True hope – the experience of sustaining potential
Be liberated from the misery of delusive hope
and enjoy the bounty of true hope .
The Mystery of Paradox
Existence involves paradox – it is one of our greatest mysteries. It is the secret to and of life.
Paradox. As with energy, we are all vitally intimate with paradox and yet no one knows what it is. We experience it with every breath, with night and day, with sound and silence. Inhalation – exhalation. Light – dark. Movement – stillness. Each is of the other and yet each is each quintessentially different to the other.
Paradox form our ultimate experience of change – indeed our survival as an individual and a species depends on our ability to transcend paradox. At the same time paradox is beyond the realm of thought and an anathema to the ego.
If physics is paradox, then psychology is the art of transcending paradox.
Perhaps most wondrous paradox of all is this: the only constant of the universe is change. All is continuous transformation with all forms being informed even as each form informs all.
Wondrous Paradox of Information
We human beings, like all sentient beings, are an exquisite, fleeting dance of self-knowledge in and of the universal flux of information. We live a paradox of stillness and movement. We, like all forms, are a momentary installation of a unique set of information. This crystallized information is sustained, remains still, even as information of the universe continuously flows through us. This installation is manifest in our genes, our belief systems, our language and our behaviour.
Painful Paradox of Sentience
The end is the beginning of all things, Suppressed and hidden, Awaiting to be released through the rhythm Of pain and pleasure.
Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. Paul Tillich
Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point.
We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. Alan Watts
A paradox of sentience is that even as we are alive in awareness we can never know the bounds of sentience. Indeed self-awareness can desensitize us to the sentience of other living forms, even to that of our own body.
It is probable any form of life experiences a sense of fundamental disconnection, even alienation from all, and enters a state of uncertainty in its first moment of self-awareness. In this state we experience schisms with the greater universe and within our being. We are cleaved, split asunder in the arising of self-knowledge. The more we crave connection, the more it eludes us in this paradox.
This sense of alienation forms a great source of suffering that paradoxically is best transcended by compassion – the embracing of all suffering.
It is not well known that the “science” symbol arises from the PIE root “skei” (to cut, to split) – a recognition of our fragmented state of being with knowledge. Unfortunately this humbling reflection is lost to our generation, a casualty of the self-deceits and trickery of the ego. To understand how such a loss of compassion imperils us we will first explore some of the paradox of communication.
Paradox of Communication
Each sentient being simultaneously informs and is informed by systems of symbols
A symbol is a quantum of crystalized information containing shared meaning. It may take the form of a colour, a sound, a smell, a gesture or other vibration detectable to other organisms it is interdependent with. At the most basic level, it is their ability to use symbols to communicate that enables living forms to survive and procreate.
This is true of all sizes and assemblies of living forms, whether it be a single Prokaryotic cell, the flowers or roots of plants, members of the human family or a pod of whales.
A fundamental paradox of information arises: all forms are of the universal information; no form is universal information. This is especially true of sentient beings because the divisive nature of self-awareness. Thus all symbols are only approximate reflections of the universal reality, experiments at communication. Those with truthful reflections tend to sustain us while those with untruthful reflections tend to imperil us.
One profound reason that the sustainability of a symbol varies is because many creatures and plants are capable of all manner of deception. We are no exception.
Our human psyche can be characterized as consisting of vast consciousness involving at least 10 trillion cells forming countless permutations of communication. In any moment a minuscule trace of this consciousness may form a few, fleeting self-aware thoughts.
Such action is characterized by the simultaneously arising of not two but three states of being in an unimaginable way – the third being the threshold of the vast and trace realms. This threshold, known as the ego, forms an active interface of these realms and intermediates the flow of information of our psyche.
Perilous Paradox of the Ego
We experience the human ego as our notion and sense of “I”. It arises in the moment of self-awareness. It is divisive of nature because it is born of fragmentation and disconnection from all. It continually acts to disrupt our sensations of cosmic connection.
It lives in denial of our finite nature, abhorring reminders of our mortality.
The ego is myriad paradox: powerful and petrified; incredible and plausible; deceitful and consistent; all-knowing and unlearning; ingenious and uncreative…
The more the ego has us think about paradox; the less we live paradox. We become trapped in difference, excluded from commonality.
In the ultimate the ego (the “I” ) sees and reflects only itself. We become increasingly delusional and out of touch with reality with every attempt of the ego to annihilate paradox. This is because paradox is the essence of existence, the fundamental basis of physics.
The ego is vital, powerful, amoral and best embraced with compassion.
It can make us oblivious to the contradictions of our thoughts and deeds. It can completely invert the meaning of our best planned messages.
