The Key to Happiness.

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Photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on Pexels.com

This morning I was chatting with my kids as they waited for their school bus to arrive and somehow the conversation drifted upon the subject of happiness. As my son is only thirteen but highly intelligent he is naturally still excited about the life he will carve out, as well as all the fun things he’ll be able to buy when he gets older. Therefore today, as on many other occasions, he expressed his belief that possessing things such as a new car can bring about happiness.

Now any experienced parent reading this article will be familiar with the myth that parents are solely responsible for the way their children turn out. In fact so much the opposite is true. The myth is perpetuated by young adults that were raised in dysfunctional environments. For them it often seems so obvious that their parents are the root cause of all suffering. Yet the reality is that even children that are fortunate enough to be raised in an ideal environment develop their own personalities which are often quite different from their parents’ expectations. My son is quickly on his way to becoming a man so I must exercise extreme caution when suggesting ideas that conflict with his own emerging philosophies because maintaining healthy ambition is critical to a young man’s early successes. To quote from Scarface, “First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the girl.”

I’m not suggesting the character of Tony Montana is a role model. All I’m saying is that it’s important that young men desire to climb the ladder because the only other choices are to go nowhere or dig a hole. It would be great if everyone realized that money isn’t real but the world doesn’t work that way. For the moment we must keep up the pretense that little slips of printed paper are equal in value to our time, output and consumptive needs. Slightly later in life when my son is educated enough to earn a decent living and stand on his own two feet, I will no longer have to worry about my ideas shattering his illusions.

My daughter on the other hand is almost ten years old and still willing to listen to my ideas before passing judgement on them, which she then does unabashedly. Her quick wit and impeccable timing make her a joy to converse with and I can totally envision her becoming a stand-up comedian someday. What she wants to become changes too frequently for me to keep track of. I believe she currently wants to be an architect and a YouTube animation artist and producer. Before that it was an astronaut, scientist, author, inventor of the flying car and a Victoria’s Secret model among other things. When I was her age in the late 70’s I knew little to nothing about the world and wanted only to be Han Solo. That type of childhood went extinct with the birth of the internet.

The trade-off is that my kids are more than a little world wise, traveled, excellent in school, easily adaptable to unfamiliar people and environments as well as just being very interesting to talk to. Their communication skills make it easy for my parents to relate to them as well and I can’t express how much of a relief that is to me. My grandparents in contrast did make an effort but there were vast limitations to holding a conversation with them. One of the main differences was that they explained nothing about the world and when I asked questions I was scoffed at for not knowing the answers, presumably by some kind of osmosis while I was still in the womb. In retrospect I realize that despite their age and wisdom they existed in a little bubble and knew very little about the world themselves despite having seen a great deal of it. The Midwest has always been about 40 years behind the West Coast in modernity and it has taken 25 years of internet exposure to bandage the disparity.

So after very gently disagreeing with my son about the source of happiness my daughter piped in with her wide smile and good timing to ask, “So what can we do to be happy?” Not being a morning person I adlibbed something sketchy about healthy routines and time spent with family but the truth is that I did not have a prepared answer to give, even though the answer is simple. In order to achieve happiness there must always be an element of surprise in our lives. The trick to extracting happiness from surprises, is to welcome the bad moments as equally as the good.

This is not easy to do I know but it is a state of consciousness on par with attaining the state of Nirvana. Nirvana means to blow out, but it is more easily thought of as a state of consciousness in which one ceases to cling to reality as if we had some way to control it. We learn early on how to clench our bodies so as to graduate from diapers and it is in that frame of mind that we continue to brace ourselves for accidents every waking moment of the day. Think about how often we unconsciously curl our toes, clench our fists or teeth together. In this way we fool ourselves into believing that we can prevent ourselves from losing jobs or loved ones but no matter how much we prepare there’s always going to be bumps, bruises, shattered glass, spilt milk or sudden delays in flight plans.

There are routines we can adopt that help lower the anxiety that leads to clinging. These involve changes in diet and the adoption of exercises such as walking, biking, swimming, Yoga and Tai Chi. More importantly one should unplug from the internet as often as possible. Take mini-vacations from the news, politics or discussions about politics. Unplug Wi-Fi routers whenever possible, especially while you’re sleeping because they emit low level microwaves which are dangerous to your health and destructive to sleeping patterns. Learn about the dangers of stray voltage and take steps to avoid it and all electric devices in general. Read books, take up hobbies such as woodworking, gardening, fishing or even riding a motorcycle. Just don’t buy a boat or a motorcycle because you think it will make you happy. Both are great ways to have fun but if you try to turn a hobby into a lifestyle it’ll only take about 2 years to suck all the joy out of it.

