Friday, August 14, 2009

An Awareness of The Atoms in The Body

I was furious. My physics professor had just given a talk on atoms and went on about how atoms constitute the very basis of everything around us. I quickly made my way across campus heading to Einstein's office. Upon arrival I found his door unusually locked. Immediately I began frantically knocking. He came and unlocked it. I burst into the room and spewed forth a tirade.“Why can’t we be aware of the atoms in our bodies? Four hundred years of white philosophers who are too stupid to suggest the question! Oh my God! There is a huge piece of the puzzle is missing”

“Oh, now you’re going to blame ‘white’ philosophers?”

“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"

Einstein swiveled in his wooden chair, picked up a pencil and jotted something down on notepad. "How did all this come about?"

I told him that during the physics professor’s lecture I began to wonder why I was aware of my body physically, as flesh and blood, but not aware of the atoms in my body – which – according to our modern scientific understanding – are also a part of the flesh and blood of my body. It seemed to make no sense that I could move my arm, pick up my pencil and not – at that same time – be manipulating the atoms of my body at some unconscious level. Einstein leaned back listening intently.

“According to modern chemistry cells of the human body are made of molecules and molecules are made of atoms. So I agree with your analysis. Yes you are moving millions if not billions, if not nearly a quadrillion, of atoms in your arm when you pick up a pencil.”

“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.

"Which is?" I looked at him glaringly openly challenging his non-belief in my skill.

Einstein swiveled around to his desk again, scribbled something down and swiveled back. "You simply don't have enough abstract sense data within your cognitive processes to engineer a conscious experience of the atoms in your body. And your handling of abstract sense data is inefficient. In short," he said standing. "You don’t have the necessary experience to engineer a conscious experience of your body as atoms."

"That's crap! I'll do it."

He laughed aloud and looked out the window. "Why not go back to the Neanderthals world.”


“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.

"You're problem is simple. It's just that you have yet to take responsibility for the fact that you will one day die."

I was taken aback "What do you mean? Of course I know that one day I will die. I don't drive into oncoming traffic! I eat well. I keep myself in shape!"

"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.

"We are always looking back at our lives, reflecting on what happened when we were five, when we were ten, and so on. This traps us into looking back at – to use your slang – what we shoulda, woulda or coulda done to change our present situation. People in these shoes obsessively fill themselves with regret. In watching the retreat of time we strap the past– literally and figuratively – onto our backs and almost always blame someone else and even ourselves for our present day malady."

"Another aberration of the human condition is continually being wrapped up in some vain but glorious rendition of future selves. ‘How great I will be! How powerful!’” Einstein looked at me peircingly. "I saw that in you when you came in ranting an raging. 'Oh how great YOU will be after you experience the atoms in your body! That's trash. Check it at the door before you come in next time."

I felt like I was being scolded by my parents and seemed to revert to a non-judgemental state of mind.

“Here in ruminating feelings of worthiness or worthlessness," he scribbled a big circle at the tip of the arrow." We look back at our past blaming most of our maladies on others - 'my parents didn't raise me right', 'my girlfriend is not good enough', 'no one understands me,' no one knows how I feel.' Or ‘white philosophers screwed it all up for us!' " He laughed aloud.

"Increasing your worth in the future is based on your past inadequacies and personal shortcomings. In that way, even think we are future oriented, we carry the past with us and time seems continuous. Right? Think about it. If time were to stop being continuous – if your imagined future self can't be phenomenally rich, or famous – then there is a part of you clinging to the continuity of time. But if you're intending to become aware of the atoms in your body you're going to need to let go of all that. You're going to have to begin a serious study of the philosophy of a being who is going to die.

"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.

I kept scribbling notes down on my pad of paper.

“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."

I scribbled it down in my notebook.

"I'm meeting another professor at the student union cafe at 11. Would you care to join me?" He turned around did a double take of the room and grabbed his sport jacket. “Lets go to the cafĂ©.” I paused for a moment gathered my things and we bounded out of his office and found ourselves waking down across the university plaza.

The cafe was busy. It didn’t look like we’d find a table but at the last moment a space opened up. And we sat there sipping our warm drinks.

“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.

"At least apply an ounce of concentration."

Immediately I felt indignant. But in spite of my feelings. I closed my eyes and detected a noisy background filled with the murmor of people talking, kitchen noises complete with the clattering of dishes and a cash register. I told him all this.

"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."

"What are the tenets of reason?"

