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  • Writer's pictureDan Thompson

Meaning in Adversity in Relation to TOE (Theory of Everything)

Meaning comes through adversity, where traumatic events (as well as fortuitous ones) lead to breakthroughs, realizations; timeless, ecstatic revelations that structure the crystal of one’s life in the same way that similar events; collisions, explosions structure the universe. Each event being a node in the crystal.

The purpose to life is a life of purpose, where the real meaning of life is to accumulate knowledge, and more importantly, experience, that we turn into knowledge. As long as one never finds it or defines it, in no uncertain terms, there will always be something to live and work for.

Like at the end of a game, when we win the gold and defeat the dragon, what comes next is predictable and boring. We don’t want to play in God-mode, with no challenges left. But that is exactly how some ‘privileged’ types i.e. rich, advantaged, connected etc. actually live. This is in itself a perverse kind of disadvantage. There is no success without adversity. But it often isn’t the kind of success that one envisions when they think of success.

Once meaning is established, purpose becomes clear. It is not society’s responsibility to bestow meaning, it is the individual’s, otherwise the individual would be relegated to whatever purpose or meaning that society has in mind for them (and often this purpose is not in the individual’s favour). Society’s values and needs begin to take precedence over the individual. Might makes right. The survival of the fittest. Greed is good, etc.

Society is in no position to bestow meaning because society doesn’t have any inherent meaning. Society is rather the extrinsic appearance of every thought, impulse and desire of our undisciplined and often contradictory selves. Reality is duality and duality, by definition, is not what it seems.

If reality is not what it seems, then culture is a simulation within a simulation. An operating system that runs parallel to the actual (more real?) operating system. The only way to break this spell is to expose the one in order to reveal the other. In this case it’s materialism and idealism. And we will be exploring how each performs as ontological primitive in the search for the origins of consciousness and experience. These explorations are generally called Theories of Everything and attempt to unify the hithertofore incompatible theories of nature. While I talk about these various ideas, I do not attempt to unify them, but rather talk about them from the perspective of theory as art.

            It’s not just scientists that study these ideas, but artists and writers as well, so it can be said that art is the aesthetic mode of TOE that everyone is trying to locate, describe and quantify. Art in the subjective perception of experience, art in the spirals of a flower, art in the self-similar patterns of a coastline. 

TOE is the highest order of meaning, its purpose, however, is still elusive. We are still in the early days of purpose. What we had before was faith. The confidence that things would get better, if not stay the same, but history has proven that things don’t get better, nor do they stay the same, that in fact they make very little sense at all.

This can either be frightening, or it can be a source of endless opportunity. Even facts seem to change on occasion, but this is only because we aren’t sure how these facts come to be in the first place. It may seem absurd that so many intelligent people spend so much time on these theories, even more so because a lot of them seem unlikely candidates for how things really work. But it is my feeling, since I have such a feeling myself, that these people don’t just do it because they want to, but because it is consciousness itself that insists on such a pursuit. While we must limit ourselves to certain courses of inquiry, out of parsimony and the constraints on our finite lives, consciousness, and mind-at-large, are under no such restrictions, and permit the most incredible flights of fancy, because it can, using human beings as its agents. Even though many of them insist that there is no inherent purpose to the universe, that it is all just a computation (while, at the same time, making a case for determinism), they still go on trying to prove the most absurd, literal interpretations of quantum mechanics and consciousness itself, but if the universe really had no purpose, they would probably spend their time doing something else, or wouldn’t feel the need to do anything at all. It’s as if these theorists, many of them hardcore materialists, are searching for God harder than anyone, but are only doing so in the most literal fashion. I say literal in the pejorative because they assume that there is a unified field, but deny that it could be consciousness or what other less scientific ‘bumpkins’ call God. The irony is that their assumption of a unified theory and the search for it are faith-based as well, and rely on purpose and unity, otherwise we wouldn’t have a universe, or a desire to understand it.

Purpose, it could be said, happens in stages. The first is knowing that there is something to know. Then with knowledge comes curiosity (the second stage), from there we develop an interest, which feeds back into a curiosity (desire) to know more—learning (see: noesis, noema). If our learning is successful, we assimilate and understand what we have learned. Finally, we reach the stage of praxis. Pursuing this course of investigation, we achieve a process that we can use to interpret any kind of information (nearly). Then all of a sudden purpose appears where previously there had been only speculation, theory and doubt.

