The Youniverse

Cause and Effect

I’d like to get into the concept of cause-and-effect. The concept revolves around the idea that for every effect there is some sort of cause(s) and vice-versa. It is a fundamental and very influential concept in our lives; we experience it in every moment of them. It is so ingrained in our psyche that most of the time we don’t even give it a second thought.

So how influential is this concept? Influential enough that it somehow affects every action we take. Our repetitive actions are based on our previous understandings of certain types of cause-and-effect. A typical example of a repetitive action is walking across a room. We know the effect we want (to be on the other side of the room) and we know without a doubt the cause that will create that desired effect (walking). On the other hand, new actions are based on discovering a new type of cause-and-effect. For example, learning to drive a car for the first time is all about discovering the causes of the desired effect (movement) we wish to create from the car. Seems simple enough, right?

On a larger scale, cause-and-effect has been the driving force behind our civilization’s quest to understand the workings of the universe. As we have progressed, we have been discovering many of the mysterious causes of the effects in our world. As a result of our gained knowledge we have been gaining the ability to now take control of many causes and direct them in various ways to create new types of desired effects. Electricity comes to mind as a typical example of this. I believe science in particular, has become the influential force it is today partly due to its impressive track record of being responsible for almost all of these discoveries. Where most of us previously associated almost all effects to supernatural causes (gods and the like), we now understand, thanks to scientific exploration, that many of the causes are actually physiologically based.

However, there has been a constant glimmer of hope for the believers of supernatural causes, a perpetual thorn in science’s side. This has been the outlier in any study. Many times when scientists figure that a specific cause will generate a specific effect, they discover some sort of outlier that rips apart their assumptions and frustrates them to no end. These outliers contradict the notion that a specific effect must be tied to a specific corresponding cause. Some examples: the person who cures cancer without chemotherapy, a “fatal” car accident turning out not to be, a blind person regaining sight, and so on. 

The experience of these outliers has now caused most of us to believe in some concept of luck. We have good luck, which we normally refer to as “miracles” and bad luck, or “accidents”. Now, depending on whether you come from a spiritual or religious perspective or a scientific perspective, luck tends to be attributed to, once again, either a supernatural force or “random chance”. Both of these sources are equally mysterious and ethereal in nature and consequently, most of us believe that the cause of the experiences in life is mysterious, that we ultimately have little say in some aspects of it and that “anything can happen” (albeit usually in a negative manner). 

I don’t believe in luck, or that life has to be completely mysterious or even that we don’t have a say in its outcomes. The reason for this is that I believe that there is another hidden cause behind the effects in life, one that we have ignored for long enough. So, what is the cause? To put it simply, it is us. More specifically, it is our consciousness. 

You see, what we call “life” is just a bunch of experiences strung together. To relate to the concept of cause-and-effect, the experiences in life can be seen as effects. I believe the corresponding cause of these effects is our consciousness. Our consciousness causes every little experience, including our bodies, our planet, the entire physical universe and every concept or idea. Absolutely everything is an effect. Everything you have ever learned, are learning now and will ever learn are all essentially effects.

Similarly to how we have discovered many causes by studying the effects in our universe, these effects help us discover more about their own cause. That is, they tell us about the nature of our consciousness. (As a side note, I believe it is hard to describe pure consciousness, because describing it is just a description of it, not what it actually is. So the experiences of life describe our consciousness at any given moment, but don’t describe the true nature of it. Furthermore I believe the concept of God will actually turn out to be this unaltered pure consciousness, which technically should have many of the qualities we thought God would have, such as infiniteness, unconditionally loving, etc…Consequently I believe that we are the God we have been searching for all this time)

Human existence is another effect generated from the cause of our consciousness. So all the rules and regulations we have thought of as universal are actually germane only to this type of experience. What we have thought of as “life”, and all of the necessities to allow it to continue (food, water and the like) is only one type of effect. They are not the cause of life itself. This means that life is not just attributed to the physical universe, but that the physical universe is attributed to the grander concept of “life”.

Now, if the effects in life are generated from our consciousness, what does that tell us? It gives a clue as to why life has appeared to be random in some ways and helps to explain the outlier I mentioned earlier. Basically, the effect generated in the experiences of life comes down to how we manipulate the cause. We manipulate the cause, our consciousness, by changing the beliefs, definitions and emotions that we entertain within it. As I have said in previous posts, the environment and experiences in life are basically meaningless props. They are devoid of any beliefs or definitions. We are the ones that give them their meaning. The effect we get out of these experiences is completely dependent on the meaning we give them. This is why we can’t really say what effect a person will get from a certain experience until we study their definitions and beliefs of it, not the experience itself. 

