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..:: Perspective I ::..


Alan Schneider


              The perspective determined by the body and physical senses is the only one of which we can all be assured. Not only can we detect each other through the action of the senses, but the external environment can be detected as well, and appears to remain more or less consistent as a physical manifestation throughout the apparent universe. There is at least sufficient consistency in human observations of this condition which we call “life” to agree that it exists objectively, has a literal and perceptual beginning, and also ends in both contexts.  

            A human being can be represented as a sensory information encoder, interpreter, and recorder – any and all impressions that impinge upon the organism and the senses will inevitably pass through these three processes. In general terms, cultural and social matrices tend to ensure local agreement on what is perceived by individuals present within those matrices, although the fact of perception remains grounded in the personal organic lattice – the body of flesh and bone – protein. That body has a set of extensive automated responses to various environmental conditions, ranging from autonomic nervous mechanisms to global instinctual drives, the cumulative result of evolution on this planet as represented by our species. Yet, the senses that inform us of the world beyond the boundaries of the body can only provide a small part of the total information content available – this we have come to know from the instrumental investigations of science – the extent of phenomena lying outside of direct perception is incredibly extensive to say the least. And, finally, the body represents a focal perspective of perception – fixed in time, space, and bandwidth – no matter how well augmented our senses are with any kind of advanced instrumentation or acculturation, all understanding still comes down to a foundation in personal sensory experience. The body carries forward life – the body is life viewed from a unique sensory perspective. 

            It is the effect of this perspective that forms the subject of this essay, and the qualities of the information environment surrounding the organism will constitute the thrust of our investigation here, as opposed to the personal mechanism of that perspective. This would seem to be quite challenging in view of the last sentence of the preceding paragraph, and indeed it is, since we have only the senses at any point in time to ground our experience. But we are all learning machines – the interpretive function noted in the first paragraph – and we can and do integrate each new sensory impression registered into the extended record of the memory, altering and advancing the meaning of each experience as we do so. When the infinite capacity of the Psyche to imagine what cannot be perceived is factored into this equation, the possibilities of learning become limitless. Any fantasy or idea is a potential reality that has only to be communicated in some way to gain external expression, and subjected to physical development to gain external existence. Thus has the utterly preposterous science fiction of yesterday become the mundane reality of today! 

            The information environment surrounding human observers is infinitely dense. This means that the least significant phenomenon observable can be studied indefinitely, thereby yielding meaningful investigative results indefinitely. If even a microscopic speck of dust is so observed, the molecular complexity of its structure will be revealed, including the energetic bonds that account for its existence, right down to subatomic particles, quarks, and cosmic energy strings. The latter are demonstrated mathematically to exist in ten dimensions, not merely the three physical dimensions we experience in the senses, and additional temporal dimension we infer intellectually from our observations of transition in the environment. And who can say how much more will be discovered as the subtlety of our methodology advances? Perhaps a decade ago, researchers were examining the sooty residue of certain energy discharges with electron microscopy, and discovered carbon nanotubes there. Since these tubes, which are mere nanometers in length, have electrovalent characteristics, it is possible to manipulate them for use as circuit elements in the smallest circuits under development today. Our ability to construct in today’s technological environment is limited literally only by our imagination of what we think we can construct.  

            In a previous essay, I discussed the concept of the Black Box in perception – the chaotic region that exists anywhere beyond the current range of our extended perception, our knowledge augmented by our imagination. The concept of infinite information density effectively carries us inside the Black Box, where anything that can be imagined is conceptually present. It is not that nothing exists inside the Box, but that everything exists inside the Box in non-determinate form. The Zen Buddhist contention that nothing is everything and everything is nothing is quite literally true at the quantum level of investigation. The non-determinate condition is not non-existent – it is simply non-observed, but everything is still present there, waiting for human observation to somehow take place regarding the Box.  

