An Origin Story

Where to begin?

Let's start with what we know. I know I am here now. You have a similar awareness of presence and existence there and then wherever and whenever you may be. We are each having a "subjective experience of qualia and mental content," as David Chalmers puts it. Many refer to this experience as consciousness.

I find that the word 'consciousness' carries too much baggage to make it the topic of a productive discussion. The sled dogs can't budge it. To raise the unique subjective experience we all have in common as a topic of discussion, one must first qualify and disqualify centuries of perspectives that come up when we mention consciousness. I do not wish to spend our time here debating these qualifications. If that is your wish, you'll find an annotated list of Resources compiled in the appendix. It is a handmade map of the wilderness I have wandered to arrive here.

Instead, I would like to explore a wide array of topics in the context of and from the perspective of a concept (akin to consciousness) that will develop organically as we proceed through this series. Think of this as a series of digs, at times archeological, anthropological, astrological, psychological, cosmological, pharmacological, ontological, metaphysical, quantum, archetypical, occasionally mystical, and by-and-large scientific. During each dig we will gather samples, unearth fossils, and discover artifacts that will help us reconstruct the concept back at the lab. We will soon see that this is a very old concept, perhaps the oldest, one we have all always innately known.

Tom Campbell called his version of this concept a Big TOE, that is a Big Theory of Everything. He posits that we each have one, a Big T.o.E., but few of them are coherent enough to stand writing down. #quoteNeeded Campbell's My Big TOE, while a veritable tome, is remarkably coherent. Risking blasphemy, I could sum up in an absurdly compact logical statement: if Consciousness, then Love. Steven Kaufman's Unified Reality Theory is a lesser, denser tome that might suffer a similar summary: consciousness is everything and love is its optimal process. In other words, this, the essence of everything we experience, what Buddhists call tathātā, is love evolving consciousness. How many gurus, polymaths, auteurs, poets, philosophers, psychonauts, and theologians throughout time immemorial have arrived at this same simple understanding? We'll catalog some potent quotables in the appendix.

Getting down to brass tacks

I've drawn up a hypothetical design for this concept that we can tweak as we go on our digs. Think of this as a blueprint for satchitananda, which might be translating as "Being Knowing Enjoying" or "existence-consciousness-bliss"

Fundamental

  • the foundation and fabric of reality
  • not dependent on or able to be explained by other elements or properties of the system (which we call reality)

Cycling

  • lacks a perceptible beginning or end from our perspective
  • ongoing and dynamic, not static
  • akin to a feedback loop within a recursion process

Universal

  • the common thread among every instance of subjective experience

Process

  • similar to Being
  • as Alfred North Whitehead
  • not a state or a condition, as the '-ness' suffix connotes in English formations such as 'consciousness'

#tathata #premises #origin #integration

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An Origin Story