So life appears random and mysterious because each of us have different beliefs and definitions. Furthermore, it is the differences in beliefs and definitions that allow us to experience similar circumstances in completely different ways. For example, an earthquake may hit a certain area. One person may not be affected at all by it while others around him/her will experience great destruction. Using our new understanding we can take a look at the people’s different belief structures and see how they directly influenced their experience. 

Similarly to how we can control many physiological effects based on our understanding and manipulation of the causes, we can now create the experiences we have in life by manipulating our consciousness in ways we desire. We can choose to have beliefs, definitions and emotions that we prefer, no matter what others choose. We can choose to look at the experiences in life as expressions of our consciousness that are not separate from us. They are a feedback system and can be used as such to make meaningful changes in each of our lives. 

Once we realize this fact, it will have the power to not only change the experience of our individual lives, but the experience of the entire world as well. Because the world is not separate from us. It is an expression of us and we have the power to change it by changing ourselves. I think Gandhi said it best: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Please feel free to ask questions or add comments. I hope this all makes sense, but I can’t be sure without feedback.


The “Problem” with Religion

I have had issues with religion for a little while now, particularly the Judeo-Christian and Islamic variety. I completely do not agree with the power that it has in compelling people to act in certain ways.

It does all of this under the guise of “God’s will”.  The problem I have with this is, their concept of God is a supreme, omnipotent, infinite being that created everything. The stories usually revolve around the idea that God created humans and we should repay him with a lifetime of worship and adherence to his rules. I don’t want to get into details about the religions. The question I have asked before to religious leaders and will continue to ask is: If God is infinite, how can the universe and ourselves be outside of him? 

The very idea that God is infinite should point to the fact that any concept, any idea, any experience is contained within God. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be infinite. For God to create rules and restrictions he would have to restrict himself from himself. Under those religions’ concepts of God, we would be God, forbidden to experience certain aspects of ourselves, by other parts of ourselves. It’s mind boggling, isn’t it?

So the experience of following rules of the religion is only one “allowed” experience within God, not the only one. There can be no true restriction from God himself. That would be impossible, how is one part of God more powerful than another? Under the concept of an infinite God, anything goes, even the idea that we are all equal portions of him that can experience whatever we wish.

The religions of the world, who shout their messages under his name are merely some people revelling in their ability to control others. They have a right to do this, because that is one type of experience within God, but it can only happen if the people want to be controlled. 

(Last thing, I also thought that if God is infinite then “he” already contains every possible experience, including all types of worship that can ever exist, and has no true needs. Needs would mean that God is incomplete and that clashes with the concept of an infinite God.)


Effects of Depression on Society

The most simple way to explore any type of society is to closely study the lives of the individual members that it is made out of. Furthermore, the simplest way to study the lives of the individuals is to focus on their beliefs and perspective on life and their resulting behaviour and relationships with each other and their environment. This will give a very strong clue as to what the mentality was behind the creation of the structure of the society and its direction in development. 

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at our own society. In my previous post I took a quick look at the life of a typical individual member of our society and came to the conclusion that the majority of us were driven in our individual lives by a need for gaining external validation from other members of our society or by achieving certain circumstances. This drive is based on our fundamental beliefs in our own worthlessness, powerlessness and lack of belonging. I also said that it is predominantly as a result of these particular beliefs that depression is so widespread in our society.

Now, these beliefs have been mirrored exactly in the type of society we have created. I believe that the society, created out of these beliefs and seeking to continue existing in its current form, continues to create even more depression for most of its individual members. Ours is a society based on a disempowered, unworthy population creating various systems of hierarchical power structures in order to gain approval from these structures and to transfer to them the responsibility for our individual and collective lives. 

It isn’t very difficult to see exactly which structures I’m talking about. The current form of the majority of governments, military, religions, corporations, banks and schools amongst others were all created and are currently maintained due to these beliefs. They each demand conformity of their followers in exchange for validation, protection and an increased chance at success. 

But, as I said in some of my earlier posts, conformity and control of any kind will inevitably lead to an even more disempowered population slowly succumbing to their repressed feelings of depression. We are starting to see this now as an increasing number of people are affected by depression and other related psychological diseases. If left unchecked I believe the world will be in a truly sad state, filled with a medicated population forced to use a chemical mask as a sort of last resort for hiding their desolate mental and emotional state.

The good news is, I believe this will not occur because we have reached a sort of collective breaking point. We are currently in a state of great transformation and because of this many of the systems that were built upon the notions of unworthiness and powerlessness are falling. The economy is one great example of such a system and there will be many more. No aspect of our society will be untouched by this transformation.

