Existence Exists: Reuniting the Mind and Body

Now that the AION symbol and theory have been revealed, we can actually begin to construct a coherent philosophy from it. Those two articles, along with this one and the others that will build on it will be my first attempts to prototype the two books I intend to write, Liber Libera Rex and AIO. LLR will be, in essence, a guidebook for the individual in society, built around the principles of self-sovereignty and individual rights, and it will attempt to form something like an actual social contract that people can enter into voluntarily. AIO will be a collection of parables, myths, legends, and excerpts from spiritual traditions, combined with exegesis, to attempt to present a framework for something like Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy. For now, however, we’re going to be starting with the foundational, abstract philosophy stuff. We begin with the core axiom: existence exists.

From here, it’s going to be assumed that you’re caught up on the majority of the concepts I discuss on the site. I’m going to make a “required reading” list for MasterSelf that will detail exactly what those articles are, but for now, assume it’s the two parts of the AION series, the two parts of Pieces of Mind, and all of the Memetics articles.

Let’s begin.

My metaphysics is built on a few axioms. The first of which is that existence exists– if you disagree with this, I don’t know what to tell you, aside for: seek psychological help immediately. This may seem funny, and it is, but you’d be amazed at the number of seemingly sane, educated adults who believe existence doesn’t exist, in one form or another. Simulation theory is one version of this, many religions (Buddhism and Gnosticism, notably) believe this, and a great deal of philosophers promote some version of this. Solipsism, the belief that only one’s mind can be “proven” to exist, is one variation on the disbelief in an objective reality.

This is where people begin to have issues, though- objective reality is a massive trigger word for most of the academic types. There’s this idea that there’s no such thing as an objective reality, that what we call “reality” is simply our subjective perception of it, and that, because everyone has a different experience of it, no one can say that one person’s perception is better or worse than another’s.

This is horseshit of the highest degree, and it can be proved very easily.

You have two people in a room. One of those people believes in an objective reality, and one of them does not. A man enters the room and shoots them both in the kidney. The person who believes in reality calls an ambulance, applies pressure to the wound, and survives long enough to receive medical attention. The other dies.

My argument is that this belief in reality being entirely subjective comes from two things. The first of these is the fact that the people who develop such ideas generally are far removed from acting in the world. Most philosophers generally write books for a living and teach classes in a university. They don’t do manual labor, they don’t create productive things, and the work that they do is not under the pressure of being practically useful. A philosopher’s mistake isn’t going to be noticed in the same way that an engineer’s mistake is. Bad engineering can result in a bridge collapse and is easy to trace back to the source. Bad philosophy can result in a social collapse, and even with blatant evidence of it being the result of the philosopher in question, people will still use the same philosophy to deny it.

The second of these things is a bit more realistic- there is an innate and fundamentally subjective component to our experience of the world. We experience a singular, coherent objective reality through our subjective lenses. If this wasn’t the case, traffic lights would not work (HT to @Kairos0101 for that), among infinitely many other things.

The issue here is that there are subjective components of our perception that do cause us to perceive reality incorrectly. These are the components of our petty ego– our thoughts, beliefs, ideas, opinions, and feelings. More specifically, it’s our attachment to them that prevents us from seeing clearly. If I have an attachment belief that contradicts reality, like the idea that humans were born with the ability to fly, then, so long as I retain my attachment to that idea, my subjective apprehension of the world will be wrong.

Let’s play this out, to shed some light on the process. Theme music below optional, but encouraged:

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If humans are naturally able to fly, but because we presently are not, we are forced to assume a few things. One, the laws of physics that we’re taught in school must certainly be a lie, because according to them, humans can’t fly. Well, if the laws of physics are wrong, then the people providing those laws to us must be involved in a conspiracy to keep humans flightless. This implicates the government (who runs the schools) as well as the Wright Bros. (govt. patsies) and the airline companies (the true rulers of the evil empire), since they’re the only people who would stand to gain from denying us our god-given rights.

Now, the alternative here is that humans can’t fly.

Occam’s razor (“one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed”) says that the second explanation is better, and we know that this is the case because the human capacity for flight is easily testable by every person in the world at any given time.

This brings us to another point- the importance of a falsifiable hypothesis. What does falsifiable mean? It means that your hypothesis has to be able to be proven wrong. For example, if my hypothesis is that I can roll a six sided die (1,2,3,4,5,6) and have it come up seven, then that hypothesis is easily falsifiable because it can be tested (with a cursory glance at the sides of the die).