It can subvert our finest intentions so we become our worst enemy. It is the source of our psychotic and psychopathic elements.
Without compassion, the ego easily becomes a generator of addiction, waste, misery, war and self-destruction. Delusional hopes prevail.
Transcending the trickery of the ego.
The question arises: how can we discern true hope from delusional hope when the ego can so easily confound us in such profound and lethal ways?
What can we know of the universal reality with any certainty? Human beings have asked this question of physics since time immemorial.
One persistent principle has emerged that has never been
disproved despite the most intense, ingenious and enduring scrutiny by people of every culture.
Our culture symbolizes it as The Conservation Principle of Energy. It is as near as we have to a law of physics. Its enduring message is that energy continuously transforms all and is so bounteous that we can usefully consider it a constant.
“Conservation” (the conservation law) means this … that there is a number, which you can calculate, at one moment—and as nature undergoes its multitude of changes, this number doesn’t change. That is, if you calculate again, this quantity, it’ll be the same as it was before. An example is the conservation of energy: there’s a quantity that you can calculate according to a certain rule, and it comes out the same answer after, no matter what happens, happens.”
Inherent in this great wisdom is the reminder that information is physical, a form of energy, a pervasive force of existence. Thus, for instance, any symbol impacts and is impacted upon according to the rules of thermodynamics, electromagnetism and other manifestations of energy, just as is an electron, a bacteria, a brick, a bullet or the brightest quasar in the universe. Each object is a unique, transient balance of forces. Action. Reaction. Each is of and perpetuates the other. As always, paradox prevails.
This important paradox arises from the above paradox of communication:
a symbol use simultaneously reflects and generates the state of the user.
This paradox can easily become a hopeless spiral of self destruction because both maladaptive behaviour and delusional language are an inevitable consequence of the ego’s denial of reality (the continuous, universal change).
This paradox can also be a portal to a wonderful existence. It can sustain us in unimaginable ways if we embrace and transcend it, as we can. A constant prevails in the human psyche, just as it does throughout the universe according to the Conservation Principle of Energy. The human psyche is actually very consistent, though the seeming chaos and confusion of the deceitful ego would have us believe otherwise.
This notion of consistency is very inconvenient for the ego, as are its corollaries:
* We are our language. Our lifestyle is our prime message, whether we like it or not.
* We are symbols unto ourselves. Our use of symbols drives our choice of behaviour, regardless of what the ego would have us believe.
However our liberation from the constraints of thought and the ego resides in that constancy. We can choose to use symbols (including words) with care so they reflect the wisdom of the Conservation Principle of Energy i.e. the universal constancy of change and the physical nature of information. A general rule arises:
A Sustainability Principle of Energy
A symbol used in acceptance of change enhances the capacity of the user to mirror reality and enjoy harmony with existence.
This harmony is manifest in the individual and their society in many ways. People perceive more options and make more sustainable uses of the universal potential. We become empowered by language. We experience greater, enduring bounty.
Inherent in the acceptance of the universal transformation is acceptance of our roles as stewards amidst the flux. Stewardship becomes a privilege rather than a burden,
In the ultimate, philosophy (the loving of wisdom), physics (the nature of paradox) and psychology (the art of transcending paradox) become conflated in true hope and we understand science is a profound moral way of being, not just an amoral way of thinking. We experience civilization in its truest sense.
A corollary of this sustainability principle of energy is that our decision to use symbols in denial of change/stewardship will tend to generate delusional hopes, addictive behaviour and sensations of deprivation. Our behaviour will tend to generate misery, conflict, disharmony and self-destruction.
Our ego-driven English language, the Combustion Revolution and the modern corporate structure form profound testimony of this. The consequent waste and pollution of the Anglosphere now puts all humankind at peril. For example
This video is simultaneously a catalogue of how a language can transmute within a few generations into dangerous delusional hope and a potent reminder that a language also has the potential to sustain us in true hope for millennia.
When Tzu Lu asked Confucius about 500 BC what is the prime act ofstewardship it is said he replied, “The correction of language use [rectification of names]…”
Modern research such as DNA analysis, evolution theory, computer engineering and quantum physics all tend to affirm this is true.
We ignore the wisdom of Confucius at our peril.
State: Draft distillation of 10,000s of hours of research and reflection this century.
Objective: Promotion of science of communication of the nature of energy in general and climate care in particular.
Credits: While the insights are radical in our Anglosphere, sages through the ages have articulated them in the language of their culture.
Sharing: This is a non-profit endeavour and you are free to share content without restriction. Please retain all attributions provided to illustrations
Revised 25 Jan 2017