Psychology and mental illness

Arguing with the Void

Is science another religion, or does studying it benefit humanity?

The more we learn, the less we know, and that massiveness of not-knowledge is the void. Physically, spiritually, consciously. That which we do not know, cannot observe, cannot comprehend, is outgrowing God so fast that he’s just ordinary beans compared to Jack’s cloud-reaching plant. And we all have a relationship with that not-knowing. Some project onto it what they want to see or feel they should see, some think it gives them power or favor, and very few stare it in its vast nothingness and refuse to look away, refuse to see it as anything different than what it is: our limitation of understanding. Those who would worship this endless indifference or pray to it or hate it cannot influence it. Only those who explore it and keep themselves aware of it are arguing with it, participating in reality, grappling with it and finding out more about it.

Part of the cause of arguing with the void is being creative. We must construct arguments with the void. We must get emotionally attached to, and repelled by, the essence of the void. That is why those of us who truly comprehend that we are infitesmally small in scale compared to the universe hate God, and not God as if he was something conscious, but the very concept of God. And not just in the hugeness of space, but the hugeness of time. It took billions of years for us to happen by random chance, and we happen to be able to observe it. So observe we should. But the majority of our species, rather than observing their own position in relation to nature, needs to follow the feathers of our flocks. Because our flocking species is so terrified of recognizing being alone that we imagine a Human-like God to be with us in our lonely moments, guiding us and portraying the way we’d imagine the ultimate all-powerful father would.

This is the essence of the law of attraction – not that like attracts like, but that we see what we want to see. And it is extremely difficult to accept that we could want for these things to happen. But even THIS fails to acknowledge the size of the void that our oxygen-cycling life forms on this grain of sand so light compared to space that it merely floats, as a dust particle only visible in direct sunlight and magnetized through a windowpane.

Our planets are able to attract the dust particles around them, and we swish and sway in this thing we call spacetime, in relative position to the vastness. The non-air in which we float, us just dust swirling around itself, with even tinier moons pulling on us, and beyond those, more independent things and bigger things – meteors and stars, respectively.

And further out there, as we move from envisioning those specks floating as they would in sunshine, add the other elements: how would those dust particles develop to survive in water, as plots of dirt or sand, or how to exchange atoms in such a way that carbon would burn and convert in the wild energy and power of fire? THAT is the massive size of the UNIVERSE and you think you’re important? That something out there is thinking about you? Someone, perhaps? Someone who might like you for who and what you are?

By ignoring the obviousness of these questions, we do not endure and understand the void. Rather, we put a mask on the void and in our narcissism insist that WE can name the creatures, have dominion over them. Adam, the namer. Noah, the survivor. Abraham, the patriarch. David, the hero. Christ, the savior, leading the sheep because they are an innocent, clumsy, stupid animal that flocks together because they are so afraid of being alone, they long for a shepherd. They invent a shepherd because it is easier to follow an imaginary father figure who will comfort with rod and staff and offer ease, green pastures and still waters.

The laziness of humanity is what used religion to paint a face on the universe that told us it was on our side. But if you recognize that we are learning to observe and understand the very real, very physical reality around us, why should we want to see it for anything different than what it is? Science acknowledges how little we know about that massive out-thereness that is the universe. Muhammed the Prophet, the descendant of an entire region of the world, teaching the learned like goats. They must climb with expertise from a young age, balancing on slim rocks on all floors with their hoofs. Dodging prey. The man must watch his sheep to make sure other predators don’t steal them, because he is lazy and wants to keep a supply of food always with him, colonizing it rather than doing what all of the other animals on this planet do, and scavenge to feed him himself just with just what he needs. And so the sheep and the goats are divided, simply because goats are independent and intelligent.

The cruelty of poverty is that it can be difficult to justify or have the capability to invest in creativity. It is terribly hard to understand the vastness of the void and refuse to project our own hopes, prayers, and fears onto how we view it, and know that it is just nothingness out there and nobody is listening or even knows, and get out of bed every day, in excruciating pain and living in a body that is dependent on shelter and nourishment, to search for a job to maybe get so overworked that maybe it’s not worth it to keep a shared roof over your head with passive-aggressive people so maybe, someday, you won’t have to walk a mile to grab the number of groceries for the next day and a half’s worth of food because it’s as much as you can carry while walking a mile back. In snow and with old shoes that leak and a threadbare coat in Seattle’s wind. Only a few days later it will be sweltering heat and you’ll be sorry if you didn’t bring something cold to drink on the way there, but you can’t bring a drink into the store or they’ll accuse you of stealing because you look homeless.