Sadly, there will also be more protest and violence as the population strikes back at those they feel are controlling their lives. Our irrepressible rage is bubbling up after finally realizing those in power have abused them for their own sake. A perfect example of this is the awakening in Egypt, which could be considered the centre of the world map. We are already seeing the shockwaves of their heroic rise to empowerment rippling through the world, starting with the neighbouring Arab countries who have most heavily been forced to conform for many years under severe repression. I believe it will end up enveloping the entire world and change even the “democracies” that trumpet their slogans of freedom even though their population feels restricted.

Now, I am not in favour of protests and violence. This is mainly because I believe that all protest is a statement of disempowerment by the victims against the victimizers. If the population simply realized their own strength and the relative powerlessness of the authority, there would be no need to protest. There would be a transition made by the population without needing the approval of the authority and this would in fact force the authority to relinquish its hold. But, I will get into this a little later.

So the question I am interested in asking is: where are we headed when everybody starts waking up? To discover the answer, we must look at how each of the sociological systems were created and how they need to be amended to reflect our new self-empowerment. Before I get into them I would like to say that by no means am I an expert on these systems and I do not claim to be one. However, I want to point out how they were created out of a state of powerlessness and worthlessness and how they continue to perpetuate that state of mentality in the general population.

Government

The current forms of government, whether we are talking about a democracy or a dictatorship, leave a varying percentage of their constituency feeling powerless over the direction of their individual lives. Now, this may surprise some who believe democracy is the shining beacon of freedom in the darkness of authoritarian rule. However, closer inspection of the actual form of government reveals their true nature. 

Currently, all governments have the power to dictate the laws of the country. They are able to pass new laws, sometimes in apparent defiance of the majority’s will and thus can directly affect the behaviour of its constituency. This obviously flies in the face of true freedom. I believe a government is meant to be a service to the people, connecting us in some sort of network to ensure our society operates smoothly. For example, those in need of services or goods would receive them from those who are giving them out and so on. This does not mean that a government should have the right or the ability to control people’s lives. 

This brings me to the reason why governments were given the power to control in the first place. The power of control was given to governments as a result of people’s fears of being victimized by others. Now, as I said in my other post on depression, I believe almost all conflict would in fact be eliminated once each person is self-validated and cherishes their own perspective. Conflict is the result of a person feeling powerless over their life and needing to control others in order to get what they want. Furthermore, the desires of a disempowered people are usually based on a feeling of their own inadequacy and so they seek to prove to others they are adequate through their status. A confident, self-validated individual has no need to victimize another or prove their value to another in order to validate themselves. Rather they see the validity in others as well as their own and seek to create relationships that are in harmony with all parties’ desires.

So as we transition to an empowered, self-validated population, the systems of government will gradually lose the power to control others since there will be no victimization, and will rather take on a role of service. 

School System

Our school system has monopolized knowledge by being the only “accredited” path to it in the eyes of society. Hundreds of millions of students go to school year after year for an “accredited” education. However, I believe a very small percentage of them actually want to be there, but they choose to be there based on a belief that they will be unworthy to society without education from one of the schools. 

The private post-secondary schools in particular have used their monopolistic power to validate students in order to grow in influence exponentially over the years. As a result they have reached a point where they are now giant behemoths completely entrenched in society. They are very protected in their positions and exercise their power by dictating content in the curriculums, school fees, and the amount of credits required for accreditation through a degree or diploma. All of this leaves students in a perceived position of powerlessness and we can see the effects of it in the rise of teen and young adult depression and the resulting protests, mainly against rising school fees. 

So, what can students do about it? First of all, they can realize that they are powerful in their sheer number and that they have just as much influence in dictating the state of their educational experience. How is this so? They can just choose not to attend these institutions en masse and force the hand of the institutions to change in accordance with students’ preferences. They can also individually take the route of some of the most famous and successful college dropouts, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to name just two (check them all out here) and validate themselves and their desires without a need for accredited education. 

I believe this is the direction we will be heading in with a self-validated population. Students will have complete control of their educational experience and will educate themselves in a wide variety of ways, each suited to a particular individual’s perspective and excitement in life. Some may choose to apprentice at a chosen profession or some may choose to educate themselves by experimentation and trial and error, for example.

To put it succinctly, there will be no “wrong” way of gaining knowledge.

The effects of this change in educational policy will affect society at large, particularly in the next category I am discussing: the economic system and corporations. 

Economic System and Corporations

The very concept of money is based on a belief in our own worthlessness and lack of belonging. It is basically another way for us to gain a feeling of self-worth through external validation. So, a person sees themselves as valuable only if they are able to gain a certain amount of money (usually compared to others) and does almost anything to get the money and survive.

