An Ontological Discussion With Matt [Short Story]

An Ontological Discussion with Matt
by Joel Nickel

“Every person is actually the same being experiencing reality subjectively,” Matt pulled the cup to his mouth. His words were spoken as though they were mundane and ordinary; some trivial conversation about some idle piece of gossip.
They sat down in the café after both had ordered drinks.
Lillith was so shaken by the enormity of Matt’s words that her body convulsed as though her whole body was doing a comically exaggerated double take for some hammy vaudevillian act.
“Holy fuck? What?” She immediately covered her mouth. “Sorry,” she looked down, embarrassed. “I meant, to say . . .”
“I think you meant to say ‘holy fuck’,” Matt grinned.
She chuckled shyly and then tried to sit up straight. “Okay, I’m going to think about this critically. Convince me.”
“I think humans are identical pieces of the same being, but are represented in the physical world separately by each person’s consciousness. And only in that way are we differentiated. If we went back to the spiritual world we’d just be part of that same being. All consciousness is supplied by one being hosting separate bodies; a meta-subjective view of reality.”
“Hmmm, so that thing is everybody?” she swirled the coffee around with her brown plastic stir stick.
“Yes, but I think it’s a single being from a duality. There is good essence and evil essence inside us. When one of the essences controls another being more than the other that person becomes good or bad.”
“That would explain why so many religions are built around the idea that the world started by God for humans. Maybe consciousness developed when this entity was able to harness the body of the homo sapiens and insert it’s consciousness onto it,” she took a drink from her coffee.
“I believe that the first modern man and woman were given consciousness by just such an entity. So the Bible’s Adam and Eve were actually just the first two homo sapiens that had consciousness. And that explains how there were other homo sapiens for Cain and Able to mate with. They were just mating with homo sapiens who hadn’t attained consciousness. Maybe the first consciousness was only in Adam and Eve, but then through birth it separated from Adam and Eve into Cain and Able. And then was transferred to the rest of humanity through Cain. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a metaphor for homo sapiens attaining consciousness. Both good and evil energies existed together as one in both Adam and Eve, but when they had children the energies were split apart. Cain contained more evil than good and Able contained more good than evil. But then Cain killed Able and the majority of goodness was lost from the timeline and the rest of humanity is filled with the evil energy that Cain propagated through the generations.”
“What if Adam and Eve have a good son that was hidden away?”
“Woah. What if he wasn’t written about again until Mary, but rather than the virgin birth, Mary was actually part of the biological line of the good son of Adam and Eve had hidden away from Cain’s evil lineage. What if in that isolation from Cain the good energy lineage exercised a kind of sexual selection where only those with a high amount of goodness were allowed to procreate until we reach Jesus who was almost entirely good energy. When Jesus became aware of the way that the Jewish religion had been distorted as a system of control over the people through the influence of an elite few, he decided to expose humanity to the real message. Everyone is a subjective piece of God’s consciousness.”
“What if the context of what Jesus said was altered by the people who reprinted the Bible? The original Hebrew was changed to Greek and then from Greek to Old English, right? I’m pretty sure that’s right,” it had been a long time since she was ever in Sunday School and she really didn’t know that much about religion so she decided to stop herself and Matt continued.
She looked down at the floor.
“There are single words in certain languages that represent whole concepts. Since word is a whole concept, it can only be translated as a sentence when there is no equivalent word in the language it’s being translated into. Although, actually I can’t think of an example in English,” he paused, scrunching his face together and looking up as though he were trying to peer inside his brain with his eyes and that somehow that would help him remember. “Well, the French have a word ennui. And ennui, means . . . actually,” Matt pulled out his smartphone and entered the word into the search engine on his browser. After an unbelievably short time, which wasn’t appreciated or even acknowledged as being as miraculous as it was, the smartphone gave him the knowledge he was desiring. “Ennui is the feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. That one word actually means an entire concept. And the word petrichor! That is the scent of rain on dry earth. Both are concepts condensed into one word. What words in original Hebrew were like ennui and petrichor? Maybe the meaning conveyed in those original words were mistranslated when the scriptures were transferred over to Greek. And then again when the Bible was translated into English? I always wondered if when Jesus said ‘we should love another as yourself,’ he wasn’t meaning you should love one another as separate, disconnected individuals. Maybe he was saying you actually ARE the other person. Only you are subjectively viewing existence and have a different individual past that we have named as our self to which we tether recollections of events as having happened to that self. But it’s only because we’ve had different experiences from one another that shape our behaviour and the way we interact and perceive the world. There’s that atheistic argument that religion is dependant on where you are born. If you’re born in the US you’re probably going to be a Christian. If you’re born in China you’ll be a Confucian or a Buddhist and if you’re Japanese you’ll probably be Shinto. Those cultural designations and expectations will colour your experience of reality.”
Lillith remained silent. Staring, unblinking, contemplating.
Matt continued: “rather than being separate and antagonistic we should recognize that while we are only experiencing the world subjectively, our consciousness is the same consciousness as any and every other person experiencing reality subjectively through their body. That’s a pretty intense idea for the whole of humanity to posses if a certain amount of subjective experiencers want to retain their individuality and their control and power over others. So what did the Pharisees do? Well they killed Jesus and then made it seem like he was a heretic. He was going up against the control, the influence, the power, and the evil that Cain’s lineage stood for. Cain’s influence as the evil force even ended up usurping the spiritual message that Jesus true followers were trying to get out. The church instead used Christianity the religion to control the masses. Not to free them with knowledge. In the Dark Ages only the clergy and noblemen could really read. Why? ‘Cause knowledge. That’s why! Those who possess knowledge possess the power to shape the perception of those who do not have that knowledge. Have you ever told a lie and you knew it was a lie but the other person you told trust you so much that they believe that you are telling them the truth. In that moment you have altered their experience of objective reality. With words, you have changed that person’s awareness of truth. You have made an illusory film that obscures the other person’s awareness of the true, objective reality. So yah, if most people can’t read, they can’t verify whether what the bishop at the front of the church is actually reading is written on the pages of the book in front of him, or whether the speech and its meaning are simply propaganda that aims to control the thoughts and actions of others for the benefit of the elite. That’s why whenever I hear something I also put the information through a prism of critical observation. Who is telling me this information? Why are they telling me this information? Could the messenger have a motive or a bias?”
Lillith continued to stare at him. She was aware now that he was emitting a subtle light that danced in the air around him. She felt a recognition of understanding in his eyes and then she felt an odd sense of deja-vu. She remembered this experience. She remembered this conversation but she remembered it through the subjective experience of Matt.

