In my view, these three pictures depict the best we really know about who we really are, where we really come from… and what we should meditate on very deeply, to come to terms with the greater reality we are part of.
The pictures on the left and on the right come from very important new scientific research on dark matter; there are simple press articles which copied over the images and cited the original papers:
Galaxies, like our Milky Way, are just tiny nodes or nodes in this huge ecology, a huge pulsing energetic network, evolved over billions of years (10? More?). In my view, the “noosphere” of earth is just one of many billions of similar organisms, evolved over billions of years, and we humans are a kind of symbiotic life form, a symbiosis of the body we see and the “soul,” a part of this hard-to-see greater network.
Here are my recent posts to a discussion with Vedanta and yoga people:
Likewise, those who imagine that the ocean of higher consciousness is just a pure homogeneous salt solution are blocked by this strong false image from making any progress towards getting there. If all you care about re the ocean is that it is salty, and you discuss it at emotional arms length, purely as a game of words and hermeneutics, you won't get very deep at all, or begin to appreciate the complexity of life therein.
What IS that complexity like?
Beyond the earth -- and far surpassing the true knowledge of any of us on earth -- is this vast connected ecology, billions of years old at the least. It is real, here and now. It validates Loren Eiseley's poetic images in his introduction to Voyage to Arcturus.
If we underestimate the vast reality out there... well, there are small creatures in little ponds on earth who do not appreciate even the larger planet they are living on. Some are insects, doomed to a short life anyway, while others are tadpoles of a sort, who will learn sooner or later, if they are alert enough to survive.
critic: Comparing the ocean of the consciousness with some homogeneous salt solution is not correct.
Indeed. Yet when people write rapturous or ponderous tomes on cosmic consciousness (the greater ocean of consciousness) as pure bliss, it is like pure saltiness.
The analogy is good, because the misconceptions are similar in both cases, oversimplifying the immense complexity.
Critic: A salt solution is a divisible reduction entity and comprises of some parts -- water, Na, and Cl and some forces bind these parts. Cosmic consciousness at the fundamental level is an infinite indivisible holistic single reality.
Well, perhaps the lagrangian of the cosmos is so simple, but for exactly that reason it cannot be attained, or lost. It is simply there for everyone at all times regardless. But it is meaningful to try to understand it, with math not words at this point, and to understand how it drives the very complex web of emergent phenomena of which we are a very small part in the huge real objective ocean of life. That web is our life.
There can't be any objective way to get to that level of the infinite ocean of the consciousness since it is NOT emergent. It never came into being and never go out of being. Of course, when it manifests on the brain, the brain undergoes some dynamical changes, which erroneously could be interpreted as consciousness.
"Consciousness" is just a word, and overuse of the word as a kind of flag is itself an unconscious defense of ego which we need to keep under control.
There are configurations of brain, configurations of greater networks, configurations of computers we haven't seen yet on this planet, and the laws of the cosmos Itself. Those are real,
The word "computing mechanisms" is somewhat loaded.
But, in general, there is excellent reason to believe that the level of consciousness we see in the human brain can be functionally explained and replicated by mathematical models taking full advantage of neural network mathematics, electromagnetic field effects, and ordinary quantum molecular interactions. (See the open access paper by Werbos and Davis, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, open access, 2016.)
I recognize the validity of a lot of first-person empirical data on levels of consciousness beyond that brain level, but, after trying to understand them and work with them and analyze what others can really do with them (leaving aside folks like Sumerian priest kings and Roman emperors who claim they created the entire universe, and folks who smell like that), I see no reason to doubt that the same mathematics continues to work for all levels of actual consciousness in our cosmos -- unless you count the cosmos itself whose underlying principles seem ever more likely to be simpler still in foundation/axioms/Lagrangian.
No sane reason to doubt -- but on the neurotic side of course, human egos always want to be like those Roman emperors.
