The Youniverse

The Self-Discovery Questionnaire

Want to figure out why life is working out for you the way it is? The answer lies within. Dive within yourself and find out your ideas about yourself and about life. Here are some questions to get you started on your journey:

  1. What am I/Who am I? The nature of what it means to be a human being is a foundational question we all answer in one way or another. Don’t be deterred by others’ answers or lack of answers here. Simply choose an idea that feels right to you. Essentially you want to be able to think of the nature of humanity and the nature of yourself and have a positive emotional reaction when you do. You want to be able to love yourself and others unconditionally.
  2. What is life all about? Once again, don’t get deterred by others’ lack of answers. Many of us don’t bother looking at these foundational questions because we may believe that our answers are just made up. But guess what? Everyone’s answer is made up! The answers they come up with may be based on parts and pieces of evidence they see, but they do not have the whole picture and they certainly don’t have the right to make your answer unless you let them. Make up your own answer and once again choose one that feels good to you. Having an idea that you are a victim of life, for example, works against you.
  3. What is my own purpose? Once again, choose a purpose you prefer. If you don’t choose your own purpose you will allow someone else to choose it for you. That is a recipe for misery. When you cut all the bullshit and get down to the core of this question you will see that your purpose is really just to be you. It’s up to you what you want to be.
  4. What is the nature of the Universe? This one may be connected to question number 2. What is your relationship with the Universe? Is the Universe benevolent or malevolent? Is it supportive or destructive? 

The rest of your ideas will most likely stem from these core ideas. The ones that don’t work for you will naturally fall away once you change these core ones. The important thing is to start the dialogue with yourself on a conscious basis because right now you are having it on an unconscious basis. This is why you may not know why life is working the way it is. Happy journeying, psychonaut!

If we do not consciously choose the ideas we hold within our minds and make them our own ideas, we leave ourselves open to accepting ideas from others with no discernment. We end up living others’ lives rather than our own. This is the plight of many people around the world. They’re running around with others’ ideas in their minds, doing things the others tell them to do, and they’re all the more miserable because of it. They essentially become prisoners, entrapped within these ideas. At some point they’ll realize that they were holding the key to their freedom all along. They will learn to never give the power to choose their ideas away to another.

We cannot escape our ideas. We may choose to ignore them internally but even then they will be faced externally through the experience of our lives.

We are nothing more than the idea we hold about ourselves. Life is nothing more than the ideas we hold about it.

Purpose in Life

What is our purpose in life? Why are we here? Why do we do what we do everyday?

These questions may get buried underneath the ongoing drama of our daily lives, but their answers are so important in generating the experience of our lives. Most people don’t bother looking at these questions and so go through life on auto-pilot, which can be fine for a while, but usually ends in an unfulfilling experience.

The answers to these questions are for each of us to answer alone. They are completely subjective. However, most of us have allowed others to answer them for us and we live with the consequences everyday. We end up carrying other people’s beliefs with us and they ultimately hold us back from being the people we prefer to be.

As we grow up through childhood, we pick up many ideas and beliefs about how to behave in life. We pick them up from our parents, teachers, and other people and we incorporate them in order to manipulate our behaviour so that we can gain acceptance from these people. When we grow up though, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves “Why?”.

On a personal note, the main question that came up for me is: why do I need to fit into my own or others’ ideas of who I should be, rather than just being myself? So many times I catch myself thinking about how I can change myself in order to conform to a certain idea of who I should be. For example, I need to get a certain amount of money in order to be “successful”. The idea of what it means to be successful and what is required of me to fit into this idea are both arbitrary. They are arbitrarily set by me or by others indirectly. If I didn’t see that, I would constantly chase the circumstances I required in order to fit into that idea. 

There are many such ideas, each requiring us to manipulate ourselves in order to fit into them. Together they coalesce to create the idea of our ideal self. This concept of an ideal self is constantly changing and expanding, based on the constant barrage of manipulative messages we receive everyday. Everyday of our lives, advertising, governments, peers and co-workers, lovers, children, and many others are constantly explicitly and implicitly telling us who we should be. Falling for their messages, we then live a life of lies in which we are not true to ourselves. We live a life of others’ preferences, not our own. In a sense we actually live others’ lives instead of our own.

However, we can realize this and not fall for the messages. When we stop listening to these messages we can truly relax into ourselves. We can be who we truly are in each moment, instead of constantly striving to be who we think we should be. We can learn to truly enjoy life as it is, rather than being in a state of constant struggle in order to manipulate it into what we think it should be. We can liberate ourselves from the heavy burdens placed on us by all of these other people. We can lighten up and have a bit of fun with life, sort of like we used to when we were small children, before the world told us who we should be. 

The Importance of Ideas

External circumstances don’t completely make up who we are. Rather, it is our idea of who we are that make up external circumstances. I feel this is a huge misunderstanding that causes many people a lot of pain (including me).

