An Essay on Human Wanting

            You are sitting there in your chair thinking about what to eat or which drug to obtain and where. You want something. Potato chips? Another beer? More likes? Your brain is used to wanting a fix and you getting it. It is difficult to think of anything else. That is why your addiction has such a powerful hold. Most people want to find something. We are all drowning in our obsessive thoughts and desperately wish for something, some satisfaction of the wanting. Human minds always seek something more than what they have. I propose that this property of wanting something is a function or resultant of panpsychism, a philosophical theory of consciousness.

“The word “panpsychism” literally means that everything has a mind. However, in contemporary debates it is generally understood as the view that mentality is fundamental and ubiquitous in the natural world. Thus, in conjunction with the widely held assumption (which will be reconsidered below) that fundamental things exist only at the micro-level, panpsychism entails that at least some kinds of micro-level entities have mentality, and that instances of those kinds are found in all things throughout the material universe. So whilst the panpsychist holds that mentality is distributed throughout the natural world—in the sense that all material objects have parts with mental properties…” (Cited below).

Our brain is designed to want. But to want what? Potato chips and beer won’t cut it. The human mind always has access to the property of consciousness present in the universe, and the higher-order consciousness continually pulls on the human consciousness. Stop and think. Allow yourself to consider this massive revelation: Human brains are designed to want and the perfect fit for the wanting is a fundamental consciousness present in the material world. Now that you know of the existence of higher-order consciousness, connect with it.

            Neuroscientists and philosophers have developed theories of consciousness, to explain the mind-body problem. This problem is the existence of consciousness in a physical world. Is consciousness physical or non-physical? How and why is there consciousness? What is consciousness? Consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality, and exists throughout reality. Like gravity or other laws of physics, consciousness exists. Scientists do not like to venture outside their supposedly fact-based science bubble, but I can. So I say now, consciousness as a property of the universe could be the same thing as what many people call God or Spirit. If consciousness is explained by panpsychism, then consciousness is a physicalist mental state. This conclusion is reached because panpsychism would locate consciousness in the physical world as a property. If consciousness is not explained by panpsychism, then consciousness is more likely a dualist mental state. This conclusion would be reached because consciousness cannot be detected or sourced with current methodology, therefore it would be non-physical. So?

            Humans have a tremendous need to fulfill their wanting. This wanting drives our societies, inventions, material progress, athletic prowess, everything. People fill this longing for something somehow. Addiction is a phenomenon of the unfulfilled call of higher consciousness. Our brains have been designed specifically to answer the call, but mostly we answer the call with material world devices like various addictions. Addiction to a harmful substance or behavior can destroy you. There are other methods of filling the wanting. What are you looking for in your life, or your addiction, or your religion, or whatever? Is there a hole in your soul? Face it. You are looking for something. There is an unfilled need and you think that the addictive substance or behavior will fill it. Instead, consciously find a way to connect with higher-order consciousness.

            Do you want to find an inner strength that supports you and stays with you always? Do you want to feel accompanied by a trusty power always? That feeling is what I mean by connecting to higher-order consciousness. Reach mentally into the consciousness property of the universe, into higher-order consciousness. You will quickly receive something. It might be a better feeling, a new thought, something someone says, or something that happens. Look. Feel. Be on alert. Something which helps you will come, but you have to watch for it. Then, keep it conscious.

            Right here, right now, think, “I want something more than a fix.” Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe. Cling to your Something within for a moment. Consider an abstract notion of divine energy beyond any religion or anthropomorphic concept of God. You have a spiritual component beyond addiction, resentment, pain, failure, ordinary consciousness. Transform your wanting for your drug or behavior of choice into an insistent connection to higher-order consciousness. Something more will come from an inner sense of something. Something more is now lodged in your gut with an insistent wanting for connection with the conscious you. Something more wants a relationship with you, to be in your conscious mind. So transfer your wanting to the inner something. Stop and feel something more. Whoever you are, at whatever age, there is Something more. Focus on something more. You may not know what to call it, that feeling of something more, but you know you want it and wish for it. The words Something more in relation to your life itself, tug at you, want you to connect. You can strive higher in consciousness. You don’t have to be special to connect with Something. Pause and feel the inner urge. The feeling is there. Discern it.

Citation:

Goff, Philip, William Seager, and Sean Allen-Hermanson, “Panpsychism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2020/entries/panpsychism/&gt;

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Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 2021

 It is that time of year. The second edition of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. I entered this virtual race again because we got cool belt buckles last year. This year\’s version is 642 miles. It began on May 1. I have already completed 102 miles.

You can see my current location on the map just above Jackson. 102 miles is 16%.

I find that since the race started, my brain has been focused on doing miles. Not that there is any hurry. A very curious thing about my brain. It thinks it is in the race, therefore, I am compelled to do more miles than normal. 

