All things in life, in this reality have meaning. Everything – every atom, and every sound, all of it is inherently meaningful. Entheogens show us this – that all things are intimately connected and that they are ‘one’ in the sense that they all give the same inherent importance to our own being, our existence, our experience of this plane. Physics tells us this, but at the same time attempts to deny it; all things are one. Every star in our galaxy pulls on you with some force, and in the same manner, you pull on all the stars of the universe. You are connected to them all, and all to you. Nothing is separated and nothing is isolated.
Suddenly, some day you realize that the duration of your whole life is done by filtering OUT meaning and importance from your experience. And that you are attempting to refine meaning, to categorize it and remove some of it because the mind cannot possibly bear the fact that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g matters.
However, due to the duality of meaning and purpose, and more likely due to the fact that logic is a human invention, the exact opposite can present itself to you; that nothing matters and that there is no purpose – this is the abyss of depression. This is not a neurological fault, but an innate quality of the universe and only the awake mind will ever truly experience the abyss.
With the FACT that everything matters and all things are important, and the FACT that there is an abyss of nothingness at the same time – there in-lies ultimate nirvana, where the mind realizes that both exist simultaneously, and the greatest enlightenment is a perfect balance between the two.
However, I think to become ‘enlightened’ is simply an act. A show. A spectacle of willpower and mental strength, much like an acrobat on a balance beam, and this is meaningful in itself, but is not /the/ meaning. Becoming enlightened is no more meaningful than doing a handstand, holding your breath for 40 minutes, skydiving. Everything is meaning, everything is important. It is only up to you in which you choose to filter out.
Hence a man can spend his entire life studying a single species of beetle. A woman can spend her entire life weaving rugs. A man can spend his all his waking hours immersing himself in video games. A woman can spend every waking thought pushing for equality, and all of them can shout at the top of their lungs what they are doing is important. And all of them will be correct. Always. Because they have seen the importance and meaning in these acts, and focused them, engulfed them, and unveiled the importance of these things that were always there. Every action you make and every creation you partake in – every conversation and expression of hate or kindness ripples throughout and is as important as anything you’ve ever done before.
It is only when you lie do you betray the universe, yourself. It is only when you seek to appease the masses with falsities that you split your mind on both sides of the duality and become dissonant in your own experience, and rattled to your core. It is only when you feel one way and say another that the mind becomes distraught and torn.
Very well written Jon. I work in a setting, let’s just say office setting, where I constantly see people lying and betraying there own selves by gossiping about other coworkers. Then when they converse with the one whom they gossiped about, I can see how fake they are being with their interactions. I’m relating this observation to your last paragraph. I wish they would civilly state what is upsetting themselves with the other person and be real about it. Instead, they are lying to their inner selves by lying to the other person (your words – to appease the masses). Following what I’m saying?
Having said this, I take the rest of what you wrote as good information and that these events are there for a reason: to help my own recognition of how I interact in the same setting. Nice post! Really hits home.
Do I know what you’re saying? (Hah!) I live what you’re saying.
Everyday I wake up and wish we couldn’t lie anymore. That everyone quit building their costumes and their masks. I wish we tore them all down, and spoke. Just spoke to each other.
“Is it a good morning? I suppose it is nice. It is nice to see someone else enjoying the day, too. It makes me happy to see you happy, out here, stranger!”
“We’re neighbors so if you ever need anything, I’m around.”
“Wow hey thank you and same to you.”
Then I wake up. Today I said Hi to a woman who was walking up the street. I was quite loud and it was very obvious she heard me. She made a kind of outburst breath, and kept walking.
I hate what we’re becoming.
I fall into the nothingness aspect you speak of. Call it depression if you want. That’s me. I get occasional glimpses of the other end. Seems swell. I wouldn’t quite split it down the middle though. Maybe 65/35. I usually feel like nothing matters. Honestly, I’ve grown tired of others and also myself. I never count myself out as one of the reasons the world is fucked. Before anyone says, “Yea, that’s your perception.” I know, that’s why I said it.
Also, I would argue that it is 100% everything matters. When babies are born there isn’t a 65/35 split of them that just ‘give up’ and seemingly die. They are all born and they go, in their infant mind, “holy fucking shit oh my god this is so important, do not close thine eyes – ever!” And soon, the brain begins the filter.
