Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Power of Good - Round 2

A second part to possibly the most important post on my blog;

"Good" is all that makes us feel happy. It is the actions and thoughts and things that we don't and won't regret. That is the simplest way to know if you are doing good - "Could I possibly regret this?"

Smiling begets happiness, and vice versa. The two are intimately connected - you can try it:

Relax, breathe a little, clear the mind, and make a big, huge smile.

It grows on you doesn't it? I'm sitting here, nose stuffed up, head throbbing, dizzy as a kid who rolled down a hill, but if I smile it picks me right back up. Warm (imaginary) sunshine hitting my face, embracing the good.

I wanted to get a little deeper, and something I touched on in my previous post. When I said
"When you are happy, the world is happy."

It doesn't seem always true, but it makes a big difference. I wanted to play a little mental exercise though. What if all the bad in the world, all the negative, is only there because it always has been. Since the beginning of life its been kill or be killed. We've had predators as long as we've had mouths. As we grew more conscious and more aware, we became empathetic - another being's suffering is our own.

There are those that dismiss this empathy and embrace of all life as beautiful as something silly, foolish - something science easily dismisses. But science certainly does not, in fact science says nothing of morality at all!

Back to the point - what if all the negativity we experience in todays world - all the suffering, has just been carried over from our years of un-empathetical behavior? What would happen if all people smiled just an hour more a day? What would happen if all people began to be charitable in just a few more actions a day?

Since the greater use of "happy" parts of the brain begets more and stronger uses of "happy" parts of the brain (giving, smiling, and loving), the world would exponentially get happier. 

What if by simply being nicer, the world changed? Literally. Since our perception of the universe is dramatically altered in various ways depending on our mood - to have a global shift in the direction of good and happiness could literally change how the world is seen. I'm not just saying that people would seem nicer, and the day would be a bit brighter - but literally things would become more valuable, time would become more fulfilling, life would be richer.

Before you go all skeptic on me, what have you got to lose?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Nine things I've learned in the past year.

Nine things I've learned in the past year.

1) Be confident in who you are, love yourself for the same reason, and USE that to get to where you want to be.
2) Where you want to be isn’t really where you want to be… It is getting there that brings the most joy.
3) Every perspective has an equal and opposite, and every variant in between. We all choose some paths, and butt heads with others once in a while. Taking everything you know yourself and everyone else knows with a grain of salt is powerful.
4) The world is a blank canvas. You have the paint brush of emotions, thoughts, and realizations. YOU paint this picture, no one else – so choose your colors carefully.
5) Caring about anything up to a point of sadness, anger, or negativity means you evaluated something wrong.
6) Being able to admit you're wrong is far more rewarding than being correct.
7) For every “I love you all” there is a “But love is just an emotion” person.
8) Spreading paranoia, fear, and conspiracy theories is retrogressive
9) Spreading genuine kindness is beautiful.

From here on out, I want to embody these 9 concepts as much as I can.

I've always had this advice to others, but never gave it to myself. I could learn a thing or two.

See you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thoughts on Consciousness

The Conscious Mind...

We're all conscious right? You think you're conscious, I think I'm conscious, I even think monkeys are conscious. 

First mental exercise - Where do you draw the line on consciousness?
In order to believe we are conscious, we must understand that something allows us to be conscious. •Whether it be a soul, or some spiritual element - or be it some physical part of the brain that somehow creates our experiences.

If you believe we have souls, then you obviously must believe that there is definite "line" in which you draw and give things souls or not souls. Does your pet dog have a soul? How about a snail? A fish? A plant? You must define a line, somehow to classify "souled" or soulless, or else accept that everything or nothing has souls (or some spiritual element).

If you believe that consciousness is directly attributed to the brain, then, again, you must draw a line where consciousness arises. You may draw the line at people, you may draw it at primates, maybe animals, maybe all living things, maybe everything. But you have to define it.

As neurology and psychology become more advanced and we are able to probe the brain deeper and deeper, we continually come up with results that show the brain is attributed to consciousness. Removing or damaging parts of the brain result in people unable to form coherent pictures of reality, thus probably meaning consciousness is affected.

Interestingly as well, we are conscious that we are conscious, which has real implications on how we perceive and act. Hence I am writing this article - I know I am consciousness, and that is directly tied to the brain, meaning consciousness (where ever it is) communicates directly to our neurons.

Although this may be obvious, this falsifies the idea that maybe consciousness is simply an observatory mechanism - unable to have any input on the brain.

However this interaction between consciousness and the brain does not mean that consciousness is in control of our body's actions. That is, we believe we have control, the "we" or "me" being the conscious experience. But within the past decade, studies are continually showing that this is incorrect - our brains make decisions before we are conscious of them! 

So what can we extrapolate from this? Well it would seem that our consciousness is some kind of illusion that "we" are in control - for example the illusion that we have free-will and "we" decide things consciously for our body to act out. In fact, it seems our unconscious brain makes decisions, followed by a conscious interpretation of this action - and reinforces that consciousness was in control the whole time.

What we experience in consciousness, almost seems to be a lag time or delay after our actual decisions are made... but also seems to correlate exactly with our actual actions, which seem to be odd as well. Its almost as if our brain makes decisions, orders them, categorizes and evaluates them, then, all at once, sends out the actions and the conscious experience of the decision at the same time.

So is there any room for "magic" here - that is, is consciousness really special? Does it have some kind of spiritual connection or meaning? How the hell can this actually work? If consciousness is in fact, just some by-product of evolution, and some nearly pointless ability to experience life (in a biological context) where the fuck is the color red located?

That is all.

See you!