Advertisements

the weed bull – a short story

“Let’s order pizza. On me,” Nathan saw the expression on Alex’s face as soon as he opened the door.

      Laura leaped over to the computer.

     “Let’s watch something trippy,” Laura suggested. “Oh, we should call Seth and see what he’s doing.”

     She picked up the phone and Alex was amazed at the speed with which she dialed the number. Although they did have enough practice calling the number.

      Seth said he wasn’t doing anything and would be over as fast as he could climb the two flights of stairs.

      “I found this amazing documentary on the biggest things in space. It’ll blow your mind,” Nathan said as he set up the DivX player.

      The opening of the documentary had a series of quick cuts of flying through space, to entering a Black Hole, to jutting in and out of an asteroid belt.

     Alex felt like he was experiencing all of those things and that he was flying through space at ridiculously intense speeds.

      “This was made for people on drugs,” Alex smiled.

      Laura giggled, “I know.”

      “The Cosmic Web,” the narrator began, “is one of the most mysterious and intriguing features of the Universe. Scientists believe that the Universe is held together by a framework of invisible strings of matter with pockets of void spotted throughout. The web is as big as the universe itself, measuring some 14 billion light years across-“

      The image on the screen began panning out from our planet, out through the solar system, and out through the Milky Way, and then faster and faster it raced to finally encompass the entire Universe.

     It did look like a web.

     There were long threads of matter with nothing in the space between.

      Alex suddenly had a crazy epiphany.

Continue reading

The Eye of Affluence – A Short Story

The Eye of Affluence – by Joel Nickel

 

They do not understand how closely I watch them. That amuses me. I’ve been watching for centuries; for eons. Watching intently. I have drunk in the complexities of their petty interactions and the tawdry dealings with which they delude themselves by infusing with a kind of elitist self-importance that irks my benevolent sensibilities. They label themselves rulers and that moniker disturbs me greatly. They wrongly believe their adeptness at, essentially, herding their flock makes them worth their indulgence in self-congratulatory excess. Incorrectly, they believe their deeds have been hidden from all save a few like-minded puppet masters who share a space at what they believe is the top. But there is always a layer higher; just as I have layers adjacent to my own. There are those above me who know what I see and those above them too seeing that they see what I see. For one to think anything to the contrary is egotism and incredible ignorance.