This is where we get into another dangerous area. Most of our subjective failings come from attachment to ideas or concepts that are built on unfalsifiable hypotheses. Now, there’s an important note here- the core notion of the AIO theory (that time is the process of energy converting into information via the subjective reality of intelligent consciousness as a means to balance thermodynamics) is, as far as my capacity to test that theory goes, an unfalsifiable hypothesis. This is important to note because any time that we deal with the subjective nature of consciousness, we’re getting into the territory of unfalsifiability.

Science (for good reason) does not deal with unfalsifiable hypotheses- the scientific method is literally built around testing hypotheses that can be proven wrong. This is all well and good, but because of the subjective nature of consciousness, it forever remains outside the grasp of science. When science attempts to examine consciousness without being able to account for the subjective experience, you end up with behaviorism, which is trash. Suck it, Skinner.

The counter to this is when we attempt to examine consciousness as a purely subjective phenomenon. This is where you get ideas like the Law of Attraction (the belief that thoughts alone can influence reality), for example. Because this purely subjective approach to consciousness is not predicated on falsifiability, people can rationalize their belief in it even in the face of contradictory evidence- it didn’t work because you didn’t believe hard enough, or do the right affirmations, or whatever.

My argument against this comes from a saying my father always told me as a child, “wish in one hand and shit in the other, and tell me which one fills up first.”

I will say this- the notion of the Law of Attraction actually does make a sort of sense, if we can view it through a specific sort of lens. My argument (which is adapted from the principle behind Jordan Peterson’s excellent lecture on Cain and Abel) is that we ritualize or mythologize a process (attach supernatural or mystical value to it) before we understand the actual mechanism behind it and internalize it. In this lens, we can understand that the idea that your thoughts affect reality is actually true, but conditionally.

Your objective, physical brain and your subjective experience of mind are both united, and it’s from your brain (and nervous system) that your body is animated. Your mind possesses the capacity to think thoughts, and some of these thoughts control the action of the body. The human animal is fundamentally different from all other animals for this reason- we are not driven by instinct after a certain point (the mammalian diving reflex in infants is a good example of this), because we attain the capacity for volition, or free will.

In this lens, the Law of Attraction makes sense, because your thoughts do impact reality- by directing your actions towards a goal. The mystical approach that its proponents take, however, does not. You can test this hypothesis- go sit in the middle of the woods and think as hard as you can that somehow you will be fed, and tell me how it works. Or, take my approach, go sit in the middle of the woods and think of how to hunt a deer, then eat it. Sharing is caring- send me a deer steak.

Part of the appeal for these subjectively-based approaches to reality is that they’re a certain means of evading the facts of the burden of existence. If we accept that existence exists, then there are certain things that existence requires of us to continue existing. Breathing, drinking, eating, and protecting ourselves from the elements are some of the more basic of these demands. Because these are continuous needs, the implication here is that we’re going to have to continually satisfy them- and these needs are satisfied by work.

(This calls to mind Genesis 3:17, “and unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”)

The problem with the burden of existence is that it is something that must be accepted voluntarily. If you decided you disagree, you die. If you choose not to eat, you starve. To live is to be perpetually subject to the demands that life has of you, and life (reality) is not debatable. Well, we can debate it, but our debate does not change reality. The solipsists and (pure) subjectivists can argue all they want, but just as the law of attraction doesn’t put food in your mouth, the best argument in the world doesn’t heal a gunshot wound.

This presents an interesting angle, though, because it’d be easy to go from here and say that action is superior to thought. In the cases I presented, it would seem to be the case, but that’s just an example of some weak thinking. (This is also my argument against “might makes right.”)

Because of the fact that action, in humans, requires volition, there can be nothing accomplished without a preceding mental process. This is where it gets tricky, though, because there are plenty of mental processes that are inferior to a well-reasoned, consistent thought based on principles. The most pernicious example of this is found in emotions. I’d argue that emotions likely evolved before true volition- there’s some evidence that animals experience emotions. Emotions seem to have the value of incorporating more general systems of pattern recognition that can operate faster than the cleaner, more precise act of rational thought.

