This book is a Get Out of Jail Free card and a passport back into the playground.

The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.

How to Be Free is available as a free ebook from Smashwords, iBooks in some countries, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

It is also available in paperback from Lulu or Amazon for $10 US, plus postage.

The ebook version currently has received 725 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Chimpanzees, Typewriters and the Inevitability of Paradise

We are an expression of an unpredictably creative deterministic system which some of us refer to as the universe" and others refer to as God".

A system has certain characteristics which are broadly predictable. It is for this reason that we are able to see laws behind natural phenomena and, to some extent, make accurate predictions based on those laws. But the direction of creation is towards greater levels of complexity. This takes place through a process known as emergence" and this is not predictable the first time that it happens. Something truly new is coming into existence and yet it is still a product of the functioning of an inevitable system. There is no such thing as randomness or chance in a connected universe.

To get an idea of how higher levels of complexity can arise from simple deterministic principles it is worth looking at the example of fractals. These are patterns generated by simple mathematical formulae. When mapped out with computer graphics they reveal wildly complex patterns in which the overall shape is re-iterated on each level :

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever spinning reel

The Windmills of Your Mind (Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman).

The relationship between our sun and its planets is close enough to a steady state for us to make predictions about where another planet will be in relation to ours at any particular time, but it isn't really a steady state. Scientists tell us that every year the earth moves 15 centimetres farther from the sun. This isn't much, but it shows that the stability of the system is relative not absolute.

Systems theory reveals that the emergence of a new level of complexity occurs through the process of a system becoming destabilised. Systems seek order, and if one kind of order breaks down, then a more complex form of order has to come into existence. This is not an imposed order but an order which arises from the expression of natural laws on a higher level of organisation. Where we see disorder, as we do in our social system, it is because that system is in the transition phase – it is in the inevitable state of breakdown which leads to breakthrough – to emergence into the next level of orderly system.

Another way to think of the relationship between the predictable and unpredictable aspects of creation is to imagine a classroom where a bunch of children are engaged in a creative writing exercise. There are rules about how they can behave. They are not allowed to fly paper planes across the room. They are not allowed to get out of their chairs. They are not allowed to chew gum. So we can make some predictions about how behaviour in the classroom will look based on those rules. But we can't predict that Tommy will write a story about a dragon that likes to eat its own bogies after roasting them in its fire. This story is an instance of emergence. It is an inevitable product of the universal system but we don't have the brain capacity necessary to process all of the information which led to its expression. We can tell that it is an expression of the intersection of the historical dragon myth with the eat your own bogies" meme popular with little boys, but we could not predict that Tommy would be the point in the system where this particular manifestation of this intersection should be expressed at this particular moment unless we had a complete dynamic map of the social system of which Tommy is a part. All we could do is to make a probabilistic prediction that between 5 and 10 school boys will write an essay about dragons eating their own bogies this year based on the number of school boys who have done so in each of the previous twenty years.

There is a tendency, where we can't understand something, to attribute it to an imaginary being. Primitive peoples who didn't know anything about the geological structure of the earth attributed volcanic eruptions to the anger of the volcano god. Today there are many scientists who carry on this trend by attributing anything they can't predict to a mythological entity called randomness". Randomness is the concept that something can happen which is not an inevitable manifestation of the system within which it takes place.

Our central symbol for randomness is the throwing of a dice. And it is from the study of dice throwing which we developed the theory of probability. We can't predict what number is going to come up when we throw a dice, but we can predict the likelihood of the spread of numbers which will come up over a large enough sample. While we can't predict the outcome of a single dice throw, that doesn't mean it is not deterministic in its nature and thus theoretically predictable. How the dice lands depends on such factors as its mass, its shape, how hard and in which direction we throw it and the nature of the surface on which it falls. We don't have the ability to measure and assess all of this information with enough accuracy to predict how the dice will fall, but it is theoretically possible.

Evolution is often presented as the result of random" mutations, rather than a deterministic interaction between members of species and their environment.

In physics, proponents of the theories of quantum mechanics claim that the behaviour of subatomic particles is evidence of randomness because it can't be predicted even though we can detect probable trends. Sounds a bit like our problem with dice. And this was Albert Einstein's attitude to quantum mechanics – God doesn't play with dice." Einstein, like myself, did not believe in a personal God, but in the pantheistic conception of God as a way of referring to the integrated nature of the creative universal system.

The belief that we live in a probabilistic rather than deterministic universe has led to much absurdity, such as the idea that an infinite number of alternate universes exist parallel to each other and that anything which we can imagine must have happened in at least one of them. This denies the relationships between things. How could there be a universe in which there are people who breath water but in which there is no water? I can imagine that well enough to write down the concept, but it can't exist in reality because it wouldn't work. If we want to understand the universe in which we live we have to understand its connectedness and thus its inevitability. It's no good me asking myself : What would it have been like if I'd been born in China?" because someone born in China could not be me. I could only have been born at the precise place and time at which I was born, because even the slightest variation, as chaos theory shows us, changes the whole system.