We constantly chase the external circumstances that we feel will make us feel whole and complete, but those circumstances can only truly show up when our idea of ourselves is one of completeness. Otherwise even if we attain the circumstance we want, through hard work usually, it inevitably will fade away to reveal the true idea we hold within us.

The external world and all that it contains is actually an expression of our inner ideas. It is simply the physical translation of who we hold ourselves to be. We can learn a lot about ourselves individually and collectively as a society, by viewing the expressions we create. The external world is a feedback mechanism allowing us to constantly refine our ideas and reinvent ourselves. 

We don’t need to look far into our history to see how our ideas have changed the world. It is mainly the idea that each person or a group of people holds about themselves that creates the response from the rest of the world. For example, when black people gave up the idea of their inferiority and realized their equality we got the civil rights movement. When women also did this they created new opportunities for themselves. Our world would not be the same were it not for these ideas and a number of others that I don’t really have the space to get into right now.

Changing ideas do not only occur on a large scale of course; they occur everyday in individual peoples’ lives. As a person changes the idea of themselves they change their life and their experience of the world. The bigger the change in the idea, the bigger the change externally.

One could say we are nothing but an idea. We are who we think we are. Without an idea of ourselves or our world, would we have any experience at all? I don’t mean to say that we are an idea in order to diminish, but to expand. When we see ourselves as an idea, we can be anything we wish to be. It allows for an ever changing life full of possibilities. The importance and the power of the ideas we hold cannot be underestimated. 

Look about the world today and see the changes taking place. The Arab Spring and other uprisings are the result of new ideas beginning to take hold within people’s minds. Our technological innovations, sociological programs, cultural traditions and any other aspect of our society constantly change with our ideas of who we are and of the world we live in.

I always think about how people in the past would react if we were to take our technology like WIFI and the Internet back in time and show it to them. They would probably consider it to be some sort of magic, but this is only because of the idea they hold about themselves and the world and what is possible in life.

I can see this kind of effect when thinking of the future as well. As our past selves would freak out about our technology now, we would certainly freak out just the same if we were to see our world in the future. Many of the ideas that are on the fringes of society today will be mainstream tomorrow. I believe these ideas include the existence of aliens, parallel realities, the spiritual awakening of ourselves as creators of the universe and many others. It is hard to imagine where we will end up by following these ideas, but I know that it will definitely be an exciting journey, for some of us at least. 

The Dark Knight, The Joker and Expectations Part One

So I just watched “The Dark Knight” again tonight and it reaffirmed my love for it. It definitely remains one of my favourite movies ever, particularly because of the Joker. 

Some of his ideas really resonated with me, causing me to realize their validity in my own life and in our society in general. The main idea that got me thinking was about how most people stick with a plan or preconceived story about life and how it it supposed to work. Everything must fit into that story otherwise we freak out. The Joker mentioned this when he was explaining to Harvey Dent how nobody would care if he threatened to kill a bunch of gangsters and followed through with the threat. He also said that if instead he decided to kill one mayor everybody would freak out. This is mainly because murdered gangsters is part of our collective accepted story while a murdered mayor is not.

Our stories include much more than that one example and are much more rigid than we have realized. Anytime a person freaks out about an occurrence in their life experience it is only because what is happening is not what “should” happen according to their story. However, if we take a closer look at life as it is, we can see that it includes an infinite number of possible experiences and that trying to conform life to our rigid concepts is essentially futile. This includes everything from religious concepts to scientific theories and everything in between. Countless times throughout history there have been people proclaiming to know the one truth about life only to later be refuted by contradictory experiences. 

So many times we hide within our stories about life, seeking protection from alternate perspectives. We repress and lash out at others who have a different view, whether that view has to do with sexual orientation, the ingestion of illicit drugs, the chosen god to worship or even the preferred economic system. Many times this is because of our fear that if other stories are acceptable, that somehow makes our story unacceptable. We cannot accept that life is inclusive and not exclusive. Ironically, it is this mentality that gives rise to characters like the Joker who in their violence awaken us to our ways.

However we have yet to heed the message; all over the world people are continuously repressed by others who claim to view the world correctly. If we are not careful there will be many more violent characters lashing out in desperation because of this.

The way to peace is not to fight and attempt to repress the Jokers in our society; this will only compound our problems. Instead we must understand how we create them in the first place. This will lead us on a path of relaxing our rigid stories and concepts and the acceptance of others, empowering everyone while moving onwards to the peace that has eluded us for quite a while.

What is a human being?

Are we just a biological creature that has evolved over billions of years? Or are we a creation of God with a spiritual aspect to us? 

I believe there may be a little bit of both. Obviously we are biological creatures. We are made up of our very physical bodies. But, to say we are just our bodies is to short sell us. We each have our own perspective and personality, both of which are unique to us and are largely intangible. How does a strictly biological creature have different personalities? If our brains are largely the same, or at least were largely the same at birth, shouldn’t we be the same personality wise at that point? The evidence suggests otherwise: I know for a fact that all babies do not have the same personality and any parent can vouch for that. So where does the personality come from? 