By the way, the picture in the middle is of Luda in front of the painting in our room on the Norwegian Jade, for our cruise June 22- July 4 from Hamburg to Arctic Ocean and back, with 8 days stopping in Norway. Before she stood there it reminded me of another map of our dark matter cluster of galaxies, and it was a fitting backdrop to our time in the Arctic Ocean. But her presence adds another dimension, so fine.
A critic asked "How could the noosphere be made up of dark matter and energy, if these do not interact with ordinary matter?"
Cutting to the chase, I am not aware of ANY way to explain psi experiences many of us believe to be an unavoidable fact of experience, without EITHER giving up on objective reality and physics altogether, OR accepting the noosphere species model which I discuss in that blog post, a model which requires local interaction here on earth between human brains and noosphere made of dark matter or energy.
If you give up on psi, and don't consider that as part of the "database" to be fit to, then I would agree with DM that it would be grossly speculative to ASSUME
any possibility of such local interaction on earth. It is equally speculative to assert that such interactions are impossible. We simply do not know yet.
It is entirely reasonable that many scientific journals will discuss only what can be deduced from experience/experiments available to everyone, and would thus reject my posts on this matter. HOWEVER, a fundamental basis for THIS list is the idea that first person experience ALSO is worthy of discussion, and that THIS discussion should not be so limited as those journals. There is more to life than what can be proven as yet in the laboratory.
FOR THOSE OF US who accept that psi or spiritual experience are real, and in need of greater explanation... we either accept that dark matter CAN interact locally, OR go to models which are far less operational; BOTH possibilities are discussed in my blog, and I do advocate having an open mind between them. But in practice, I find the "noosphere species model" together with neural network mathematics and such to be far more tractable and actionable. (My post also included my best effort to extract actionable possibilities from the Idealist alternative.)
INTUITIVELY, some folks might ask :"How could it be possible that a dark matter system regularly interacts with our brains here on earth, when none of the physics labs have been able to get ANY handle on it?"
To get our intuitions straight, I highly recommend reading a neat little story by H.G. Wells:
**IF** we humans did not have a very unique system right in our eyeballs, we would have little reason to believe that such a weird concept as "light" could be important to our lives. (The story depicts that ever so much better than I could!)
Probably we would have never developed the ability to DETECT light if we did not have eyes to start with. Objects like eyes are NOT inherently common in nature -- EXCEPT as the result of billions of years of natural selection, systematically developing a system which would otherwise be improbable. It is a key part of the noosphere species theory that we have ALSO had billions of years of dark matter and energy, interacting with matter enough to create stars, finding the "needle in a haystack" of systems designs for dark matter capable of such interaction.
On a simple surface level, the report further confirms that general relativity wins over Moffat's theory (which I once considered 50% probable), and that dark matter and dark energy are real. NASA mentions that aspect.
More interesting, it seems to affirm a growing underground view, which I had been unaware of, that dark matter and energy play a major role in the birth of starts, Without it, there are only 0.5% as many stars as one would expect in a normal galaxy. My wife says I need to do a web search now on "birth of galaxies."
Perhaps an overemphasis on big bangs blinded SOME people to that issue... but maybe now more empirical reality on this topic will leak in to the field.
But: If the body and brain of noospheres, including our "souls", are made up of dark matter and dark energy... (are we siblings to the stars in a way, with a common origin)... what happened in a galaxy where it all seems to have died?
My knee jerk reaction was "Maybe we better watch those computers more carefully.."
But as I reread the NASA piece, and raise the issue in my more samadhi period circa 3AM, a different interpretation rises. NASA makes it clear what the difference is between the data (not only of this but of related observations) and the theories.
This galaxy is just one member of a large class of "diffuse galaxies," which might well be the EARLY stages of formation of galaxies. The clusters we see may be more like seeds than like the fortresses I feared before. Our own galaxy has so much dark matter and energy that it is foolish to worry about more than the possible loss of this one tiny solar system. But this solar system is at risk for many reasons.