Noodling About the Feel of Reality

I’m a little late in writing my blog for this week because I drove up to Albuquerque to visit my sister-in-law for several days. It was my sister-in-law who, at a Matrix Energetics seminar in 2010 in Albuquerque, created the opportunity for a double of myself from a parallel universe to appear beside me. What I saw was a somewhat hazy human figure from the waist down pressing itself against my right hip. It wasn’t until I collapsed to the floor (a familiar effect of uncollapsing wave function) that she verified that what she had seen was another me who was smiling. Now, according to Hugh Everett III, the source of the Many Worlds Theory in 1957, no contact between parallel worlds should be possible. I guess my experience shot down that proviso (at least for my sister-in-law and me). The experience led to the cure of some prostate cancer I had been entertaining as a physical reality. You see, my double appeared in order to merge his form with mine and project his version of me into my holographic reality where he (as me) had never developed prostate cancer. That’s some razzle-dazzle, but it nonetheless had all the sensory experience of a “real” event. I have been cancer-free ever since. Go figure.

Some years ago, I came to the realization (despite my lurking skepticism) that everything we take as reality is just made up. Richard Bartlett taught me that, but it took a while for me to confront the actual truth of it. The implication of that perception is that, within a completely fictional reality, we are free to make up whatever version of it we choose–and we do, every day of our lives. What determines the kind of reality we experience is how it “feels”. Consider that our consciousness, through the creation of thoughts, ideas, and perceptions, sets up a particular kind of experience of reality that is uniquely ours. No two are completely alike, no matter how much agreement we can generate on the details of a consensus reality. Our consciousness collapses waves of infinite possibilities into very real-looking, specific things and events. That’s a default setting. Beyond that, any idea, thought, or perception that is based upon fear, anger, or guilt constructs a narrative that supports the initiating emotion. That’s called “projection”.

It’s as though we are sitting up in a projection booth at a movie theater and running a movie of our lives, which is projected onto a big screen for general viewing. Of course, we don’t realize that we are only projecting the movie and not actually living it, so we get very much involved with the plot and the characters we are shown and never have a clue that we are just watching a movie. Whatever is happening on the screen affects our feelings so that the narrative can be frightening, consoling, touching, exciting, uplifting, depressing, or joyous by turns. Most of us call that “life”.

But there is another way to look at life. This view is supported by both Advaita Vedanta and Quantum Mechanics so that if you have to have a certain context for what you are willing to believe, be it spiritual or scientific, you can be accommodated. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, an Advaita Vedanta authority, both in theory and practice, says:

“If you wait for an event to take place, for the coming of reality, you will wait forever, for reality neither comes nor goes. It is to be perceived, not expected. It is not to be prepared for and anticipated. But the very longing and search for reality is the movement, operation, action of reality. All you can do is grasp the central point, that reality is not an event and does not happen and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience and you have done all you can.”

Now that’s going to feel a lot different from watching the usual movies that have dominated your attention all your life. See, you wait for the movie to start and there is plot development, character development, foreshadowing, and all the rest that creates more expectation, more suspense, more anticipation of the next scene and the next and the next. But, to quote quantum physicist Michio Kaku, “Nothing physical happens” because, to quote quantum physicist John A. Wheeler, “There is no ‘out there’ out there” to begin with. You’re watching a movie!

Play around with it. Try on feelings for size. You can be amused at a horror film and horrified by a romance story. The reality is yours to feel. Above all, find out how being you feels. That’s really what all the stories are about.

Helping the Disgruntled

The majority of people are disgruntled in one way or another by “the world around them”. When it is suggested that there is no world around them, they become even more disgruntled. How can they become “engruntled” when every action they take to de-disgruntle themselves is futile? The answer, of course, is to stop being disgruntled in the first place, thus obviating the need for the de-disgruntling process. But they assume that being disgruntled is a sign that they have diagnosed a real problem. It is taken as a sign that they have transcended the world around them by becoming able to recognize its faults and limitations. It’s the faults and limitations that create the disgruntled state. Note how this equation creates a never-ending loop of disgruntling. The first error is to take the world around you as a given. Now you have cause for disgruntling to occur. Being disgruntled is being irritated and annoyed by something. The feeling of irritation and annoyance confirms the fact that there is something triggering the irritation and annoyance. The feeling feeds the cause, not the other way around. So, being told that there is no cause and therefore no reason to become irritated and annoyed only irritates and annoys the disgruntled even more. The hidden pay-off here is the quality of righteousness associated with being irritated and annoyed.