Did we really have to chop down these forests and colonize the animals so we can produce food and create need and sell it to each other? You start to wonder. And people who don’t have to struggle to survive are incredibly blind to how much we’ve agreed to starve and exploit our own species at the whim and comfort of the rich. But those who trust an all-powerful meditation trick or burning certain spices or a yoga position or going barefoot or relationship with the universe or a determination to obey a deity, are not helping with the cause. Unless.

Unless they truly use these as a tool for arguing with the void. The powerful magician who learns his rituals and can enter a trance to summon power from this depth of energy that we happen to be able to see amongst the particles that others cannot see, is not merely focusing hard enough to believe that magick might or might not work, but playing. The magician loves his work as long as he can open his crown chakra and third eye far enough to realize he is dancing with particles and communing with the quantum realm and astronomical realm, our next door neighbors in sharing our exchange of light and warmth.

Lose sight of our true position, as far as we can see it, and instantly something else becomes your religion. So it has been in the development of human psychology, we who are descended from dumb sheeple. It is so easy to, in the midst of our distress, look between the lines for a shepherd to worship, to guide us on this way, rather than arguing with the void through learning more about it. So it is true when the religious accuse “angry atheists” of “worshiping themselves instead of God.” Because in a sense, we do, and realized it was not a sin, because God is dead and we have only ourselves as guides, and being alone, and playing with nature through creativity and cooperation, benefits consciousness.

The expansion of consciousness, awareness in our surroundings.

And so it is that our careers as goats among sheep mirror each other. The coder-artist can at least see that in some small way, if they design a user-friendly interface, they are creating a ripple effect among those who would feel the painlessness of doing something easily. After all, we know what it’s like to need to file some other fucking government piece of paper and you have to click all over the website before calling them to ask where it is, and finding out you have to take two extra busses and not get home until an hour later because you have to go to the library and pay to print the piece of paper before bringing it back to get it signed and submitted before you can even legally be allowed to eat.

“You’re allowed to eat!” The comfortable freedom-loving middle class insists. “Don’t be dramatic and don’t complain! At least it’s a free country!”

But is it free? I wonder as I slip a piece of cheese into my mouth when the customer isn’t looking, preparing the tenth sandwich of the day for customers who shrugged at adding a couple of more slices of cheese for two dollars more, and I spitefully hoped they hear my stomach growl, crying out that if I had two dollars I’d know exactly how to get a whole meal out of it, and I’d have to scavenge until I got paid tomorrow. Is it legal for me to eat? I ask, knowing the laws of this land, living among people who’d rather herd sheep than see how big and awe-inspiring the universe is, say that even though food is everywhere and the majority of what’s on the shelves of this store right now will go to waste, I have to work for money to exchange money for that food that’s right in front of me.

This is not how it makes sense for humans to live together, but greed drowns out my right to live. And I wonder if I have any right to complain because the lower you are on the human ladder of stupidity and made-up pretend laws and money and people-in-charge, the tighter the grip the wealthy have around your neck. Exploitation at every level. Always harvesting and preparing the colonized food and shelter and luxuries for the next level up. And making sure it’s not too edgy for those who could see it as wrong to stop it. Export suicidal-levels-of-depression-causing jobs, so the Americans who feed off China don’t see it. Put the intense warfare of fighting over black gold elsewhere, where the Americans who fuel their transportation off the blood of the earth extracted in the Middle East. Cause endless child soldiers in places so destroyed from lack of resources and the exploitation of the extremely rich, underpaying for diamonds so some white Christian girl can pretend that God helped her fiancé “find the perfect ring.”

That’s the relationship between luck and logic, between perception and only having things go your way because your lifestyle is exploitative and you’re comfortable enough and it’s so sterilized that you don’t have to think about it. So you can look across the counter and spend seven dollars on a tiny container of salad during your hour lunch from the office, chuckle that you’ll pamper yourself with a few jojoes, and can’t even make eye contact with the homeless girl serving you food, though if you knew I was homeless, you’d probably think the food wasn’t good enough for you, and I’d be forced to throw it away because it’s illegal to eat the leftovers.