Furthermore, a person does not belong in our society as they are and needs to produce something of subjective value to the rest of society in order to be given the right to belong, in the form of financial support. To put it another way, their personal value must be validated by others in the society in order to belong. If they fail to meet the expectations of others they will not succeed and will inevitably live a life of suffering.

Now, this creates a problem because the majority of people believe they are valueless. By association they also believe that the job or career that is most aligned with who they prefer to be, that is the most exciting for them to do in life is also valueless and so they usually join a corporation in employment. This way they can easily gain validation and security from their superiors and see the value of their work and themselves in the paycheque they receive.

As another direct result of the population’s need for external validation, our world has seen an explosion of huge influential corporations in almost every field. It does not matter whether we are talking about retail corporations or pharmaceutical corporations, they are not very hard to miss.

They have grown ever larger over the years as more and more disempowered people join them to gain approval and protection. Year after year freshly graduated students, looking to gain approval from yet another external authority figure, choose a large, stable corporation for employment. As a result, the corporations grow ever larger, expanding into new markets and countries all the while employing and influencing more of us. 

Now, this great influence has created many issues in our society mainly because these corporations have one sole purpose: to generate as great a profit as possible. We have seen that most of them will stop at nothing to fulfill their purpose. Environmental destruction, overworking employees, cutting their pay, lobbying governments to change laws, absolutely nothing is off limits. Many times, because of their great influence on an increasing number of aspects of our society, their operations affect us in direct and indirect ways, creating conflict whenever a negative outcome is created. Once again, the conflict is a result of a disempowered population feeling powerless against these corporations. 

So, we have a depressed population affected negatively by large corporations in two ways: either by working for them while giving up our freedom or by their operations in general. 

This brings me to the generally used argument in support of corporations: that they create jobs. I believe working for a corporation is automatically a surrendering of the employees’ freedom to make decisions in most parts of their respective lives and therefore cannot lead to true happiness as a result. They must conform to the rules of the corporation and work for certain hours of the day, while getting a certain number of days for holiday….you get the picture.

Moving along, how will the economic system in general and corporations in specific change as a result of a self-empowered population? The main change will be that the drive for a person’s career will be solely based on their excitement rather than making financial gains or seeking validation from others. Each person would be free to be themselves and do what they love to do, while automatically sharing the products of their joy with the world. Also, money would not be needed, at least in its current form, because people will no longer need to gain it to feel worthy of belonging in our society. The economy would be based on equal partners sharing their respective products automatically and effortlessly. 

Corporations will not exist in their current form either. Similarly to the new style of government they would take on more of a role of a network. The network will be built on equality and honesty, since each person sees no need to manipulate others for their own gain. It will consist of equal partners creating a product or service solely because it is exciting for them to do so, rather than for economic gain. It will also include customers who are excited by the created product or service of the network. However the customers will be treated as an equal part of the network, with honesty and integrity rather than as a traditional customer to be “won over” as we are accustomed to currently. 

Furthermore, since corporations and the economic system in general will be built on a fundamental state of worthiness and belonging, much of the control and destruction of the environment will cease. Once again, self-validation leads to less need for control and manipulation.

I know it may seem like a bit of a utopian fantasy, but once again, I’m not saying I know the specifics of how things will work, but I do know that they will change drastically based on a self-empowered population.

Religion

I will not go into detail on all the specific religions. However, I will say that almost all of them (at least the ones I can think of) again are built on an external validation of the self. An unworthy population props up hierarchical religions where the leaders are the only ones in close contact with God. The leaders, just like their counterparts in the other sociological structures, abuse the power they have to validate others by acquiring a massive amount of personal wealth and control over the behaviour of the followers. 

The population gladly abides by the rules set by the religious leaders and seeks to protect the religious organizations based on the feeling of worthiness and belonging they receive when they do so. However, once again, control of any kind that is subjugated on a person and the resulting lack of freedom leads to some form of depression. For religious followers this depression is usually repressed until something goes “wrong” in life, when it will all come out in fits of rage and self hatred. This is usually because they feel they must have upset their God and are receiving some kind of punishment.

Furthermore, religious people may have internal desires that clash with the rules of the religion. These desires are repressed as much as possible and their existence is usually associated to influence from an evil devil of some kind. I believe that without the perceived freedom to express these desires, the people can then lash out in some unpredictable and seemingly random ways.

