posted on Jan, 26 2018 @ 11:04 PM
This is an unfortunate and an untrue - delusional - statement which many an intelligent person allows themselves to utter.
How do you think you work? When humans say "the universe is meaningless", how does that statement stand against the reality of the 28 zeros worth of
atoms - the 50-100 trillion cells - that somehow are built up like a pyramid, with us, as the thinking-meaning being, with minds that are
fundamentally built to search out for meaning.
How could meaning be said not to exist, if that is exactly what our bodies are fundamentally doing, over and over again - to make "us"?
Is this a psychotic statement? Some people would say it is, but it isn't nice to put it that way. Definitionally speaking, it's psychotic; but given
"how we feel about ourselves" is also the definition of the individual human experience, to go about calling people who look upon reality in the
wrong ways "crazy", is in itself, crazy. Noting a negative state of affairs is healthy and good; but being able to negotiate with its toxic presence
- that takes a non-stop effort of recognizing and watching and above all, inhibiting yourself when you're compelled to say something
A Hypnotizing, Entraining Object
When a certain metaphor "speaks to us", it speaks to us because it refers to a set of experiences that have been significant in our
life-development. In neuroscience terms, this metaphor is correlated with an 'attractor' in brain-functioning which is called a 'neural-network'.
Each of us have experiences which occur again and again in the same sort of way; and if we had an fMRI to track and categorize each state, there would
be a one to one correspondence between "this state", or 'self-state', and this 'neural-net'. Indeed, neurofeedback is all about using external
feedback on your brain waves to maintain a connection with those states.
Yet still, it isn't easy: the more trauma you have in you, the more liable you are to becoming hypnotized/entrained to object-states which speak
powerfully to your sense of meaning. For example, do you know when you see someone doing "that thing" that you don't like - indeed, have spent time
in the past negatively ruminating about before? Let's say it happens often enough that when you see the person, you may negatively expect them to do
it - so that when they do it, your reaction happens to become larger and greater precisely because you were unconsciously entrained/hypnotized by a
percept-cognitive reaction dialectic that convinced you of its value-meaning and your need to "maintain it".
This happens to every single mind on Earth; particularly those infected by the bugs of western civilization. I observe it in myself, in others, and
sometimes, between my self and an other simply because I've become aware of their affective state, and having a traumatic history myself, a sort of
unconscious 'web' of affective-reactions can flow between me and them, even though we've never met and are sitting 30 or so feet away from one
another, we're nevertheless communicating.
How do you get out of such states? In my experience, and in the expert opinion of contemporary psychotherapies, if you can't disconnect from the
cognitive object, then its important to move your awareness to a less complex part of your self experience: how your body is feeling.
A tensed cognitive state is the 'tip' of the pyramid of our cognition - affecting the cortical and emotion-regulating regions of our brain. Pat
Ogden, a leader in somatic psychotherapy, points out the need to defocus from the psychic-content, particularly in individuals with unresolved trauma.
In terms of Paul McClains triune brain hypothesis - that the human brain operates from three partially disconnected brain centers: the metabolic
"reptilian" brain, the affective paleo-mammalian brain, and the cognitive neo-mammalian brain - Ogden's approach is to turn away from the
psycholinguistic narrative (level 3), as well as the affective-social-emotional concern (level 2), to get a hold of the bottom-level process, the
metabolic self-regulating brainstem, in order to provide the necessary 'base' for more affective perception and cognition to emerge in
This approach of course is highly developed in the Eastern world, but in light of contemporary neuroscience, it has become clear as day that this is a
very coherent way of going about our psychological problems.
The Brain Creates Myths
Since consciousness is an emergent property of human bodies in biobehavioral relations with one another, I can only look upon the various myths people
tell themselves about reality - that it is "fundamental meaningless" - to be something they tell themselves because it makes them feel
better. You don't say something, or believe something, unless it 'feels right'. Even if you have complex relations to a single object - i.e.
you may claim that you hate that you feel this way, to say "reality has no meaning"; but this only means that we can "say something" because it
feels good to say it; and we can also have a meta-cognitive perception/acknowledgement that the state in question is not desirable. Two opposing
states to the same object "life is meaningless" can, indeed, and does exist.
So the question becomes, why? It seems to me that we can make meaning at multiple levels. The three that I've noted, and which I consider to be the
most ways of connecting, are "fun-play", "care-love", and "awe-peace". I regard these as gradients of spiritual forms of relating to the other.
Play is mostly self-focused, so its ourselves; care is mostly other-person focused, so its the other-person; whereas awe goes beyond the living object
to the external world, and so, constitutes the highest level meaning possible. It may be akin to the hindu statement "tat tvam asi" - "you are
Symmetry really is the basis of everything that exists. In humans, this symmetry is expressed as love and care - basic respect for the other,
acknowledging their individuality, their feelings, their needs, and how those needs have come to emerge. The feeling of "being known" is
neurogenerative, and so, has an inevitably positive effect on our psychological experience of self and reality. To "be known" from the beginning of
life onwards is a profound gift to be given, because many of us began life in the presence of others who were not able to "be there" for us in the
way that was needed. Preoccupation - stress - in their lives, made them unavailable to the growing childs natural needs to grow as a self.
And so, what is the message of this thread? The claim that the universe is meaningless necessarily exposes the person who makes that assertion to the
truth that something went wrong in their life, and that saying this - making this patently wrong claim - is something that they need - metabolically
speaking - because they cannot 'touch' higher level meanings without feeling burnt.
The compassionate response is something like The Open Society of Karl Popper. Tolerance for the other; for LGBTQ, if you're ideologically opposed;
for atheists who say there is 'no meaning'; for immigrants who look 'different'; for sassy teenagers who talk obnoxiously loud in the quiet
sections of the library. Every situation presents the facts - or constraints - taht makes this person pursue this level of meaning. The brain is set;
and this life of theirs is constrained. All we must do is trust th