Some more extreme measures to let go of clinging are to become a student of Taoism or Buddhism. Hinduism is fine if that is an inherent part of your culture but when Westerners adopt Hinduism it is important that they question their motives. Hinduism is a religion that developed over thousands of years to provide guidance for every single aspect of your life. If you are a young Westerner and have not yet learned about your persona or your ego, the adoption of Hinduism will equate to little more than playing a game to avoid self-discovery, shame or judgments about your lack of progress in life.

Too many younger people believe they can cheat the system by dropping out of conventional life to live like a wanderer. They’ll maybe live in a van for a few years or travel the world on a small budget and it might seem romantic for a while. Eventually however these hollow pursuits inflict the mental and physical scars of living as a gypsy. Their appearance becomes gaunt and their clothes shabby, a fashion they embrace to drive away prying eyes. Tattoos and piercings that started out as decorative badges of courage are elaborated upon to the point that people are no longer recognizable. In this state of mind a Westerner can lose grip on reality and end up looking like a Sadhu covered in ash and dreadlocks, except that they won’t be holy, they’ll merely be failed actors of a performance no one ever heard of or paid to see. Yet by that point the show must go on by any means possible including drugs, theft or prostitution. That is not the way to happiness. The freedom to do as you wish must be earned.

The Taoist way is much simpler, one need only follow the course of nature. To learn how, you can read the Tao Te Ching, (an easy read,) and learn how to practice Tai Chi, (possibly the easiest martial art to learn.) Taoism is an ancient philosophy that was intended to be a guide for rulers as well as a pastime of reflection for more elderly people. There are Taoist religious practices that you need not concern yourself with. If Tai Chi doesn’t appeal to you, you could substitute it with Hindu styles of Yoga. In that case it is fine for Westerners to immerse themselves in the history of Hindu gods and the Vedas as long as it’s for the purpose of education and facilitation of Yoga. Or if you’d like to get your feet wet in Buddhism you can start by studying its history as well. There are a few different branches of Buddhism so rather than trying to decide which one is right for you I suggest that you first become familiar with The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path. In this way you can best understand the concept of letting go.

If you prefer to do none of these because it all seems too strange to you, I suggest practicing ways to let go of control on your own. If that means purposely spilling a glass of milk every day until you can finally laugh about it then so be it. You should do whatever it takes to eliminate the anxiety of maintaining control because that is the only way to sustain happiness. So you bought a motorcycle to have some fun but you’re too busy with work to ride it and now it’s broke down. Big deal, learn how to fix it and let that be the new adventure. The hardest part will be to separate yourself from the anxiety of being stuck in a rut. Whether it’s a job or family responsibilities, doing the same routine day after day can be mind-numbing.

There’s never a solution to all the hardships of life but we can try to remind ourselves that nothing is permanent. The job you hate today might be teaching you something that you could still take pride in and use later on. The feelings of being trapped in a marriage will likely seem insignificant compared to the payoff of having grandchildren. There wouldn’t be a way to measure our triumphs if we didn’t experience failures or hardship. The key is to just keep plugging away and take life as it comes because that way you’ll know in your heart that you did your best and earned the right to make your own choices. Never yearn for surprises but be accepting when they come whether good or bad. In this way you can program your mind to exist in a state of happiness regardless of whether you’re a Buddha or a butcher.

Conan De Moe  2/19/2020

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Enlightenment and how not to get it

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Every few years, humanity produces a new batch of spiritual acolytes that are fresh off the boat and ready for bear. Due to some random circumstances they each have had a unique yet not dissimilar taste of expanded awareness and are eager to acquire more knowledge of the who, what, why’s and where’s of mystical phenomena. Flower children and the like will attribute it no doubt to an alignment of the stars or some other such nonsense. Don’t believe a word of it. However there does seem to be a correlation with spiritual awakenings and springtime, which I suspect has more to do with being cooped up all winter than anything else. After all, few things compare to the first taste of a warm spring breeze after six months of winter.