Of course, there’d always be one or two people on the team who couldn’t eat today, so we’d watch each other’s backs. Sneak them a few bites of food or whatever we have of loose change to help them make it through the day. But we have to backstab. We have no other choice. We all hate the lazy ones because none of us could get away with doing so little, and they’ve been pampered instead of primed for the work life. So the poor are thieves, and massive companies lose thousands in profits every year, simply because they know it’s less expensive to incentivize people to steal here and there, than to pay them a wage that’s livable and will give them enough to survive. On a chart in front of a board room of heartless millionaires, given the choice between “paying them enough” and “loss of assets or money,” the margin will always be judged as the difference between how desperate the exploited decide to be without revolt. And it’s been working fantastically from the dawn of human civilization as long as they keep blaming the weak for their own helplessness.

We rationalize it to our ourselves, rather than just gleaning the things the earth gives us, like the omnivores we are. After all, why should the wild predator armed with cash be any less ruthless than the wild predator with muscles and teeth? Well, the rich and powerful man is not wild. He is caged. Like a lion starved before tearing apart prisoners or slaves in the coliseum, so is the workaholic starved for attention in the boxed-in home before going to sit at a box-shaped desk to yell at people below him who aren’t fitting into his boxy design for a boxy system that can fit neatly on a spreadsheet filled with black and white boxes. And only those who can recognize that we can be one with nature cannot feed ourselves, because we are not free when humans choose to live like this, painting a face on the universe instead of recognizing where we are in time and evolution.

There is hope. And that is the collective consciousness, that thing that those of us who constantly wrestle with suicide so detest in our darkest moments, that sliver of possibility that our smallness gives us freedom to explore. If only the society we live in could figure out how to survive to live, instead of living to survive.

You see, interactions matter. Thoughts matter. They expand awareness and it grows, at an evolutionary scale of time and an astronomic to quantum scale of space, in another dimension, a third base of existence. So study is power, kindness is power, to influence this. But we must not think that power is anything more than an argument with the void. We must not pretend that we even understand our enemy, only that the void is indifferent and is the nothingness beyond what we know, what we think, what we observe, what we feel. We must refuse to pretend. We must not fall in love with the metaphor, losing sight of the fact that it is only a description of what is. Science and religion do not compete, science is the superior thing because it is accepting and aware, while religion is abrasive and stiff and immobile, insisting that its deity is real, dissociating its way through worship and exploitation. How should we then live? The chained people in Plato’s cave cry out, in hope of a leader, and yet scientists refuse to make themselves leaders, heroes, prophets, shepherds, because they know those are just stories. Celebrities who recognize the meaninglessness of it all kill themselves because the masses project god-like perceptions onto them. Science says we are all human, all small, just animals, and we’re pretty dumb and like to be lazy and comfortable, and it’s hard to find a few among us who are intelligent.

And even fewer of those intelligent ones have any ability to demonstrate it, because we’re caught in the web of those predators who want to exploit us for petty wealth.

We cannot study and think and observe and learn and create and follow the compelling argument with the void, without eating. Living to eat just proves that we are wasting our precious, tiny, short lives on this planet that is meaningless to the vastness of space. Living to eat means we prioritize in such a way that work comes before survival and the work of being human, existing, playing, educating and being educated. Eating to live means putting survival in its place and knowing it is not God who provides our food, but rather we who are surviving as a tiny part of evolution. Eating to live acknowledges that the resources we extract from the blood and sweat of those below us on the human ladder of stupidity are not worth the exploitation. And don’t get me started on how this willful ignorance of humanity leads to confusion between the two, murdering our heroes and exalting our oppressors. Eating to live improves quality of life for all, no matter how consciously adept.

And so I conclude that it benefits the consciousness, expanding our knowledge and spreading that ripple effect of communication, meaning that if only one person understands this message, it is worth the effort. So the application of studying science is the most beneficial way to expand consciousness. Spreading our knowledge is crucial. It is a step, and only a miniscule step, beyond living just to eat.

So if you’re wondering why it’s been so long since I made my presence online known, it’s because I’ve been surviving. Enduring homelessness, starting over, relying on the gifts of acquaintances to feed me until I could write, debate, and participate again.

To those who understand, be encouraged. You are alone, and that is okay, because you are a sturdy mountain goat. God is dead, but we have the ability to reconstruct the pattern of how we think which in turn drastically impacts our ability to live.

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