If you’re selling something you’ve created (say, art), and the potential buyer offers you a price well below what you think it’s worth, you’re probably going to get offended before you can rationally consider the buyer’s motive. This is a great example because it has a number of possible explanations, but your emotional response is going to tell you two things. First, you’re going to take it as an insult, whether against your intelligence as a salesman or against your skill as an artist. Second, you’re going to react angrily, because your emotional circuits are designed to provoke action- if you were a primate in a social setting, an act of offense would be likely construed as some sort of dominance challenge, which could be a threat on your life or wellbeing.

The problem here is that there could be a number of possible explanations. First, your art could simply suck. Because you’re emotionally invested in your petty ego attachment to the concept of being an artist, you’re going to be blind to the actual quality of your work. Second, the buyer could simply have bad taste, but you’re not going to be able to judge that because of your assumption that you’re already awesome. Third, the buyer could be doing some “door-in-the-face” haggling, and because you’ve acted emotionally, you’ve fallen right into his trap. Fourth, you both simply have different concepts of what the art in question is worth. There are probably more, but you get the idea.

With this example, we can understand that emotion is an inferior means of ascertaining the reality of a situation. This is where “might makes right” runs into problems. Simply being the stronger party in a situation is valid, but only in the pre-mind world. Morality, as we utilize it, is a construction of the mind (though it still must be rooted in reality), and thus, only applies to those who have minds. We’ll get into morality in a later article, though

It's un-bear-able...

Imagine you encounter a grizzly bear in the woods- there is no argument that exists that can stop that bear from ripping your throat out of your neck and chowing down on you like a nice, warm protein snack. This presents an interesting problem. We’ve established that existence exists, but existence comes with obligations. The most central of those is that you must do what you have to to continue to survive. What does that mean for our friend the bear? You better rip his throat out first.

Somehow, despite the bear’s obvious physical superiority, bears are not the dominant species on this fine planet. (Well, maybe in Russia, but I don’t know how anything works over there.) What does this indicate? It seems that might is not entirely dependent on the physical. This is strongly evidenced by the human’s complete lack of physical defenses- we have no useful fur, scales, claws, fangs, poison, we can’t fly, and we damn sure can’t breathe fire. (I argue that the dragon represents the opposite of humanity’s physical powerlessness, but that’s an argument for another day.)

Despite these disadvantages, we’re the dominant species. What does that tell you? The mind is the deadliest weapon ever produced by evolution. What doesn’t this tell you? The mind itself is nothing, it’s the capacity of the mind to direct action that truly matters.

Because of this ancient divide between the subjective and objective, we have developed what is called the mind-body dichotomy. This means that we have ended up separating the mental and physical experiences. What this looks like, in the simplest terms, is that we end up with dumb jocks and weak nerds. The dichotomy is the reason for this stereotype. In a more nuanced analysis, we can say that, because of the degree to which this dichotomy is so deeply ingrained in our culture, we impose the expectations of the dichotomy on children. We praise the intellect of some kids and push them in the direction of doing only things that require the mind, and we praise the physical prowess of others, and they go on to do sports and not study.

The concept of sports scholarships for universities is a great example of this, as well as the fact that universities don’t have steep requirements for physical fitness for their academics. That sounds a bit odd, I know, but it’s only because of how divorced the two ideas are.

This becomes problematic because we end up with academics who are out of touch with the body who produce philosophies that deny objective reality. Of course they’re going to do this, because their state of being is one of imbalance. The contrary position here is that we idolize professional athletes that had to get passed through college because they’re mentally dull.

This is fundamentally a deadly game. Because we don’t see the mind and the body as inseparable, we end up prioritizing whichever one we’re more inclined towards as children. It’s no surprise that as our physical states have declined, mental illnesses have been on the rise. Of course, it’s practically heretical to presume that there’s a physical component to mental illness these days, but that’s to be expected when you’re internally divided.

Let’s bring this article home. When we accept that existence exists, we accept that there are things that existence requires of us if we choose to continue to exist. These are external criteria that require our actions to achieve them. If we’re going to act, we’re going to have to think, and if we’re going to think, we’re going to have to overcome our attachments to those things that would prevent us from seeing clearly. This presents the need for self-reflection, and a deep understanding of our subjective experience. Through this understanding, we can bring our subjective experience into alignment with the objective reality, and in doing so, overcome the mind-body dichotomy, allowing us to continue to live and exist in accordance with reality.

“Align my heart, my body, my mind”

Dust Bowl Dance – Mumford & Sons
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