For a long span of time I’ve been watching with interest the Randale family. From their beginnings as largely benign moneylenders, I followed the path over generations of scheming and plotting so as to advance their line; and their ultimate cause as they refer to it among themselves.

That amuses me too.

But amusement turned to astonishment alarmingly quickly as their lineage grew darker and their means to attain their desired ends became more and more malevolent and distasteful. Alas, I cannot intervene and that saddens me, though I have long ago released myself from my misplaced guilt and ownership over any sort of responsibility. I can only watch, as those above can only watch me. I watch others too, I watch all, but I watch the Randale’s most closely. Of course, I see ahead too. And I see what is coming for them. That is at least something.

For the time I have watched, I have seen various incarnations of their line engage in acts of barbarous iniquity. Their wanton need to acquire more and more of that objectively meaningless material [in all of its physical and ethereal forms] seems to direct every action, every choice throughout their bloodlines collective narrative. Countries toppled. Empires destroyed. Millions slaughtered. And over what? Simply a concept that exists solely as a means for control.

They cannot see the adjacent levels of reality as I can. They do not see below as they have not seen me above and in their current state they can never ascend. But surely they will descend.

Any who learn of the Randale’s past and current actions and their ultimate cause [and have had the unfortunate fortitude to stand against them] have ascended to meet me before they could alert any others. Or, if they are lucky, the ones who espouse the change so urgently needed are shamed and marginalized into meaninglessness amongst their greater brethren. They are given labels like cooks, conspiracy nuts, crazies, but they are ones who have seen as I have seen and am seeing.

The Randale’s control the information and in the current incarnation, Vermillion Randale, leads the clandestine army of influencers toward realizing his family’s legacy of their ultimate cause. But I know. I know what’s coming. And I shall never see them ascend to meet me. But I will watch them descend below with measured delight. 

Re-Purposed Puzzle Pieces

I feel like I’m not allowed to be. I think of all the others not allowed to be:
the artists, the philosophers, the scientists, the healers, all dismissively abandoned.
Imprisoned in our corporate purgatory, waiting for the coveted big break we are
so regularly promised. Pacified. Encouraged. Enticed. Maybe the lottery. Maybe the internet. If you fail it’s only because you didn’t try hard enough. That flaccid promise of
happiness slaps us in the face. Just keep your head down. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t rock the boat. Someday your big break will come. Saturday morning cartoons told you how special and important you are. Television wouldn’t lie to you. You will all be rich. You will all be famous. Just be patient. And buy this product. Not that one! No, really. If you buy that one they’ll know you’re poor. Know you’re inferior. Can’t afford it? Hmmm. We have something for you. If you can’t buy this piece of hard plastic will work. Great! Now that you’ve purchased that superior product, from that superior corporation, you’re now on this rung of the ladder. (Almost there!) You don’t wanna go back down the ladder, right? So you’ll need this product! No NO!! Not that one. Jesus. That sends the totally wrong message that you want other to see!! Do you want people to see just how inferior you actually are? No one will love you. No one will accept you. You need this!! From THIS company! Have we taught you nothing? God, you’re stupid! Hmmm, still can’t pay? Oh, you only have a part-time job ’cause your employer discovered that if you have lots of part-time workers instead of fewer full-time workers it works out better for the people at the top? Hmmm, well, you still have that card right? Good. Oh, rent … utilities …. oh yah, food. Well, hey, that card works for all those places. And they have lots of places you can just drive up to and they just give you a full meal. You don’t even have to learn how to cook! How convenient is that! AND most of them are open 24 hours! Hmmm, unhappy? … let’s see …. take two of these in the morning. One of these at lunch. Oh, and don’t mix this with this. Drink this! We like when you drink it. You like when you drink it. It’s the way everyone relaxes on the weekend after a hard week of 9-5. (Oh, wait, yah, you’re part-time) well, whatever, more time for you to drink. Oh, but don’t smoke that. We’ll arrest you if you do! We don’t make any money when you smoke that. So drink this! This is better anyway. And people will have sex with you and you’ll have more friends and do amazing fun and adventurous things. You should know this already? I thought you watch TV? Speaking of which you’re missing your favourite show! You like that one? How about this one? This one is like the one you like! And this one too. It really keeps your attention (and keeps you watching which products you need to buy if you want to be accepted) Oh, you’re sick … hmmm, well, try a little harder. You’re almost at the top rung. Happiness is right there. Don’t quit while you’re so close!! Oh, um, by the way, you haven’t been making minimum payments on that card. The balance is getting pretty high… what? Um, well then you shouldn’t have bought so many things if you didn’t have the money. That’s your fault for being so bad with managing your money. You loser. Jeez, you’re the reason the economy is in such bad shape. You’re ruining it for the rest of us. God! Still sick? Hmmm, yah, I’m sorry but that not really my problem. You’re gonna have to sort that out yourself. Okay, this is too much you pathetic loser. We’re coming to take back the stuff you can’t afford. Why did you get it if you couldn’t afford it. Man, you’re just the worst kind of person. Wanna have a drink? We have light now so that you don’t become fat. Fat AND poor and unemployed? Wow, dude, you’re useless to me now. Fuck off.