In an age of deceptions, cover-ups and lies we must use our faculties of critical thinking to isolate and extract the information, possibly even Truth, from the dross of culture. It isn’t too much information that is the problem, but the lack of interest and curiosity on the part of the people to discover the truth for themselves. In fact, many people don’t even believe in truth anymore, because they simply don’t believe anything. But belief is not something that finds us through culture or religion, we find it. It takes work. Things are going to look and seem pointless until we find a reason to care (see: the , deriving meaning and eventually purpose.

The reason all the various teachings, paths, and religions don’t seem to answer the questions we are asking—namely what is our purpose? What is the meaning of life—is because they are speaking to us; the individual through the culture. They are a movie playing for our spiritual entertainment. They passify a need, but they don’t get us any closer to truth because we are looking at it from the perspective of what we’re not, an object embedded in culture, rather than what we are, which is consciousness itself.

The world cuts us off from the larger consciousness system. We are meant to be happy, it is the world that makes us unhappy.

We cannot grasp the teachings from the perspective of what is in essence a dual person with one part of our attention in the body and the other in consciousness, or one foot in culture and the other in the self. What we’re looking for is always, already here.

We are not individually successful, this is only a temporary arrangement, our real success is reintegration with the universal consciousness where we are truly creative, truly successful, truly happy; which will eventually lead to success in this life, even though we aren’t identifying with it.

It’s not that success is relative, it is just not over until we find it. How does that saying go? ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.’ That’s not to say things have to be perfect, they probably won’t be and they don’t necessarily have to change. But if they can they will. We can endure living in unfair and imperfect circumstances if we cease to take those circumstances seriously. This can be taken too far though as it is with nihilism, black pill or the clown world meme, best exemplified by the movie, Joker (2019) starring Joaquin Phoenix. Proponents of this position only get half way, they see the ‘joke’ of reality (duality), for what it is—not real— but instead of avoiding it and getting out of its way, they head right into it. Perversely embracing what they know to be deceptive and harmful, which is exactly why we need these teachings; non-duality, metaphysics, the religious/ spiritual impulse—the same impulse that compels us to search for a theory of everything—in order to recognize the circumstances that we were born into and have the courage to avoid them by taking another path.

The training and truth that these teachings shows us is that it isn’t consciousness that suffers or is making us suffer, it is the mind, which has been fooled into identifying itself with the ego.

If it isn’t the mind that is suffering, it is the body and if it isn’t the body that is suffering, it is the mind and after a time, we will be able to tell the difference between the not I that is suffering and the I that cannot suffer. We have simply forgotten that who we are—the one that suffers—is a condition of living in this world—inhabiting the world through a physical body.

We’ve all heard people say that thoughts are primary, that we become what we think; thoughts taking form as thought-forms. If negative thoughts and emotions can be compared to bacteria that grow in stagnant, anoxic environments, then exposing them to the light and air; ultraviolet radiation, that kills them will allow new thoughts and ideas that encourage life and healing, to form. This is done with each breath, which is why the practice of breathing is so important in meditation. With each breath we let in more of the pure outside air, and filter the stagnant air inside and like a valve that has been released, the suffering will be dispersed into consciousness where it is recycled, mixed and ‘purified’ in its environment of possibility, potential and experience, and there isn’t anything that it can’t handle. It has seen, felt and experienced it all, and with every experience it gets better at handling it, and thus, so do you.

As we have said before; it isn’t the world that bestows meaning, it’s us.

This search for meaning and purpose has been inspired by the absence of same in our society. An absence that implies presence, because one cannot exist in exclusion to the other—the other being the One—non-duality, the absolute unknown. The search for purpose seems to presuppose a solution or teleology somewhere still out there. Science, therefore, presupposes a purpose in the universe through their very interest in studying it, while at the same time, denying that any such purpose exists. Having an interest in something suggests that there must be something to have an interest in. Something beyond what we already know. They maintain that they are making discoveries, but how can one discover something that isn’t already there? Therefore making it a re-discovery.

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