Starting Monday was a 255-mile ultra-marathon. It took place between Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona, on trails. For the first time ever, it was live-streamed by many volunteers on the course. I watched as much as I could. I happened to watch the winner finish in real-time, just over 72 hours. It was amazing to watch him run in to the finish, not at all looking like he just spent 3 days in the mountains doing 255 miles. The first female came in about 12 hours later. She did look like her feet hurt. I could feel her pain. However, all the finishers demonstrated an amazing thing about the human mind. The mind can somehow keep a body going and going and going. There was a live chat on Youtube. I could see that many people felt amazed as I did. Every time I logged in to watch, there were nearly 1,000 others watching. Many ultra-runners left the live stream on their computers all day while they \”worked from home.\” And then, I went out to do my own miles. 

Speaking of the brain, I just finished another neuroscience book: \”7 1/2 Lessons About the Brain\” by Lisa Feldman-Barrett. Interestingly, this author thinks that the brain makes the mind, not that the mind uses the brain as a tool. Not a word about \”consciousness,\” unless you count the word \”mind\” as consciousness. The implications are major if consciousness is a thing made by an organic process with no intentional guidance. 

I\’ve read a number of neuroscience books. I can say that most of them do not propose that there is a consciousness, or soul, which is present at birth or that enters the body at some point. Experiments have not been able to detect consciousness. 

Neuroscience leaves us spiritualists hanging. There is no data, only individual reports. 7 1/2 Lessons also does not discuss the differing jobs of the left and right hemispheres. Perhaps in writing a logical book, the author did not give the right hemisphere a say; after all, the right hemisphere is non-verbal. If there is a higher consciousness, it would communicate quietly through the right hemisphere. The communication would be an intuitive thought received into the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres. 

René Descartes, a philosopher who died in 1650, knew as much about consciousness as we do. We still don\’t know what makes a human out of an animal. We prefer to see ourselves as special in the universe, more conscious than any other animal; but we could be wrong about our specialness.

Modern Life

The new veggie burger with plant blood…  ewwww! As an ethical vegetarian, the last thing I want is something bloody looking that tastes like meat.

The pill that reduces the effect of alcohol, so you don\’t drink as much. This product misses the point of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a spiritual disease.

Continued to read \”Waking Up\” by Harris this morning. There was a bit on neuro-science. I have read about 4 books on neuro-philosophy, I finally get how there could be a consciousness which is unknown to the verbalizing left brain. I\’m supported in my understanding that my brain is not consciousness. I\’m glad the inklings I get from the quiet consciousness doesn\’t have to be tied to religion or to some massive emotional experience called \”enlightenment.\” In fact, after at least 30 years of study and practice, I think it is a working part of my everyday life.

I can observe my left brain activity. Like, I am supposed to go to  department meeting next week. We were all asked to take a personality test (similar to Myers Briggs). I didn\’t want to cooperate. I hate those Myers Briggs labels. But I decided it wouldn\’t hurt to take the test and not report the findings. Then I saw the result. I clearly felt my decision change through the doorway of pride. I liked what the result said about me. I was proud. So I reported the information.

Wow! I think that is the first time I could so clearly see an ego decision.

What is more important though is that reading Waking Up, I now understand why I feel conflicted and confused about what I really want to do with my life: career and societal involvement vs silence and contemplation. I understand how it is that with my ego yelling negative information, I still do the ethical and nice thing. Self restraint does not come from my ego.

This week, because of my struggles over work, I was gifted with a new skill. When I feel upset, I notice my ego yelling at me about justified up-set-ness; and I kept asking why? The answer to \”Why?\” from the ego seems to be silence. I\’ve not been that capable before.

It has been a week since I was forced to get an Apple ID and join the iphone world. I find that I use the phone the same as I did my BlackBerry: mostly to read work e-mails.

Running is fantastic. Houston is still freaking hot.

The Non-instinctive Life

I\’ve left aside spiritual reading for a little while in order to read some neuroscience (brain books). It is a kind of spiritual study if you admit that you can\’t define God or Spirit until after you define physiology and chemistry and evolutionary patterns.

Currently reading \”The Ravenous Brain.\” This morning I read, \”We overeat because normally, in nature, food is scarce, so when there is a plentiful supply, the desire to stock up is incredibly powerful. We suffer heavy stress, even when there is not even a remote threat to our lives, because we are built to strive desperately in a dangerous world. We are also engineered to impress — to rise socially as far as we can — partly to secure more resources, but also to find sexual mates. Sex is one of the main driving forces of adult life, because, after all, passing on our own brand of genetic ideas is the main evolutionary purpose of our existence.\”

So I understand my fights and my fears. I understand those powerful urges, maybe not overcome even if a different conscious choice is attempted.

Prayer is a belief that one of these instincts can be met by divine intervention.

I went running. I noticed that cigarette butts laying on the ground represent a threat to my life. I thought about how I evaluate every single man in terms of his usefulness as a mate or as a threat to my safety. The people closest to me are most likely to try to control my behavior so that I am not a threat to their evolutionary success. Some of my exercise is in the \”survival of the fittest\” category. The little things I do to please the boss or gets positive attention are evolutionary difficult to escape behaviors.

I try to give up the dopamine reward cycle. I am not fat. I don\’t go along with the tribe. I don\’t want to live a food centered life. I\’m celibate. I don\’t know if I believe in God or not at the moment. I want to run endless miles. This represents eternity to me. I still sit in silence and listen. My intuitive thoughts come this way; I just don\’t think it is God talking to me. I go to work, pay the bills and have no purpose.