Think of all the works of art, all the profound thoughts, all the scientific breakthroughs, all the connectedness, and love, and growth that we are missing out on. They are deprived of flowering into being by the choking tendrils of poorly constructed, disjointed and unfairly balanced machine who incongruous parts are mashed into place like mismatched puzzle pieces, stolen from many vastly different images that cheat the other from experiencing their own completeness.

But how do we construct a complete image with incompatible parts? The void of dissonance could be filled but is instead being improperly repurposed in a malformed mosaic erected by self-interested architects who short-sightedly beat the misfit pieces into place. Afterward, they pull a tight tarp of propaganda over the jagged and porous surface of the puzzle to deny the awareness of the mosaic’s truth; jagged and discordant. The new image, the one that benefits the architects, lavishes upon itself a narrative of ego masturbation. Through architect approved media, through required acceptance of specific philosophy, they continue to tug, re-shape, and re-tighten their degenerating tarp across the fragmented puzzle pieces. We are all the same! They say. Just keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll all be okay. There’s a new car that the girls are getting wet for! Why not go buy it! You’ll feel better. I promise. The fabricated image stretched out along the skin of the tarp furiously tries to obscure the individual puzzle pieces beneath from seeing their true image. It lures them into believing that they are contributing to an image with an entirely different meaning than the one that exists. Our re-purposed puzzle pieces bend and crack together into an image that benefits only the architects. It leaves the pieces impoverished, waiting for their big break.

James Bond – A Theory

James Bond isn’t a singular person. He’s a code name for whichever agent is currently designated 007. The 006s would have a specific code name that for themselves, as would all the other double-O agents at MI6. Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig are all different characters who have taken the name James Bond and that’s how Sean Connery’s Bond battled S.P.E.C.T.R.E in the 60s and Daniel Craig’s Bond is a spy in the post-9/11 world. Sean Connery’s Bond was the original Bond and went through many altercations with the criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E and he finally faced off against Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. At the end of that film, we can imagine that Bond and Kissy Suzuki ran away together. George Lazenby took over the character of Bond in Connery’s absence. He only had one outing because he resigned after his wife was murdered, causing Sean Connery’s incarnation of Bond to return only to leave again with the girl and the diamonds in Diamonds are Forever. Therefore, Roger Moore’s Bond takes over in Live and Let Die and has his own adventures until he retires to Sutton’s California mansion in A View To A Kill. Timothy Dalton’s Bond takes the reigns but was kicked out of MI6 after having his licence to kill revoked when he went after Franz Sanchez to get revenge for the murder of his friend Felix Leiter. Enter Pierce Brosnan’s Bond who had a great deal many adventures as Bond, but in Die Another Day he became resentful after having been deserted by MI6 in a North Korean POW camp for many years. He runs off with Jinx and the diamonds which brings us to Daniel Craig’s Bond. It’s not a reboot of James Bond as a whole. It’s only the first mission for Daniel Craig’s Bond as being the new James Bond 007.

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term

Via TIME

Image Source: Getty Images

The psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms may have lasting medical and spiritual benefits, according to new research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The mushroom-derived hallucinogen, called psilocybin, is known to trigger transformative spiritual states, but at high doses it can also result in “bad trips” marked by terror and panic. The trick is to get the dose just right, which the Johns Hopkins researchers report having accomplished.

In their study, the Hopkins scientists were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers, which offered long-lasting psychological growth and helped people find peace in their lives — without the negative effects.

(PHOTOS: Inside Colorado’s Marijuana Industry)

“The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive,” says lead author Roland Griffiths, professor of behavioral biology at Hopkins.