            The Black Box is itself an imaginary concept – a symbolic representation of the chaos that, however, is literally evident everywhere beyond the limits of human intervention, and no one doubts the existence of that chaos. The very natural world which we have developed from is essentially chaotic. Much discussion has taken place recently in academic and philosophical circles regarding “thinking outside the box” – I submit for the purposes of this discussion that we need to think inside the box – the perceptual Black Box – using our fully-empowered imagination as the engine of thought. To give credit where credit is due, I really do suppose that we are referring to the same process in either case – the liberation of thought from the constraints of convention. 

            How are we to take our perspective into a condition that is by definition beyond any perspective? By entering the construct – the Black Box – through the agency of the imagination, and letting our fantasies have free rein there, no matter how preposterous, uncomfortable, or confusing the results might be. If nothing else, there will be a symbolic meaning present in what emerges, that can be grasped eventually by patient, detached consideration, and this will have productive implications elsewhere in life. All real discoveries began as flights of fancy somewhere in some idealistic dreamer’s Black Box. It is the willingness to press on with resourceful persistence that decides what emerges into concrete expression on the material plane. And the realization of deeper symbolic meaning present in chaotic perceptions is worthwhile whether or not it results in a physical object or objects perceivable in the senses. 

            It can be argued that all such unstructured observations are still of a personal nature, and take place inside the personal mind and organism, but do they? If we take the Black Box literally, then it represents everything yet to be perceived in any modality anywhere, inside or outside the body. If the field of information is infinitely dense, then there must be some mechanism determining what emerges into human perception, and that mechanism must exist beyond the personal organism and senses. I have myself sat in meditation at the Portal of Chaos (referred to in the Mental Field series of articles) – the inner gateway of imagination – and  experienced the emergence there into my consciousness of many apparently chaotic images that have since formed into meaningful and orderly complexes of information all pointing to the presence of an extra-personal intelligence operating beyond the boundary of personal perception and the physical body. Furthermore, the confluence of my personal observations with several established schools of esoteric thought indicates the activity of a common process at work structuring consciousness that exists beyond any one personal Psyche. Yes, I still have a personal sensory perspective, and, yes, I have used meditation and imagination to transcend that perspective and gain access to the infinite field of information and meaning which is chaos. I now understand that I am limited in this life only by my own lingering ignorance and lack of motivation. I have the power, and I have the responsibility to create meaning and order in this life by achieving understanding and offering that understanding to others. 

            This process exists even in the case of apparently complete nonexistence. There is a state of perception – the absolutely non-dual state – in which consciousness essentially dissolves into a non-differentiated stream of non-determinate expression. One is aware of nothing in this condition – not even breathing – not thinking, feeling, existing – nothing.  It can be presumed that, as long as life continues, something will eventually recondense conscious perception in the organism, and such has always been the case for me – eventually I simply return to consciousness. I presume that this state of absolutely blank perception is analogous to the Hindu state of dreamless sleep – one of the three modes of perception that human beings can experience – the others being sleep with dreams, and waking awareness. Since most people have experienced all three states of expression, it is quite possible to communicate about the experience of nonexistence to others by referring to the dreamless sleep state, although the attainment of that state in meditation under controlled conditions will furnish much more information about the transition into and out of it than slipping away into conventional sleep. And this condition is presumably what occurs when the ego completely dissolves, leaving the quantum Black Box as the only remaining modality of awareness.  

            So it is possible to step “outside the box” of physical perspective held in place by sensory perception – the illusory world of Maya – and access the total field of information present in even the least phenomenon, and I have suggested some of the ways in which this can be achieved while still among the living in this article.  And I have attempted to describe what conditions may be encountered beyond the borders of chaos, although this is by no means a complete description of all that may be encountered in that place – no such description is possible, due to the infinite manifestation of the information environment. This is truly the final frontier of existence, where even non-existence can be sampled. Perhaps we will find the ultimate answer to the riddle of life in the experience of death that eventually finds us all, but we can and must probe beyond the body into the hidden realms of manifestation that define consciousness before that time comes, because this is the only way to genuinely know anything about or beyond existence.


                                                                             - With Love, Alan -

                                                                       (CR2008, Alan Schneider)


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