Friday, October 12, 2012

The Internal and External Universe

There are two universes. Or, rather, there are potentially 7 billion or infinitely more distinctive universes, but you and every other sentient individual is influenced by two of them. One of them is external, and one of them is internal. I am aware that there are scientific theories that propose multiple other universes, but for the sake of this post, we will stick to those 2.

It can be observed that in the external universe, things exist. There is space, and some of the space has properties. For instance, it may be solid, or colorful, or it may emit noise. However, the universe is not aware of it's properties, and neither are the things inside of it ("Things" referring to space that has distinctive properties, aside from propertilessness, which is also a propertey). A typewriter, for example, is not aware that it is a typewriter. It isn't aware of it's color, it's sound, or of it's function. It just exists and is influenced by the purposeless laws of the universe (such as physics). In the external universe, it has no purpose. Nothing in this universe has an essence or a name, it simply exists, and does nothing more. You don't live in the external universe, but your body does, and it impacts your internal universe.

The internal universe exists outside (and somehow inside) the external universe. And even though every sentient being (to my knowledge) shares one external universe, every sentient being experiences a different internal one. In this universe, objects have purposes. In fact, in only this universe do "objects" really exist as anything more than meaningless space. In the internal universe, things have names and sensory properties. In the external world, the universe is unaware of the color of sound of a typewriter, because it has no senses. It is extrasensory. However, in the internal universe, every single minuscule piece of knowledge is strictly and exclusively sensory. We expand our internal universe by observing the sensory properties that are reflected through objects in the external, extrasensory universe. And no two internal universes are similar.

The vessel you control in the external universe may be young or old, but time doesn't have the same effect on the internal universe. It exists as long as you do. It was created when you had your very first thought, and it will be destroyed when you have your very last one.

Try to recall your first thought. I don't remember mine, and you don't remember yours. This is beautiful, because not remembering the beginning of my internal universe removes it from existence. Therefore, my life is without beginning, and since I can't comprehend it's end, it is also without end. We observe other people being born and dying, and we apply numerical values to the number of times we revolve around the sun, which gives us the illusion that our lives are small and finite. We are told stories that imply the external universe existed before we did, but that should not have a profound effect on us, as we do not live in the external universe. It is not applicable to us. If you disillusion yourself from the external universe, your life will seem infinite. The greatest proof of this is that we couldn't comprehend anything before we were born, and we cannot comprehend or predict exactly what it will be like after we die.

In the same sense that our minds are as old as the internal universe, our bodies are as old as the external universe. The elements that our bodies are made of were formed in stars, and the atoms that formed those elements have existed since this universe began, and will exist until this universe ends.

This is what comes to mind when people describe things as "carnal" or "of the world".

We are Such Stuff as Dreams are Made Of

I can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all.

- Neutral Milk Hotel, Aeroplane Over the Sea

One of the most sobering feelings I have comes to me when I look myself in the mirror. I stare directly into my eyes in the same way I would if I was to engage another person in contact, and then the epiphany strikes: There's not another person there, that person I see is an image of myself. When I apply the concept of myself to the image in the mirror, I remember that I am a real thing. More than a real thing, in fact. I am a thing that is sentient. And I have some control. When I move my arm, the image's arm moves. And my subconscious self is almost in denial about it, because being sentient is such a rarity. Out of all of the many things that fill the universe, only a minuscule, finite number of them are sentient. And one of them is me. How unlikely.

Seeing myself from the outside reminds me that I have a self on the inside. The image in the mirror bears semblance to myself in the way other people see me. I am not a floating consciousness, I have a body and a brain, the same way everyone else has a body and a brain. I subconsciously realize that through my body, I have an impact on other things. And of those things, some of them witness and experience my body and my brain, because they are also sentient. This isn't a groundbreaking realization, in fact it seems obvious. But even though it seems obvious, in waking life I tend to forget about it. It seems more likely to me that I am somebody outside my body, merely observing the actions of the person in the mirror from behind his eyes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Error of Language

"The Human Condition" is such a lovely colloquialism. In so few words, it implies that there is something unique about being human, and that it is a condition which is shared throughout every subdivision of humanity. At some point in almost every human's life, he or she will learn, suffer, and pass on his or her knowledge to another human being. This occurs regardless of status. That single property, the ability to share gained knowledge and experience, is demonstrated by no other conscious species known to man. This more than anything is why humanity has such diverse cultures, technologies, and arts. Man's ability to communicate in such a unique way is what puts us at the top of the food chain.

It's a shame that something so complex and beautiful is also so flawed.

The error of our unique system of communication is that it assumes the human mind is homogeneous. When we speak to each other, we don't give each other ideas. We bounce our own ideas off of each other's flesh, with the assumption that the other person has the proper ingredients in their mental archives to develop the same idea on their own. The knowledge that two twice is four is useless, unless you first know that one twice is two.

If I asked us both to imagine a wooden chair, we would imagine different chairs. Perhaps it would be shaped differently, or perhaps it would be made of a different type of wood. Odds are, you will remember a wooden chair you've encountered in the past, and I will remember one I've encountered in mine. If you were mistaken or lied to, you might not even imagine a wooden chair. If you were mistakenly raised to believe desks were chairs, you would hear me mention a "wooden chair" and instead you would imagine a wooden desk. This is because, even though I'm facilitating your thoughts, I'm not giving them to you. You're having them on your own.

In this way, our minds are not homogeneous. Every new experience is relative to our personal perception. The world you live in, in the way you perceive it, is exclusive to you. And the error of language, I think, is a demonstration of this truth.

What I mean to convey is that, in reading this blog it will be difficult for me to express all of my ideas in a way that can be understood similarly by all readers. That is neither my goal nor my hope. The posts that follow are going to be rich with messages of individualism, and respectively I hope that you will approach them as an individual. Blogger has graciously provided a comment section below which I hope will serve as a medium for discussion, especially where common ground can't be found.

And now, I present Artifice. What I hope will someday be a journal of my collected thoughts on existence. I have chosen the name Artifice because it is my opinion that the world is artificial in some way, and this blog will give me the opportunity to back that up.

"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible." -Rene Magritte