sadness and no morbidity whatsoever. Your struggle to survive would involve your total body, your total awareness. It is in these moments that time comes at you directly. There is no past. And the only future is your next action. Within a life or death moment yesterday is gone and tommorrow doesn't exist. There is only the immediate here and now. In life or death situations your past doesn't hinder you and your next action, no matter how mundane, is truly a fight for your existence and therefore requires more than the best of yourself.
"In order to become aware of the atoms in your body you have to turn away from the past. And this isn't an intellectual excercise. It's a pragamtic one. Make a list of everyone you've ever had sex with and go down the list one by one. Breathe in the scene, capture every detail – the light, the sounds, the person, their hair, the pillows, the color of the room, and so on. And blow it out with an opposite turn of the head. To close the scene move the head to center but do the breath with the intention to let go of the three-dimensional world and ”
It took me a moment to realize that my jaw was unconsciously hitting the floor. I felt uncomfortable for a minute wondering just what in the world did sex have to do with anything?
Einstein gave me a serious look. "During sex we take in very large quantities of abstract sense data because our whole bodies are perceiving almost as much as being at a Tool concert. In recapitulating these events, one can recapture tremendous quantities of abstract sense data. Certainly, you’ve done a preliminary examination of your life but to be aware of the atoms of your body you have to disarm the continuity of time.
“In spite of your previous success, you are pretty, much still here . . ." he turned and gestured with his hand “ . . . lodged in the daily world. You have yet to empty your body of its past accumulation of abstract sense data. Your cognitive processes don’t yet see the mystery of existence in this world as it is.
“And nothing does the job better than gathering abstract sensory data from sexual experiences. The breaking of time must be a very gentle process. By this I mean that you shouldn’t use the abstract sense data to intend to be aware of the atoms in your body. You're not there yet. You don't have enough power for that yet. When you recapitulate your sexual experiences use abstract sense data to become aware of the philosophy of the being who is going to die.”
“ . . . and the basic premise to this philosophy is?"
“The basic premise of the philosophy is that we are perceivers who don't accurately perceive the undeniable fact that one day we will die."
“You see abstract sense data is the most ubiquitious substance in the universe. It exists everywhere and can be found in everything we do. But if one is not aware of abstract sense data then there is no chance of being able to handle it, much less collect it and use it engineer a conscious experience. I nabbed a pen and my notebook from my back back and began to take notes again. “For instance, in this moment what do you hear? I told him there was an cacophony of sounds and that I could hardly distinguish any sound from any other sound.
"Keep investigating the philsophy of the being who is going to die even within this moment."
"How so? What do you mean?"
“By adhering to the tenets of reason."
He looked at me smirkishly. "If we were beings who were going to die then what?"
“If I were a being who was going to die I’d fight it. I’d fight that moment."
“Of course you would. But this is a philosophical study not an ad campaign filled with slogans. If this is your last moment on earth then what premise reasonably falls from that proposition?
I felt groggy. Out of it. I remembered everthing down to the details of the bridge, the metal, the other workers, and the huge windows filled with a horizon of clouds. But I was bugged by something undefinable. I couldn’t concentrate. My attention was preoccupied with something I couldn’t put my finger on. I felt nervous, impatient and internally pulled into a detailed examination of something unknown to me. I felt listless. I noticed my hand were breaking out into a cold sweat. Nervous chills ran up and down the muscles of my body. My forehead started to sweat. I felt I had a definitive need to keep actively engaged in doing something, even though I didn’t know what that something was.
I more or less aimlessly wandered around fixing breakfast, thinking some food would help. A shower later and still no change in my condition. My attention seemed listliss. I was afraid of getting lost in something indefinable. I realized then that I had to swallow my pride and go see Einstein.
"You moron! That is the stupidest things Ive ever heard! You can’t collect abstract sense data by indulging."
“I wasn’t indulging. I was intending!” He laughed aloud.
He grabbed his sport coat and dragged me by the forearm out the door and onto the campus. We rapidly walked about seven or eight laps around the campus mall before going to the financial aid building. Einsetin seemed to be throughly well known by all the staff particularly the ladies. He dragged me down a flight of stairs to a basement and we traveled through a long concrete corridor. We seemed to walk fast paced for nearly a half a mile in the underground corridor before coming to and ascending some steps. The next thing we knew were in the art museum. The museum must’ve opened at 8am because there were students milling about. He led me past painting after painting. And then we stopped in front of a Cubist work.
"Now, mind you, I said the Cubist work is what the senses perceive. When you saw the lines of the universe you saw them with your entire body. Since the senses perceive an abstraction that is much like this Cubist work, it means here is a huge difference between what the senses perceive and what the mind synthesizes. The senses perceive an abstraction and the mind cogitates it into a three-dimensional world."
I readily agreed and told Einstein that we were taught to squint our eyes when looking at a model or a still life in order to really see the arrangement of lights and darks without focusing on the objects. In fact my art teachers never once told me to focus on drawing or painting the objects.
“Unlike Vermeer sitting here looking at his model who is not to move, the Cubists actually invented a new method of painting that allowed them to capture the world as it appears to the senses without interpretation from the mind. Vermeer’s canvas and his model were motionless, unmoving. The Cubists . . ." he said chuckling, “ . . . on the other hand moved both the canvas and the object. They moved around whatever they were painting or drawing – taking their canvas with them. Or they moved the still life. They were interested in capturing all side of the object. In practicing this new method the Cubists actually deconstructed the visual object and arrived at an accurate rendering of abstract sense data as it appears to the human senses from the very moment of our birth to our last moment on this Earth.