Another expression of the probabilistic world view is the idea that, if you could train an infinite number of chimpanzees to type and then waited an infinite amount of time, one of them would type the complete works of Shakespeare1. This would not happen. It is a complete misunderstanding of how things come into existence. Shakespeare's plays were an expression of the system which could only occur at the position of the system known as Shakespeare". No-one else could have written the plays and Shakespeare could not have written Finnegan's Wake or Twilight. They could only be written by James Joyce and Stephanie Meyer respectively. Each is an expression which requires the knowledge and influences unique to those individuals. Even assuming we could teach chimpanzees to type, they would not type keys probabilistically. An infinite number of chimpanzees might all just thump their fingers on the keyboard in a similar way, which would not produce the variety necessary to accidentally produce a novel or play. What would most likely happen is that they would quickly get bored and jam up the typewriter mechanism with their own faeces. The products of one level of complexity cannot be produced by an entity on a lower level of complexity. The same does not apply in reverse. Stephanie Meyer could quite easily jam up a typewriter with her own faeces should she so choose.

What about the concept of free will"? If we are part of a deterministic system, then does this mean that free will is an illusion? Yes. But we can better understand this when we recognise that it is also an oxymoron. And to understand why we need to look at the nature of freedom.

The best analogy for deterministic freedom is that of a water molecule travelling down a river to the sea. The molecule moves freely. There are no impediments to block its path. But that path is determined by the movement of the other molecules around it in response to the environment of the riverbank which determines the course of the flow. It's behaviour is determined but not determined in the way that a wind-up robot's behaviour is determined by its mechanism.

We human's are capable of acts of will, but these acts are the product of cultural influences which come from outside ourselves. We can't be other than an expression of the system. So what do we mean by will? The will is the active aspect of the ego. The ego is our sense of our self as a discreet entity. It is constructed of our beliefs. When we act on the basis of our beliefs, that is will. But we do not chose our beliefs, they are a crystallisation of prevalent ideas which come together within us in the only way they could. When our beliefs change it is because we have come in contact with other ideas outside of ourselves which have overridden the preceding ones. Of course, in each individual case it is too complex a process to fully break down and analyse and it is always in flux.

At the heart of any act of will is a lack of acceptance of something. There is something with which we do not feel satisfied and so our will drives us to seek to change it. This might be something as simple as washing the dishes or as complex as seeking a cure for cancer. But it is only an act of will if there is resistance. If I want to wash the dishes, then doing so is an act of free expression. But if I'm feeling lazy I have to will myself to do them. And if we are trying to change something in our environment will will only be required if that something is resistant to change, which is more often the case if we are working against the grain so to speak.

The central characteristic of will is the experience of a relative loss of freedom. The thought behind an act of will is the thought that we have to do something - that we have no alternative. The mountaineer must climb the mountain. The boxer must fight the fight. By contrast the state of freedom is like being a guest at a party where we could kiss the hostess, stand on our head or piss in the punchbowl, among many other possibilities. Such behaviour is not goal-orientated in the way that an act of will is, but whatever we do will be an inevitable expression of the universal system in the place we inhabit. So if someone pisses in the punchbowl, blame the perversity of the universe.

We may think that will is necessary in order that anything get done. No good just sitting around accepting everything. But acceptance is the basis for love and love desires to help and to understand. Love can be the basis for discovery and problem solving. In science love would inspire us to find understanding and work with nature to solve our problems, whereas will inspires us to try to solve problems by changing nature without fully understanding it first. It is the wilful approach to science and technology which has led scientists to misinterpret data in order to support their prejudices and has encouraged our technological development to be at the expense of our ecological life-support systems. The alternative, accepting what is and responding to it in the way which comes naturally to us, will lead to better results.

One way to picture our situation is that we are all cast adrift upon a stormy sea, each in a fragile little boat. The boat is our ego and we need it because the sea is so stormy. Were the sea calm we would swim in it happily. The sea on which we are cast adrift is the schizophrenic mind of God. What emerged in the jump from the other primates to humans was mind as we conceive it. Chimpanzees have the ability to reason on a very basic level, but human intelligence is to chimpanzee intelligence as the fractal is to the mathematical formula which leads to it. A period of disorder accompanies emergence. In the case of human intelligence the root of the disorder was a split in perception which led to the concepts of Good and Evil. This acted like a virus splitting our perception of the world and ourselves in such a way that everything became divided into warring factions. But this was a problem which would begin slowly and then increase exponentially up until the present.