"The tenets of reason is the principle belief that the continued uses of the ability to reason leads one to be more and more reasonable. Or put another way, the tenets of reasoning allow one to examine a proposition, or a statement from all sides allowing one to comprehend the whole from a sum of its parts.

“Okay." I said still lost. "How is that applicable in this situation?”

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?

"Uh . . . there is no past and no future?"

"Yes, if we were beings who were going to die then we’d treat every moment as equal to the next. And . . ." he said waving his finger and taking a sip. ". . . since every moment could very well be our last moment it is ridiculously unfounded to expect anything in return."

I scribbled down and said aloud, " – a being who is going to die has no expectations."

"One could surmise that a being who is going to die doesn’t cloud his view of the mystery of the existence with confabulated stories of his failures or his successes. And neither does he press his successes and failures on those around him. He takes responsibility for his past and future because, in accordance to the philosophy, both are equal.

He looked at me and asked. "What can we imagine about a being who behaves in such manner?

"Uhh, he certainly can't take himself to seriously cuz he doesn't have a moment to cling to the past and he has no aspirations for the future."

“Of course. And a being who behaves in such a manner delivers to every moment an equal amount of attention because without a past to dictate his present actions and therefore no undertaking is laborious and no moment can be so boring as to be blotted out of his attention. However, I partially disagree with your proposition that a person in a life or death struggle has no aspirations. Yes, he has no ambition to be - the best competitor, the richest, the most handsome, the smartest, and so on. A being who is going to die knows his next action is all he has and he doesn't waste those actions by toiling around with some futuristic notion of himself. And yet, in making each act count he aspires to become aware of, or perceive, or rather come to the realization that he honestly does not know what it really means to die, to let go of everything one's ever known.

I was taking notes like crazy.

“This leads us to the next, in a multitide of questions that arise. For instance, what is so important in this moment that is without a past or a future? Firstly, a being who is going to die has to pay attention to every sight, sound, taste, touch and smell of the world no matter how small and insignificant they are. Because he is fighting for his life and can take nothing for granted. And he must give more than the best of himself to perceiving the perceptual stimuli around him because this is it! This is the moment where one will die. Look around. Take it all in. Memorize every detail. Look away and look back. Notice the smallest most insignificant changes. There is no gaurantee that we will live beyond this moment."

"Uh, uh a meteor could be plummeting out of the sky right now aimed right for us!"

"Indeed! In moments like these who wants to die in crappy mood, or involved in some petty act that takes one's eyes of the marvel of the perceptual world. The sounds, the sights and textures of the world! How incredible! The study of being who is going to die also is a study of the human condition when we don't know we are going to die one day.

"When we don't pay attention to the world around us if it were not our last moment we end up delusional not-so-sober-minded creatures. We end up drunk on indulgence, drunk on our sense of rightousness, our sense of revenge, on those who have trespassed against us. Drunk on the idea of ourselves and on how we've been wronged or how right or great we are. When you treat every moment as equal to every other moment – a moment will come to you when you realize you can give more than you receive – without expectation for anything in return. We have to be reasonable. Death is final. There is no reward in dying. If one is aware of this then in every act such a person undertakes there is an equal amount of happiness, pleasure, and/or whatever emotions the person is made of."

He looked up and waved at his friend who was making his way toward our table. He looked at me. "Keep going. Keep studying this philosophy. Perhaps then your spirit will become more balanced and perhaps then you will be able to intend an awareness of the atoms of your body. But I urge you to first, intend to go back to the Neanderthal's world. There is no sense biting off more than you can chew. Start humbly and work forevermore to be humble but equal to everything that surrounds you.

* * *

Somehow being with Einstein allowed my attention to be filled to the brim with interesting and curious thoughts and ideas. But when I got back to my apartment I began to think about the atoms of my body and why I wasn't aware of them. I hated being denied what I wanted to do and decided then and there that I was going to prove to him that I could become aware of the atoms in my body. It took all of my spare time over three days to make of list of all my ex-lovers and past romances. As soon as I was done I began use the visualization breath exercise to recover the accumulated abstract sense data. After each recapitulation session, I rubbed my hands over and over on the bed, every night before bed and intended to be aware of the atoms in my body.