Everything does matter. If this wasn’t important, then for what reason does it exist? The fact that this is happening proves it’s important. What exactly is happening? Well the best I can come up with is “not nothing.” So what is nothing? I don’t know, but nothing still happens. What the fuck am I even talking about? I guess it’s /35 kinda moment, because I cannot comprehend nothing right now, as I’m in a “everything matters” state of mind right now. I’ll check back when I slip to the other end.
This two cents made me smile, Actually reminded me of my Philosophy class. Let go. Be not afraid to show your true self.
As much as I enjoyed reading your piece, I am afraid I have to disagree with your thesis.
I will grant you the statement that everything has meaning, but whether or not it is inherent meaning is arguable. Any ‘thing’ has import, or importance, to a living being inasmuch as that being has the capacity for sensory perception. Consider how a newborn baby (regardless of its species) is unable to distinguish between ‘supposedly’ separate entities within its environment. It is through the succession of sensory impressions, coinciding with the succession of time, that a newborn is able to discern, by means of the intellect’s act of negation, the ‘what is’ from the ‘what is not’. When first condemned into this world, without having used any sensory organs, there would, theoretically, appear to be only ‘one’ inseparable existence. An existence much like the one you described. It is only in due time that the universe begins to take on meaning, and so I would say that there is meaning iff (if and only if) there are sense impressions. I don’t use impression in the conventional sense of the word; rather, I’m making use of Hume’s take on the word in his essay titled ‘An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding’.
I have much much much more to critique on but it’s already very late and I have a paper of my own to write. I’ll return at a later time to finish where I left off. But until then, I have some readings to suggest for further developing this discourse. Firstly, the aforementioned work by David Hume (please don’t be scared off by empiricism), Rudolf Carnap’s ‘The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language’ (this will provide an adequate context of, what is now, modern logic) Martin Heidegger’s essay ‘What is Metaphysics?’ (a difficult read but will provide a much more profound idea of ‘the nothing’ and meaninglessness), and lastly two paper’s on enlightenment: Moses Mendelsohn’s ‘On the Question, What Is Enlightenment?’ And Immanuel Kant’s ‘What Is Enlightenment’.
The papers of Carnap and Heidegger provide a perfect example of the historic miscommunication between analytic and Continental philosophers. I feel that a good understanding of both these positions is pertinent to the discussion at hand.
True. I experimented using my whole name on a website for a year and something once and was fully myself, but, it’s so uncommon to be yourself that you’ll hump over yourself and no one will believe the same thing. It was a cool experiment. It shows people’s attention span, biases, long and short-term memory and how everyone deliberately makes themselves miserable because of their hypocrisy (you can call it duality, if your butt hurts much). Not everyone narrows down things to arrested development but it’s understandable why it’s the easier choice in facing yourself.
In a literal sense, being fully yourself doesn’t mean following a philosophy with known societal logic, but only human logic not everyone will understand unless they break off the self-image they imagine. Sometimes even denying their own spectrum of intensive emotions. This practice lets you learn and observe hundreds of absolutely different narrowed opinions that have nothing to do with each other. A wishful thinking about a person has the power to become a belief. Some opinions can be bound negative, others completely positive and you start realizing that everyone in actuality is full of shit but has a different diet of feeding their ignorance, whereas experiencing their already predictable inner conflicts.
Everything is susceptible to distortion. You give importance to anything depending on how much you give value to it.
It’s not what “we are becoming” but what you are willingly accepting to stay.
That’s why I hold no emotional stake in people’s ignorance. It’s an atrocious direction of energy.
Had to stop mulit-tasking and read your post slowly Jon. Much appreciated.
Also, we can choose our own narrative of what’s happening. Our own World, so to speak. And then act from the Truth of that World. It will be as valid as everyone elses World. If you feel it is meaningful, then it is meaningful. If you feel that it is meaningless, it Can be meaningless to you. You choose.
How can you value anything more than anything else when you see it’s all equally valuable.
True. I think you’re just born with your innate values
True that logic does not determine values.
Right. The conundrum that ‘how can anything have value if everything has value?’ is reductionist logic. All things have value can have value. Using logic you can fall into the duality of “If everything is valuable, how can anything be valuable?”
Which leads to the negative duality, basically depression. Which is as viable an option as everything has value. But here you go; here is your choice – does everything have innate value, or does nothing? Have fun living with the latter ;P
I think everything matters and not that nothing matters. Directions from there seem exclusive bc you have to prioritize, unless you don’t think about it and just do it