The irritated and annoyed, that is, the disgruntled, have standards. It’s the failure of the world around them to live up to these standards that is so irritating and annoying. To tell these sensitive souls that there is no world around them takes away the basis for their righteousness. They no longer have any way of confirming that they are right about the world around them and that its performance is dismal. Further, they no longer have a basis for evaluating themselves as arbiters of what is right. The whole me-and-the-world-around-me dynamic simply crumbles. There is no longer a me and an it, or a me and them because there is no longer a way to distinguish one from the other. With no world around me, there is just me, and who am I? What do I have to be irritated and annoyed about? What is there to make me disgruntled?

But then I no longer have anything to be right about and no standards to hold the world around me to. Is this chaos? Is this anarchy? Well, determining chaos uses standards and so does anarchy. You have to have something that precedes both in order to recognize them when they appear. Both imply disorder. So, you need to have order before you can get chaos and anarchy. But what precedes order? Apparently, chaos and anarchy. This little conundrum could prove to be irritating and annoying. Is it some sort of mobius strip?


Here’s a thought. When we become disgruntled with the world around us, we are simply pretending that everything is purely linear and sequential. We can’t see ourselves looping and twisting back on ourselves. We can’t see the world around us as the world within us closing a loop that we ourselves are shaping. We believe that there are scissors that cut the loop and straighten it into a linear path from us to the world around us. That is, if we can conceive of a twisted loop to begin with. We see things go out, and we see things come in. We can’t see the loop because we are inside of it. That’s not the same thing as having “the world around us”. It’s more a matter of having ourselves around us and mistaking ourselves for the world. After all, what can we confirm outside of ourselves when we are unconscious? Can we gather evidence? Can we apply deductive reasoning? Can we interrogate witnesses? Not while we are unconscious. We have to be consciously ourselves before we can verify that there is a world around us. Again, what comes first, order or chaos?

The Escape Clause

Since my last post, I have been reflecting on the best means of escaping this trashy novel I am in. I thought that I was onto something when I considered foreshadowing as providing clues as to how the novel ends. But, I have to consider that if the novel is poorly-written, there is probably no foreshadowing at all. Bang! It just stops. It seems that that’s what happened in Hotel Royale. Riker and his away-team act as foreign investors and buy the hotel–end of story. Obviously, that development came out of nowhere. So, I gather that an escape route need not be integral to the novel’s plot. I could come up with anything so long as it remains within the novel’s presumed limits of reality.

However, consider that Riker, Worf, and Data are not organic to the development (whatever that is) of Hotel Royale’s plot. They come from an outside or “alien” reality that was never written into the novel. Their escape is made possible by the fact that they can manipulate the novel’s reality from outside its parameters, from outside the assumptions and pre-conditions on which the novel is based. However, their intrusion into the plot has to be believable to the characters involved, and they are a cheesy bunch. Three aliens from the future who dress funny and seem to have some extraordinary abilities are not within the novel’s characters’ range of comprehension.

Okay. So I’m effectively an alien in relation to the novel’s reality because I can see its limits and the way it functions and am not buying any of it. What flaw in the story can I exploit or change that will still be believable to the characters involved? Will I accidentally be violating the Prime Directive by trying to fix, change, or improve the existing reality? The Prime Directive would not apply to virtual characters in a hologram created by a prior race of aliens, so I think I’m safe in that regard.

Let’s try some equivalencies. The prior race of aliens could correspond to all those humans who, presumably, created the reality in which I find myself. But for whom they created this reality is a mystery because I can find no corresponding Col. Richey who has been abducted and imprisoned. I have to set that factor aside. I arrive at the already prepared Hotel Royale. I know that its reality is not only false, but a very badly-imagined one. This puts me in the away-team with Riker, Worf, and Data. However, I don’t have the luxury of being able to read ahead to the end of the novel to see its conclusion. I am both in the novel and outside of it at the same time. This would seem to be an impossible situation, an unsolvable paradox. I am, in quantum physics’ terms, in superposition. It’s comparable to the situation of Schroedinger’s cat. It is both dead and alive at the same time. Any conscious observation of my situation will propel me either completely into the reality of the novel, or outside of it. Since both possibilities exist in superposition, I have to find a way to tip the balance of possibilities toward the outside condition despite the fact that both outcomes are equally possible. In other words, I have to change a possibility into a probability.


Now we’re into Quantum Bayesianism. According to Bruno de Finetti, a founding Bayesian theorist, we need to think of probabilities as gambling attitudes, and this would be entirely consistent with the nature of the Hotel Royale. Since my gambling probabilities are unique to me alone (yours are uniquely yours), all we can do is make our gambling attitudes internally consistent. What de Finetti proposes is not that my probabilities are mostly in my head and some are still anchored to the world (the Hotel Royale), but that there was never a Hotel Royale (fictional or otherwise) to begin with and therefore no probabilities to be considered in relation to it.