One night I dreamt of being up in a cloud like city or air ship. I was a commander on the bridge of a crew that relied upon me to direct the mission. It was a rather slow day and I decided to take the day off. I moved toward the steps leading down from the bridge. When I took the first step the scene dissolved and I found myself stepping down and taking another step down into zillions and zillions of luminescent lines. Each line glow with an yellow golden glow and all were perfectly straight and look to be solid but were solid in anyway I had ever seen. With each step I would step down feet, then eight feet and then twelve feet. I kept moving down with bigger and bigger steps. The lines were everywhere. I endlessy fell or kept or stepping down through lines and lines of luminesence plodding and plodding away for what seemed, upon awakening, to be eight hours.

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.

Did I have to go to class? Did I forget a homework assingment that might be due today. But it wasn't something about school, or my friends or myself. I noticed I was extremely suspicious about the world. I became more nervous and felt that i didn't trust something about the world. This insight into my condition only compounded my nervousness. The palms of my hands were sweaty. The next moment I felt as if I were in emotional and intellectual anguish over something that I had indefinably lost. Something was not right.

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.

"You know the difference and you should be smarter than that! You saw the lines of the universe." He grabbed me by the arm and hustled me into the sunlight. "Physicists will posit their string theory till kingdom come but they can’t be bothered with the methods involved with seeing the lines of the universe directly using their own bodies as the instrument of perception. They'd say the human body doesn't qualify as a scientific instrument" He grabbed me by the jaw and swiveled my head back and forth using the sunlight to look into my eyes.

"You saw the lines of universe and what you’ve done is very dangerous because if you see them too long Poofa! You die. But somehow, probably because you are stubborn and sometimes just plain dumb, you managed to survive. You're feel trapped don't you, by something indefinable?"

I nodded.

"That's because part of your body still sees the lines of the universe but your mind refuses to acknowledge it. You’re right to be worried. Any more pressure and you will spontaneously combust. Just kidding. But we’ve to seal the division between the two. The boundary between this world and the next must must be sealed completely."

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.

"This Cubist painting is as accurate a representation of what the senses perceive without interpretation from the mind . . .” Einstein shuffled me to the painting beside the Cubist work. “ . . . as this Vermeer is a representation of what the senses perceive with interpretation from the mind.”

"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."

He motioned for me to sit down on a bench where we could view both paintings.

"It has been debated since time immemorial the the senses are only capable of perceiving sensation. And historically, it's been concluded, more often than not, that sensation is meaningless stimuli. The mind lends meaning to sensation. The mind's synthesis assembles sensation from each sense, that in and of themselves do not even perceive the same things. The eye perceives light while the ears perceive sound. The sense of touch perceives neither light nor sound, but detects textures, liquids and what not. What is the glue that synthesizes the sound of running water with feel of liquid running through one's fingers?"

"The imagination."

"Yes of course, the first and foremost power of consciousness - the imagination. At night when we dream the imagination lets go of its day to day synthesis and one perceives other arrangements of perception. When you see the lines of the universe your imagination failed to glue together a three-dimensional world. As such you saw the fundamental basis of reality – the lines of the universe with your full body – not just your senses. During regular dreams the mind synthesizes sensations collected in the body over the course of the day. A disciplined collection of sensations or the more technical term abstract sense data leads to the production of a disciplined state of awareness one that is completely separate from the daily world.

"Look at that Picasso. He has accurately depicted a abstract sense data as it appears to the senses. More accurately that Picasso depicts abstract sense data as it appears to two senses – sight and touch. That's why I'm showing it to you so your senses and your mind can gently realign itself with the conglomerate whole we call the world.

"So next time this happens all I have to do is look at a Picasso and I'll be better?"

"Hereafter, I think I am going to call you by a new name. Ned Block."

"Ned Block?"

"No, you can't just look at a Picasso to save yourself! You are as dense as a rock sometimes!"

I laughed aloud at his new name suggestion.

"Physical exercise is what focused your mind and body on this world and allowed your body to let go of the lines of the universe. You see you have to be aware that the senses perceive an abstraction 24/7. The mind refuses to acknowledge this just as it refuses to acknowledge seeing the lines of the universe. Piaget's study of infant perception demonstrates the adaptive power of consciousness that turns that abstraction, which, for many justifiably reasons, is as jumbled as that Cubist work. For instance, like the Cubist work the infant has no depth perception to allow a perceptual distinction between the foreground and the background. Look at that – the background is the foreground. The more one looks at a Cubist work the more the background and foreground oscillate. Assuming Piaget had some insight into the manner in which infant's perceive, same things occurs for them – background and foreground are indistinguishable.