In the beginning we experienced ourselves as an expression of the natural system. This was true as a species (expressed in such myths as that of Adam and Eve) and in our individual lives (as an infant we have to learn the difference between me" and not me"). We lived in God. But the idea that it is meaningful to split the world into Good and Evil caused a disharmony which alienated us from this sense of connectedness. We were cast out of the Garden of Eden". With the invention of language our mind became a collective mind in the sense that each of us is like a synapse and words and the concepts which are expressed through their varying combinations are the impulses travelling through those synapses. We have, as Carl Jung discovered, a collective unconscious. We soak up cultural material without even being aware of it and our subconscious associates this material in ways determined by the flow of different trends within the social system. Now, with television and the internet, the subconscious of each individual is more complex than it was in Jung's day, but the deepest trends are the most universal – the patterns which lie at the heart of the complexity – the formula that produced the fractal.

In science fiction we have the idea of alien species with a hive mind". We have such a mind and always have had, but it is a schizophrenic hive mind, it is perpetually at war with itself. And this is why we need our lifeboats – our egos – to stay afloat in the maelstrom. I once thought that, even in a state of psychological freedom we would still need our ego in order to self-manage, but this isn't true. We don't need to experience ourselves as separate entities in order to do what we need to do. Our body is made up of separate cells each doing what is required for the maintenance of the whole. But this is only possible if our hive mind" is not divided against itself and thus deranged. As long as that is the case we need our ego to keep afloat. Many of us have been thrown from our boats by the violence of the storms and come face to face with the reality of the divided mind of humanity in a way which caused us to be labelled insane" by those still safely in their boats and many have been lost at sea, i.e. committed suicide.

The development of the ego is symbolised in the story of Noah and the ark. When it became clear that living on dry land (remaining psychologically connected to the living system) was becoming impossible due to our internally divided state, and that we would thus become separated from that state by the sea of our growing conceptual consciousness, we developed the individual ego. In Noah's Ark were stored all of the complimentary pairings into which our dualistic conciousness had split things – male and female of every animal. In time the complimentary pairings produced by the dualistic split in our consciousness would become warring factions in many instances.

This analogy also appears in the Leonard Cohen song Suzanne :

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"

So our egos have been necessary, but the downside is that they separate us from the ability to perceive unfiltered reality. The ego is a structure of distorted beliefs about reality. It is a form of alienation from reality. If we are going to stay in our boat we have to twist our perception of reality in such a way that it doesn't challenge those distorted beliefs. This is why physicists will look at the behaviour of subatomic particles and see something that proves" the existence of randomness. Because to think down the honest pathway of the inevitable unfolding of all things is to follow a pathway of thought that leads inexorably to the dissolution of one's own ego. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. And, yet, the death of the ego is the way to heaven once we have an understanding, as we now do, which can cure the virus of dualism, reconcile the warring factions and bring peace and sanity to our hive mind" – the mind of God.

The dissolution of our egos into the mind of God is what was predicted by Jesus was the Kingdom of Heaven" and the coming of the Son of Man". The term Son of Man" acknowledges that the next level of emergence is generated by the one which comes before. So unified humanity is the offspring of divided humanity.

Now before this would occur Jesus prophesied that the shit would really hit the fan. The key concept here is given in the passage which begins at Matthew 24:15 : So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation' spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains... How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers..."

What is the abomination that causes desolation"? We can see that it is idealism. The original virus which contaminated humanity was the false perception that it is meaningful or beneficial to think of some things as Good and some things as Evil and to use our will to try to compel ourselves to pursue the former and avoid the latter. To be fully wedded to this false perception is to be an idealist.

So what is all this about the abomination" being put in the holy place"? Since we can see that an accurate understanding of reality is one which acknowledges the larger whole of which each person or thing is an expression we can see that how truthful something or someone is is dependant on how whole (i.e. undivided) they are and thus the degree to which they can acknowledge their connection to the whole. Our word for this is holy". We have begun to acknowledge this idea in a non-mystical way with our concepts of holistic medicine" and the holistic paradigm for science".