After a few more days of intending it happened.
I found myself fully aware of the dichotomy between our world and this new place. I was aware of myself in two places at once and I was walking through what I thought was the house I grew up in and yet at the same time I knew I was home in bed sleeping.
I turned a corner into the kitchen and my body froze to the spot. I was in awe. I saw a young Neanderthal boy of perhaps 15 or 16 years of age doing dishes in the sink. He had short stocky arms that reminded me of the dinosaurs whose arms were much too small for his overall body. They were short arms in the sense that the muscle from the shoulder to the bicep was way too short. The area of the bicep muscle was strong, formidable but again way too short. His forearms were again too short to be human. His entire body and musculature structure was odd in a way that I couldn't really recognize. His head was a block set low on his shoulders with almost no neck. Thick bone surrounded his eyes and cheekbones and his mouth and lower jaw protruded far enough out not be mistaken for a monkey but in no way was he human either.
And then I watched his eyes.
I recounted the entire experience. I found that for the first time in my life, I understood the sense of sheer revulsion of the Conquistadors who conquered the Indians in Mexico or the Europeans who enslaved the blacks in Africa. I was the Conquistadors and the Neanderthal boy Indian. I felt terrible. I was a man who sincerely believed I loved my fellow man. For God's Sake I was a minority! I had grown up with racism thrown in my face and vowed to fight against such stupidity. But now the tables were turned. I felt somehow that my entire cultural heritage, not just as a man of snowy white color, but also as a human being, was invalidated upon coming face to face with the Neanderthal boy. I jumped out of bed, readied myself and hurried over to Einstein’s building.
As I told him every detail of my experience I found myself asking him why I experienced so much revulsion. I announced with authority, “I am a minority for God’ Sake! I should be the last person on the planet to be offended by another living being!
“Are you kidding me? Don’t you see how much of prick you are?!
“There is nothing more offensive than coming into contact with something more intelligent than ourselves!”
He seemed to read my mood and said, “And besides look at you! Have you ever taken a look at yourself? You’re intellectually arrogant! You’re not even out of college and you think you are the world’s greatest painter! Your middleclass background forces you to believe that the world owes you something and that you’re destined for great things! Individually you believe that all you’ve got to do is get into the gears of the social machine and work a bit harder than the rest and – Bingo – success is yours! And on the unexamined other hand, if these treasures are not offered to you then there will be hell to pay! Your greatest fear is that you won’t be a success and that you’ll be nobody. And for the social beings that we are there is nothing worse than being a nobody. You can’t carry all of your arrogant self into an engineered conscious experience. In order to engineer a conscious experience you have to reduce yourself to nothing. You have to disappear quietly with no announcements, with no one noticing and come back in the same manner –without searching for the accolades, the trophies, the recognition of success from a social standpoint. Titles represent finite games with definitive beginings and endings. The infinite game is equal to all others because there are no beginings and endings.
“When you witnessed the Neanderthal, all of that, your entire upbringing was threatened by witnessing the existence of something more intelligent than yourself! Remember? It was only when you saw into his eyes that you became offended.”
“I, . . . But, . . . I mean, . . . how can I be offended by my own imagination!?”
He laughed aloud obviously enjoying the debate and said waving his hand, “Lets just say, at least for now, that the supreme intelligence that must exist out there somewhere challenges us to be more than what we believe we are. The realm of the imagination is the ground for meeting those challenges. If you can’t even get in there then your are deeply occupied by the same thing everybody else is yourself! "
“Hmmph.” I grimaced.
“I urge you to take a good hard look at yourself. Perhaps this is the only way you’ll be able to acquire enough abstract sense data to produce an awareness of the atoms in your body. I would recommend that you say good-bye to everyone you’ve every truly cared for or loved. Make a list of the people you’ve truly felt affection or love for and go back through each encounter with that single person. For instance, your mother, every night before you go to bed sit up straight and say goodbye to her in a good loud voice. Say it like you’ll never see her again. Then using your list, go back through every single encounter you’ve had with her. Start from the preseant and go back to your most important teenage moments. The ones you remember most! Breathe in the scene while moving your head to the left or to the right. Visualize all the details of the scene – where the chair is, where the windows are, the color of the light, the time of day. Get every perceptual detail and then exhale every perceptual detail. But do this as if it were you’re last act on this earth only that way will those perceptual details be imbued with enough power to be turned back again into what they were originally; abstract sensory information. Then focus on the emotions in the scene blow out the emotions you don’t want to keep. Breathe in and hold dear the affection, the love, the amount of time and attention your mother gave you. Keep those and whatever else you find as your own. Do this with each person on your list.
“I cannot tell you or warn you enough that there is no weaker a moment for the person who intends to engineer a conscious experience than the moment after one has collected abstract sensory information with this breath. Because in one moment, you have retrieved, veritably, and pardon my french but – shit loads of abstract sensory data, depending upon how closely you remember what the five senses perceived in those past moments. You have to choose then and there how you want to use that immense amount of abstract sensory data. And then you have to intentionally act in a practical manner to turn that abstract data into imaginary sensory data. By that I mean that after you’ve reviewed the scenes, toss pennies into a jar, do a disciplined action with which you can focus your intention to ‘be aware of the atoms in your body.’ Or better yet, let me show you moves that strengthen the flexibility of the body and strengthen it. The unification of your body and mind can be enhanced by doing simple disciplined movements."