"And further, look how transparent the planes and surfaces are in Picasso's work. The infant does not see objects but sees a world of lights and darks. The infant's power to synthesize the images on his or her retina with the tactile sensations begin the minds' production of objects. Only when the infant learns the images his eyes register have tactile presence does foreground and background, and hence depth, take their proper place and Shazam! Piaget deduced that by the time we are a year and half old we perceive the world, for the most part, as Vermeer depicts it.

"But Einstein, objects are real. The mind doesn't produce them from nothing but, according to your theory, it produces them from abstract sense data. But abstract sense data is still derived from the object."

"Any reasonable person would think that is the case. However, abstract sense data has a different sense of time. As you’ve perhaps encountered in your art classes, there are a set of techniques historically passed down since time immemorial that allow artists to engage and be aware of abstract sense data. As part of your academic training as an artist you have probably been introduced to many different techqniques that allow you to engage and become aware of abstract senses data."

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.

"What can you say about your sense of time when you look at this Picasso?"

"Time seems fragment and yet there is a sense of eternity."

"There are scientific studies that have tested the eyes and have found that our eyes and don’t see the world as three-dimeinsional but rather as sensory information devoid of meaning. The wonder of the senses is that they transmit this information to the brain where, as best our scientific knowledge can tell us, is where consciousness may very well be. Science shows us that the eyes can only register the light of the world as abstract shapes, without depth, meaning or significance.

He stood and walked up the Picasso.

"As such the Cubists painted a representation of the perceptual environment – the world – pre-synthesis – as the senses perceive it – that is just as accurate as Vermeer’s depiction of the perceptual environment post-synthesis – after the cognitive production of three-dimensional objects. Vermeer’s painting is astounding in its verisimilitude, which for all accounts and purposes, is an exacting depiction of our consensual agreement to perceive a three-dimensional world. Once we learn how to put the world together its off to the money-making mills and vacations in Aruba. What we don't know is that the function of consciousness is to create a 1:1 rapport between abstract and imaginary sense data. Artists, are seemingly the only ones, who looking back, and saying – what about perceiving? Wasn't I supposed to learn something about perceiving? The parents are dragging them away from their crayons and chalk." His hand imitated a child being dragged away screaming.

"That's the definitive moment for the artists. The child that says, "No I want to learn about perceiving. Is an artist from that moment on they are curious and asking can I draw? Take pictures? Dance? Play the saxaphone? The rest of 'em run off and become bankers and financiers' who are completely unconcerned with the sheer fact that we perceive anything at all. This is the mystery of all mystery. Why do we perceive at? It's only when you perceive the other side of the coin that you know. As you've already demonstrated to yourself.

We walked out the museum and parted ways. He, I assume, went back to his lab. And I went off to class.


After each recapitulation session I used the abstract sense data I had collected to intend to ‘go to the Neanderthals world.’ After a few days my intention to 'go to the Neanderthals' world moved down from my head to my abdomen. It was no longer merely a thought and the working of a couple concepts. I felt unified in body and mind and it became much easier to see more opportunities to collect imaginary sensory data. I knew in my gut that I was afraid to die but in spite of my fear of dying I was exhilarated by the idea of dying for nothing, dying for an idea for a moment for a jump into the Neanderthal’s world.

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.

He was in no way aware of me. The Neanderthal boys' eyes glistened and watched his moves as he washed dishes and put them into a drainer for drying. Suddenly my entire mood of awe reversed course. I was totally repulsed by what I saw. It was horrific. I detested the sight of this 'man' who was short, stocky and his arms were in a configuration that made me experience sheer revulsion. The revulsion I felt was bodily. Every ounce of my body disagreed with what it perceived in that moment. The two opposing and contradictory views in me were so overwhelming that the engineered conscious experience ended. I awoke in my bed.

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! "

He stood from his chair and announced, “Affection is the highest form of intelligence in the universe!” Einstein declared standing up from his chair. “That is why it is so rare on our world! Without affection we would be slaves to love. Love is usually a mutual agreement to give affection only to each other. But we rarely give affection freely. We demand payment for its expression and share it only with those we trust and yet affection has to be the most intelligent thing there is. Think of it. How better to introduce yourself to another intelligent being than with the utmost affection?

“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."

He pulled out some yoga mats from a cupboard and layed them on the floor. And then he showed me 12 movements. Before we started he told me to pause between each movement for roughly the same amount of time that I practiced the movement.


1 comment:

Indie Poetry said...

To sneak around the big Buddha and be free is the ultimate audacity. Love this.

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