In 1988, an Australian biologist by the name of Jeremy Griffith published a book called Free : The End of the Human Condition – The Biological Reason Why Humans Have Had to Be Individual, Competitive, Egocentric & Aggressive. He said that the book, which he spent 13 years writing, grew out of my desperate need to reconcile my extreme idealism with reality". He presented it as an holistic understanding of the human condition. Central to his explanation is the concept that our conscience, that part of us which tells us what is good, is part of our genetic programming, and that our competitive, egocentric and aggressive behaviour has been an unavoidable rebellion against the oppressive criticism with which that programming responded to our experiments in the use of our newly found intelligence for self-management. He appears to believe that this knowledge" will itself bring about a reconciliation of all of the conflicts in the world. The problem is that his defence for humanity" is no defence because our conscience, for those of us who have one, is a part of our ego. In effect then Griffith's books are an unconscious attempt on his part to will his idealism onto the rest of us by presenting it as liberating holistic knowledge. And they are a brilliant attempt because they contain so many of the ideas which would be needed for a genuine liberating understanding but assembled the wrong way and presented with an emphasis on confronting us about our non-ideal" behaviour. Of course the number of people who've read Griffith's books, or even heard of him, is limited, but all ideas, especially about really important topics, leak out into general awareness. Many in Australia who never read any of his books would have seen him on daytime television at one stage defending his idea that sex is an attack on innocence". (from FreeMen invented sex, as in 'fucking' or destroying, as distinct from the act of procreation. What was being 'fucked' or destroyed was women's innocence.")

Griffith gives his own interpretation of the prophesy in his 2003 book A Species in Denial : ...when Christ was unmasking the lie of pseudo-idealism he used the deadly accurate description offered by the Old Testament prophet Daniel, 'the abomination that causes desolation'." So what does he mean by pseudo-idealism"? Later in the book he says : One of the problems to be overcome in introducing these denial-free understandings is that there have been so many 'false prophets' promoting artificial, pseudo forms of ideality that the whole business of bringing ideality to the world has been extremely discredited. These false forms of ideality, such as the New Age Movement, Environmentalism, Feminism, the Politically Correct Deconstructionist Movement, The Peace Movement, are such superficially satisfying forms of idealism to live through that when the real ideality arrives, namely the reconciling understanding of the human condition, people actually prefer the non-confronting, false forms of ideality... These false or pseudo forms of ideality are extremely seductive because they give people relief from the horror of their corrupted state by allowing them to feel good about themselves without having to confront their corrupted state. In a world where people are rapidly becoming more corrupted and in need of relief from their condition, pseudo-idealism has become a plague. In fact it has gained such a foothold that it now threatens to control the world and lead it to a totally non-confronting, truthless state of oblivion. Pseudo-idealism is the 'Antichrist' because it is at base anti-truth, opposed to the truth which Christ so wholly represented." Here we have a classic example of paranoia, a false prophet with an oppressive dishonest dogma seeing those who pursue other approaches to addressing the problems of the world as the ones who are deluded and dangerous – that is, he sees in them a projection of the truth he can't face about himself. A Prophet in Denial would have been a more appropriate title for the book.

Glossy insert used to promote A Species in Denial in Australian newspapers

So idealism dressed up as holism is what Jesus and Daniel where on about when they talked about the abomination that causes desolation" being in the holy place". And this was the peak point of the danger and destruction which grew out of that original concept of Good and Evil. But this is how systems work. Everything is inevitable and everything is necessary. Only by having the key problem crystallised into its most potent form could it be studied and the real cure found. But it has been a harsh ride for us all. I included the passage about pregnant women and nursing mothers, because one of Griffith's key beliefs is that babies are born with a genetically coded expectation of finding an ideal world and the protection of their innocence depends on being sheltered from contact with the non-ideal nature of the world. This concept puts a lot of pressure on mothers, but it shouldn't, because it is bullshit. The only idealists in the world are neurotic adults. What children most need is for we adults to stop worrying so much. So this prevalent concept, of which Griffith's expression is simply the most extreme, is itself harmful to the welfare of children. It is the generator of a negative feedback loop which causes depression for both mothers and eventually, when they reach adolescence, their children.

Just as these toxic ideas about Good and Evil have sowed division and conflict, so a clear understanding which heals the split will spread out through the mind of God and our ego boats will inevitably dissolve and free us into the bliss of Heaven on Earth. There is nothing to do but do what comes naturally. Acts of will are no longer useful.

The rise of the Kingdom of Heaven" is something which will happen both within us and around us as the divisions which have characterised our existence heal. When emergence takes place unexpected patterns are revealed. We wouldn't expect water vapour to form into beautiful snowflakes. In the same way we will witness seemingly miraculous coincidences, a phenomena which Jung labelled synchronicity and described as an acausal connecting principle". Another example of an acausal connecting principle is gravity. Ah," you may say, "but gravity causes apples to fall from trees." But it doesn't. Gravity doesn't cause anything to do anything, it only shapes the way in which it does it. The word cause" is defined as : A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition." Gravity doesn't give rise" to the fall of the apple, whatever dis-attaches it from the tree does. So synchronicity is like gravity, it doesn't make anything happen and it is invisible, but we will be able to know it by the way that it shapes the healing of humanity.

1For the sake of simplicity I will assume that William Shakespeare actually wrote the plays attributed to him, something which is disputed by some.

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