Giffiths’ study involved 18 healthy adults, average age 46, who participated in five eight-hour drug sessions with either psilocybin — at varying doses — or placebo. Nearly all the volunteers were college graduates and 78% participated regularly in religious activities; all were interested in spiritual experience.

Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.

Critically, however, the participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.

Ultimately, Griffiths and his colleagues want to see if the same kind of psychedelic experience could help ease anxiety and fear over the long term in cancer patients or others facing death. And following up on tantalizing clues from early research on hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, mescaline and psilocybin in the 1960s (which are all now illegal), researchers are also studying whether transcendental experiences could help spur recovery from addiction and treat other psychological problems like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For Griffiths’ current experiment, participants were housed in a living room-like setting designed to be calm, comfortable and attractive. While under the influence, they listened to classical music on headphones, wore eyeshades and were instructed to “direct their attention inward.”

Each participant was accompanied by two other research-team members: a “monitor” and an “assistant monitor,” who both had previous experience with people on psychedelic drugs and were empathetic and supportive. Before the drug sessions, the volunteers became acquainted enough with their team so that they felt familiar and safe. Although the experiments took place in the Hopkins hospital complex in order to ensure prompt medical attention in the event that it was needed, it never was.

As described by early advocates of the use of psychedelics — from ancient shamans to Timothy Leary and the Grateful Dead — the psilocybin experience typically involves a sense of oneness with the universe and with others, a feeling of transcending time, space and other limitations, coupled with a sense of holiness and sacredness. Overwhelmingly, these experiences are difficult to put into words, but many of Griffiths’ participants said they were left with the sense that they understood themselves and others better and therefore had greater compassion and patience.

(MORE: A Mystery Partly Solved: How the ‘Club Drug’ Ketamine Lifts Depression So Quickly)

“I feel that I relate better in my marriage. There is more empathy — a greater understanding of people and understanding their difficulties and less judgment,” said one participant. “Less judging of myself, too.”

Another said: “I have better interaction with close friends and family and with acquaintances and strangers. … My alcohol use has diminished dramatically.”

To zero in on the “sweet spot” of dosing, Griffiths started half the volunteers on a low dose and gradually increased their doses over time (with placebo sessions randomly interspersed); the other half started on a high dose and worked their way down.

Those who started on a low dose found that their experiences tended to get better as the dose increased, probably because they learned what to expect and how to handle it. But people who started with high doses were more likely to experience anxiety and fear (though these feeling didn’t last long and sometimes resolved into euphoria or a sense of transcendence).

“If we back the dose down a little, we have just as much of the same positive effects. The properties of the mystical experience remain the same, but there’s a fivefold drop in anxiety and fearfulness,” Griffiths says.

Some past experiments with psychedelics in the ’60s used initial high doses of the drugs — the “blast people away with a high dose” model, says Griffiths — to try to treat addiction. “Some of the early work in addictions was done with the idea of, ‘O.K., let’s model the ‘bottoming-out’ crisis and make use of the dark side of [psychedelic] compounds. That didn’t work,” Griffiths says.

It may even have backfired: other research on addictions shows that coercion, humiliation and other attempts to produce a sense of “powerlessness,” tend to increase relapse and treatment dropout, not recovery. (And the notorious naked LSD encounter sessions conducted with psychopaths made them worse, too.)

Griffiths is currently seeking patients with terminal cancer to participate in his next set of experiments (for more information on these studies, click here); because psychedelics often produce a feeling of going beyond life and death, they are thought to be especially likely to help those facing the end of life. Griffiths is also studying whether psilocybin can help smokers quit.

Griffiths and other researchers like him are hoping to bring the study of psychedelics into the future. They want to build on the promise that some of the early research showed, while avoiding the bad rep and exaggerated claims — for example, that LSD was harmless and could usher in world peace — that became associated with the drugs when people started using them recreationally in the 1960s. The resulting negative publicity helped shut down the burgeoning research.

This time around, caution may be paying off. Dr. Jerome Jaffe, America’s first drug czar, who was not involved with the research, said in a statement, “The Hopkins psilocybin studies clearly demonstrate that this route to the mystical is not to be walked alone. But they have also demonstrated significant and lasting benefits. That raises two questions: could psilocybin-occasioned experiences prove therapeutically useful, for example in dealing with the psychological distress experienced by some terminal patients?

“And should properly-informed citizens, not in distress, be allowed to receive psilocybin for its possible spiritual benefits, as we now allow them to pursue other possibly risky activities such as cosmetic surgery and mountain-climbing?”

The study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.