Our personality is made up of beliefs, thought patterns and emotions. All of these are based in a non-physical world. Can we measure a belief? How about a thought? Sure, we can measure electrical signals in the brain, but how does that give rise to our subjective experiences? If the electrical signals firing in one brain are exactly the same as another brain, shouldn’t they both have the same thought? The point is, we don’t have the same thoughts. Each of us is unique based on our personality and it is primarily this personality that we perceive ourselves as, not merely as a “human being”.

Using the evidence of subjective personalities, some may point to the religious point of view now and declare that we are not just biological, but also spiritual creatures. The concept of spirituality tends to evoke thoughts of non-physicality, which relates to our subjective experiences.

However, the issue with the religious perspective is that it usually regards our physicality and biological nature as a curse, and perceives us as less than the “holy” spiritual realm of God and his angels. 

I don’t believe that point of view either. How can we be less than a realm we access and actually dwell in all the time? Every moment of everyday is lived through our beliefs, ideas and imaginings, all of which are part of the subjective, non-physical portion of reality. Not only that, each of us live in our own subjective world of dreams, which are also the work of thought patterns and beliefs, every time we sleep. It could be said that we live in that world just as much as the physical world we see around us.

I believe that our physicality is actually an expression of our spirituality. My evidence is based on the fact that all we have to do is look to the composition of a person’s intangible personality to see how they live their life. We can immediately see how a person’s personality affects every aspect of their life. This includes their perspective, their body condition (health wise), their daily activities and the nature of their relationships, to name a few. So when a person changes, what we are actually saying is that their unique, intangible personality has changed, not necessarily their physical structure.

In conclusion, we are not merely physical creatures or spiritual creatures. We are both. I believe we are in the process of blending together both polarities to create a homogeneous view of ourselves. The rise of quantum physics in particular, with all of it’s “weird” phenomena, is partly attributed with the blending.  

The Non-Physical Nature of our Experience

I am really freaking out about the neutrality of life. I started thinking about how my experience of the world consists of my concepts and others’ concepts about it. Without these concepts and definitions, the world would be completely meaningless. 

That is insane! What is even more mind-boggling is that I have realized that these concepts actually exist within another world that our world is built on. For now, I will call it the “World of Ideas”. The very fact that I am writing this in a language that others can comprehend is evidence of the World of Ideas. Language and its complex meanings and emotions do not exist on their own in the external world. We have created it from the World of Ideas.

Think about it: we use our bodies as instruments to convey ideas that cannot exist without us. For example, we use them to make some noises through our mouth and somehow, these noises will convey abstract ideas that may or may not make sense to anybody else. For a second, sit and think that you, the reader is looking at a series of pixels lit up in a particular configuration to create an intricate pattern on your computer screen. The pattern then somehow miraculously conveys a whole language, the description of the colours, the layout of the page, etc….

Furthermore, the words you are reading each have their own definition, which most of us agree upon. These definitions do not exist at all in the world! They are simply made up and we agree to them so that we can communicate in a synchronous manner with one another. I hope I’m getting the point across, but this is mind-blowing stuff to me. 

I also started thinking about how all emotion is also based on non-physicality and is created within us based on the type of definition we have about something. Emotion is such a huge part of our experience, it unites us in an empathic bond between us and other people and even animals and it drives us to continue living. The only reason we want to continue to live our lives is because we can experience the emotion of joy. It is crazy to think that joy and all other emotions stem from our non-physical definitions and beliefs.

To put it another way, if it were not for our ability to create definitions or beliefs, we would be dull, emotionless and completely clinical. I have not met anyone who is completely like that. Even scientists, who pride themselves on being objective and focused on facts and data, have an emotional connection to their work and their lives. If not for their emotions, why even bother searching for answers to the mysteries of the universe? The plain fact is: the reason they do it is because of the emotion of joy they attach to that particular activity.

Now, the conclusion I come to because of my discovery of the World of Ideas is that we are not merely physical human beings living on an objective world. If we were just physical human beings, we would only perceive our environment with no experience as we know it. It would merely be a recognition of the environment with no way to interact with it. To interact with it, in all the infinite ways we do, requires imagination and creation of concepts, both of which are based in non-physicality.

The truth seems to be that we are connected to the much larger subjective World of Ideas. Imagination, definitions, emotions and all other non-physical attributes of our experience all come from there. I believe that our physical world is actually based on that world and could be a neutral symbolic representation of non-physical concepts.

This is pretty exciting because if the world is a neutral symbol with no built in meaning and no ability to create emotion within us, we can each define it the way we want based on the emotions we prefer. 

Now, I have been getting into this kind of thinking in my post on consciousness that I continue to work on. Hopefully I will be able to clarify my thoughts a little better by the time I post it.