Eureka! What de Finetti is saying is that my predicament is wholly imaginary. It is unique to me and not to anybody else as is my experience of a fictional or virtual world from which I believe I cannot escape. In essence, I have made up the entire scenario including the standards by which I judge a story to be good or bad.

Is the away-team more real than the Hotel Royale and all its characters? Despite the away-team’s ability to interfere with the Hotel Royale’s bogus reality, it is no more real than what the novel portrays. It’s all just a matter of individual perspective. We ourselves decide whether or not we are in a novel or outside of it or neither or both.

I’ll bet I sleep really well tonight.

Where No Cliche Has Gone Before

On September 6, the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek began. Included are all of the sequels and spin-offs based upon the original series, which began in 1966. I was never a hard-core Trekki, but I enjoyed the imaginative scope of the series and the sometimes thought-provoking subjects that it explored. It   was a strong subliminal influence in my life and I’m sure it pre-disposed me to study quantum mechanics in relation to the reality I was beginning to doubt. It dramatized a credible alternative to the earth-bound existence I had become used to.

All of the versions of Star Trek, both old and relatively new, are still in syndication. Recently, I watched an episode from Star Trek: the Next Generation that gave me new food for thought. I believe the episode was called Royale, and told a story about an American astronaut named Col. Steven Richey. Richey had been taken by aliens 287 tears prior to the appearance of the Enterprise. The aliens, perhaps regretting their kidnapping of Richey, had created a reality for him that they believed would be most like his natural environment. Unfortunately, the aliens based their perception of this environment on a novel entitled Hotel Royale, which they found in Richey’s space craft. It was a terrible novel, badly- written, and full of cliches and shallow characters.

When Worf, Riker, and Data appear, investigating signs that human DNA exists on an unknown planet, Richey had already been dead for 287 years and his DNA and desiccated body are all that is left. However, Richey’s remains are found in a hotel room in the Hotel Royale, which the three crew members of the Enterprise have entered, looking for the source of the mysterious DNA.

The Hotel Royale is a lively place, full of guests who are engaged in gambling in the hotel’s first-floor casino. Worf, Riker, and Data interact with some of the guests who prove to be stereotypes of conventional characters one would expect to find in a casino.

In their subsequent exploration of the hotel, the three crew members find Richey’s remains along with a copy of the novel, Hotel Royale. Riker, paging through the book, immediately recognizes the utter banality of the narrative and, reading an entry in Richey’s diary, learns that Richey, to his dismay, had become aware of his circumstances and was unable to find his way out of the artificial environment created for him by the aliens. Richey bemoans his imprisonment and before his death notes that he had spent thirty-eight years longing for his demise just to escape the confines of a terribly-written novel.


Like Col. Richey, I have begun to suspect that I have been confined to the parameters of a badly-written novel, and so far have found no avenue of escape. Everywhere I look, every encounter I experience with others, leads me to believe that I am a character in an unconvincing narrative about my life. The events are too predictable and the other characters I meet or see presented to me by conventional media are too stereotypical to be believable. They look alike; they talk alike; the things they do are alike. Even the things they do to be different are alike. The background scenery seems to be painted onto a diorama that revolves, eventually returning one’s view to the diorama’s beginning so as to initiate the process all over again. It’s inevitably dull.

Worf, Riker, and Data escape the Hotel Royale by reading how the novel ends. In other words, they have to reach the end of the narrative. In that version, the hotel is bought by foreign investors and the story ends. So the three become the foreign investors themselves and conclude the story-line. I guess that’s what I have to do as well, but the last scene eludes me. I try to imagine all of the possible variations that could serve as a conclusion, but so far, nothing clicks.

Notice that the critical first step is to recognize that you are in fact in a novel. That gives you options that you didn’t have before. Then, you have to realize that novels end and bring the fictional ending into being by taking an active part in the novel, no matter how shallow and cliche-ridden it may be. I like both the irony and the paradox of that necessity. So, I infer that to escape I must further the action of the novel at the same time that I know that I am participating in a fictional story. It’s a kind of two-worlds thing. You know, I think I wrote about that very circumstance in my book, Disobliging Reality. I just need to create the appropriate ending. I need to discover the foreshadowing in the story that foretells what the ending will be. This could take some time.

Let’s begin at the beginning: “It was a dark and stormy night–”