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The Unknown Education
19 years ago, in my teens and the desperate depths of depression, in lieu of shuffling off this mortal coil, I took the uncharacteristic action of suggesting to my "higher self" (which I considered pseudo-scientific nonsense) to present me with irrefutable evidence that anything existed beyond the unfeeling meaningless coincidence of my existence.
This momentary ultimatum and suspension of what I considered "rational thought" precipitated a series of experiences that were so much "realer" than my notion of real that I was irrevocably changed. (Religion was not involved.)
For years I have been terrified to share these experiences: goodbye recruitment emails from well-known tech company and possible 6-figure salary. But the time intermittent has been a malicious geometry, from which no Venn diagram could give me solace: I’ve found intellectuals and "New Agers" simultaneously intolerable.
As a teen I was lost, with no model of adulthood like the one I’ve become: a passion for engineering, an understanding of science, yet deep and pervading, everyday benefit from concepts they dismiss as unworthy. Now as an adult, to share these can feel lonely and terrifying, but what difference is there between hiding away and becoming a pariah?
This writing may offend you with its ideas. I respect you for being so offended. I would have been myself. There are no words within these walls that denigrate or criticize your worldview. There are no words that proselytize, there are no words that assert the "correctness" of my experience, because it is not correct, it is only personal.
But in its personal, biased, distorted nature, it can be incredibly empowering. Perhaps it even speaks to your last dim spark, but moments before its extinguishment. And if so, know that this is for you. You are kin to my past self, and you are not alone.
There is an idea seldom considered, rarely examined; its distortions readily dismissed. An idea that the beliefs of your conscious mind enlighten you, or blind you—within one limited reality. A Charybdis of confirmation bias: a whirlpool ensnaring your perceptions while Scylla, with tentacled swiftness, capsizes evidence-contrary before it ever tantalizes your periphery.
But how would you test such an idea? "The power of positive thinking" is rightfully rejected: a fantasy of pseudo-science and fairy-tale indulgence, wish-it-were-true "magical" thinking. But positive believing?
Rational, scientific fact—that which should remain regardless of belief—concludes it's absurd. Yet foundational sciences, consistent with any knowledge, lay a bedrock of belief. As a child you may not have "believed" stepping from a ledge holding an umbrella would hurt you. But once acquired, the faith that it surely would remains ineffably practical.
So though we "know" it's absurd, that knowledge has a provenance, and what remains unconsidered is—how strong are the distortive powers of the sea-monsters? Have we tested anything if our answers are pre-concluded?
There is a legacy of thinkers whose thought experiments opened new dimensions of experience. So I give you this thought experiment: if belief affects your personal evidence of what's real, how can you test the truth of this, without first altering belief to be open to its possibility?
"All evidence points to it being ridiculous, so I believe it so" does not refute the concept of self-fulfilling belief, but supports it. So we may consider it a perversion of science, but it's a perversion of ourselves not to afford it the experimentation of our ideals.
So with openness satisfying the prerequisite, what belief do we adopt to put under test? And if the hypothesis is true, we should be very concerned for the danger; we might find ourselves altogether altered. In fact, deliberately changing belief... sounds quite a bit like joining a cult.
The Cult of Yourself
If belief can grow, perpetuate, and reinforce itself; if consciousness is composed of concepts orbiting gravity-wells of conviction; only one seems suitable for our celestial center: that you can provide yourself with answers.
In the traditional view, consciousness is tossed on tumultuous waters, driven by uncontrollable and nigh unknowable urges and impulses, buried memories and emotions. You are, at best, a steward of the chemicals and neurons of your genetic evolution; a coxswain corralling chaos.
Allow me to indoctrinate you with an alternative. A self-expanding belief that affords itself opportunity for vindication. Your conscious mind: Captain. The ego—the you you consider you—its gaze; supplemented with a looking-glass to survey horizons outward, and eye-patch to illuminate cabins inward. Orders are given to the crew not with words or wants, but expectations. The ship: your body. The ocean: your experience. The crew: the invisible inner processes of your intersection with earthly immanence.
The ego exists in a singular moment, feeding the conscious mind with its every immediate awareness. The conscious mind, with negligence or discrimination, barks orders to the crew, who sail with the excellence of their instinct. The issue is, you've been ignorant to the prominence of your position. You occupy a space of such ultimate freedom that you've been free to feel imprisoned. A space of such ultimate power that you've been empowered to, unknowingly, be powerless.
I want you to wake up. So far, your orders are rife with contradiction, your vessel ravaged with cross-purposes, and your course crippled with confusion. I want you to cease your subordinate reverie, suspend your somnambulance, seize the helm and sail to waters that sanctify the supremacy of the self.
The shortest chartable route is to reveal an acclimated eye beneath its patch and delve below deck, to the domain of dreams. You may dismiss dreams as meaningless, and so they've been without meaning. You may forgo their frequency in your experience, and so they've been forgotten. You must suspend your suspicions; align your instructions to be clear and deliberate.
It's easier than you suspect—we aren't seeking confirmation of my convictions, but your own personalized envoy of information. You may word your suggestion as openly as possible: "I suggest I have a dream of such potency and clarity that I immediately awake with tremendous comprehension of the truth or falseness of this information", or similar. Repeat to yourself multiple times before sleep, for a week.
The point is to be open to the possibility that everything I've written is bullshit, and if you weren't expecting that, you've misunderstood the lesson. If you experience nothing, you still have an answer. There are other methods, but the above is simplest. Demand a high burden of proof, opening yourself only to possibility—as required to test. If true, it’s a minor ask: the self has incentive to inform the ego of its abilities.
Ethics of Black Sheep
My intention has been to capture and accelerate your curiosity. If I succeeded you will trust yourself above me and other purveyors of "truth". My remaining writings are personal truths: anecdotes of overcoming ideas that gatekeeped my satisfaction and fulfillment. This is the singular goal of these writings: not to convince, but to provide optional, available paths to empowerment.
Some of my obstacles will not appear as limitations, but as constructive and enriching frameworks. This is natural, as my perspective is not the "correct" perspective. A plant expresses tremendous creative freedom in its growth, yet remains within the confines of its species. It is often boundaries that focus and propel meaning within them, in accordance with the individual.
If the beliefs I've fought to acquire were popular, there would be no need to share them. They are not intentionally divisive. Judge them by their personal merit, because that is the only criteria of value. Many of them will be perspectives you’ve never heard, or solutions you’ve considered impossible.
Above-all, I have tremendous and profound respect for the beliefs of others. Mine may differ, but it's impossible to know whether I'm the civilized-self, criticizing the barbarism of the past, or that exact same savage, to be judged by the future. What I can do is respect those around me, even if I disagree, with an empathic understanding that each of our worldviews manifest as truth within our waking moments.
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