Now, I believe religious people in particular have a perspective of extreme powerlessness and worthlessness. The evidence for this is based on the amount of bloodshed and violence associated with religion. A religious group, which believes that it’s perspective on life is the only one that is correct, cannot tolerate another perspective because it feels its own perspective will be invalid as a result. They validate their perspective by the number of followers they can convince to join their religion, either through violence or kindness. For them, seeing another group of people with a different perspective thriving in life can bring up doubt in their own perspective. They feel they must protect their perspective at all costs, lest they become worthless.  

So how will religion change as a result of a self-empowered population? Well, firstly there will be less religious people in general, as can be seen in most countries that have less restrictive forms of government. Secondly, the people who associate themselves with a religion will do so solely for their own purpose and will do so in their own unique way. They will not seek to convince others that their perspective is correct. Therefore, I believe all religions will most likely become less cohesive in the following of rules and regulations and may not even be considered religions, as defined by our current definitions.

Now, there is a uniting characteristic between all of these structures. This is that they all could not exist in their current forms without the constant support from the majority of the population and they know this. This is the reason they are very adamant to keep their stories and perspectives on life in the psyche of the population, mainly through some form of advertising. Whether it is speaking at mass in church, or addressing the state of the union in the government for example, they must keep their message prominent in the minds of their supporters. As I have stated before, these attempts at manipulation and control is based on a fundamental feeling of powerlessness and worthlessness, this time on their behalf. 

So now that we see how our society was created and how it is changing, what can we do about it? First, we can make the transition smoother by letting those in power know that their value will remain in the new type of society, even if they are not in power. They will most likely not be willing to give up their power easily, since their self-worth is based on it (Gadhafi anyone?) so they must be given the opportunity to work out their own beliefs of their own type of unworthiness. Second, we can start taking steps in the direction of society’s development. We can cure our depression by validating ourselves and our perspectives and by knowing that we are worthy to belong in society just because we exist.  


The Nature of Consciousness- A preview of my upcoming piece about the fundamentals of life.

Of all the mysteries confounding humankind, consciousness is the greatest. Our experience of life is completely dependent on it and yet our understanding of its workings continues to elude us.

In our ongoing quest to comprehend it our theories have so far revolved around the notion that our consciousness is associated with our sensory perception and our brain, mainly because of our insistence on needing measurable “scientific” evidence. I believe this notion is ultimately misleading; the perception rising from our brain is only a small portion of our consciousness, not its totality.

In order to discover the totality of our consciousness and to see how it creates our experience, in ways that may not be apparent at present, we must disassociate from our preconceived notions about it and increase our scope. The totality of our consciousness is vastly greater than we have so far imagined. 

This brings us to the question, what is consciousness then? I believe consciousness is the fundamental building block upon which all of existence takes form. It is the template that gives rise to any and every concept, animate and inanimate object, and all experiences; it contains all and it has no source. The entirety of existence is dependent on the awareness of a conscious perceiver to experience it.

It is fundamentally our consciousness that has allowed us to experience anything at all. Without a conscious perceiver there is no experience of anything in existence and therefore no existence. This is the reason I believe our bodies and our entire experience as human beings is couched within our consciousness, not the other way around. 

In its unaltered homogeneous state, stripped of every attribute, consciousness simply is aware. This is its very nature; it does not know how to not be aware. To not be aware would mean it needs to be totally unconscious, and that is obviously impossible for it to do. Now, I know some questions may arise right now asking about our own unconsciousness when we sleep for example, but I will explain how this is only due to our current perspective and that we never fall into total unconsciousness as well.   

Consciousness must by its nature be aware of something. It can’t simply be aware without something to be aware of. What it is always aware of are all the experiences that are possibly contained within it. As I stated previously, all experiences are experiences contained within consciousness, not outside it. We have never experienced anything outside of consciousness and never will, it is impossible to do so. 

Consciousness cannot really exist in an homogeneous state because it would not have any experience of being aware of anything. In its unaltered homogeneous state there would be no actual change and consequently no experience. It would just contain everything without being able to perceive it.  

To create the experience of being aware of its contents consciousness must break down its homogeneous state and create the illusion of separating itself into infinite portions that are unaware of the cumulative contents of the whole. I say create the illusion of separation because, once again, it is impossible to literally be separated from all consciousness. There is nothing outside it to be able to become separate. In this way the individual portions, being unaware of the totality of consciousness because of their perspective of being separate, can then use their own free will to create the experience of becoming conscious of the unknown portions of the totality of consciousness.   

In my next post I will discuss our unique experience as human beings and how we can use the knowledge of our true nature as portions of consciousness to create experiences that are in alignment with our preferences.

I encourage questions or comments to make sure I am not rambling on without clarifying my thoughts. Please feel free to drop me a note.