Cabin fever takes no prisoners, infecting even the most die-hard fans of wintertime activities. It’s like a load that you’re never able to set down, gaining in weight day by day until it takes on a dimension of its own whose gravitational pull endeavors to extinguish all joy. Shadows of madness seep in to fill the vacuum. Perhaps you are standing on a frozen lake, or perhaps you are the lake, whose dreams are so entangled in its frosty crown that it must daydream of what it’s like to be human in order to ward off an urge to cascade over a cliff and put an end to its misery. Then at last the ice cracks, springtime springs and the mind snaps back into place with an ecstasy akin to the thunderous refrains of an Ode to Joy.

So what are these spiritual awakenings or mystical phenomena that nudge people toward the path of seeking? To answer that let’s begin with what they are not. Awakenings are never what can be put into words. By that I mean that people often describe their experience as a realization that everything in the universe is connected. However this realization is a result of your intellect trying to make sense of the experience and is therefore a byproduct of the experience occurring after the fact. The experience itself is a sensation, not a realization. No intellectual processes are involved at all. Because the experience occurs in this state of no mind, it is impossible to improve your odds of attaining it. When and where a mystical experience manifests is random and unpredictable.

All of that seems counter-intuitive at first because our subjective reasoning is always flawed to some degree by the biochemistry of the brain. Try to remember that our minds are not hard drives but fleshy things swimming in fluid. Perception of reality is therefore skewed by such things as hormones and the readiness potential of pleasure receptors. And if we are to be honest with ourselves, a great many of us are mentally unstable at the best of times. If you are suddenly accidentally engaged in expanded awareness but are ignorant of such mystical phenomena, your imagination will scramble to fill in the blanks left by your intellect. This is unfortunate for people that are predisposed to being receptive of mythological based archetypes because they may waste years venturing down rabbit holes that only obfuscate the development of authenticity.

It is not merely the ignorant and gullible who are at risk of obfuscation. Even highly learned individuals who have devoted their lives to such matters can fall short of their aspirations. The reason for this is that they dared to dream in the first place. Such endeavors are inseparable from anxiety and therefore ultimately self-defeating in nature. Yet even those who should know better persist in their folly generation after generation. The reasons for this are complicated and intertwined with ancient history.

One must remember that ancient cultures did not thrive due to the emergence of iconic individuals alone. Kings, warriors and holy men were the embodiment of institutions maintained by their followers. In this way a person could project their ideals onto an idol of flesh or stone that represented a higher purpose within reach. However in the case of spirituality the institution and its methods are too often misinterpreted as being the method for attaining the mystical experiences of the institutions founders. This confusion is so prevalent that enlightened masters must waste a great deal of exhaustive time and effort explaining the difference to their followers. Being enlightened does not equate to having endless patience and energy, so it’s high time people started figuring things out on their own.

Why is there still confusion? Well, there’s always an abundance of con-artists around that love to prey on the weakness of others. The other problem is that religions and philosophical practices of the East and West are not only alien to each other but evolved by incorporating older religions steeped in superstition. The Western tradition of learning is for the teacher to provide answers to the students based on the current understanding of things. The Eastern tradition of learning is to present ways in which the students can come up with the answers on their own. Each way is acceptable when it comes to things such as mathematics but for the study of mystical awareness both ways are unavoidably biased and therefore flawed. One constant is the limitations of language to describe things as well as the mistranslation of other languages and regional dialects.

Other ways in which a spiritual guide may fail his students are that the teacher may have misunderstood things when he was a student. Or in the case of an older spiritual guide that has taught for many years, he may have grown frustrated with his students’ inability to grasp the concepts and so changed his teachings to some variation of: just try to be a good person. What’s important to remember is that whichever method or religious practice you choose to supplement your mental health and overall well-being, it should be practiced for those reasons alone. In my opinion one of the best examples of how to do this is by studying Taoist philosophy and Tai Chi. Yet unless you are retired or plan on becoming a Taoist master yourself, you should be cautious that the Taoist methods do not interfere with you career. Family and security must always come first.

The sensation of spiritual awakening is similar to a sexual orgasm. But unlike an orgasm the sensation of awakening, which centers around the pineal gland, may last minutes, months or years and is not physically draining but energizing. If you’ve ever had a chance to experience it even briefly you likely felt transcended for a while, although there are some that find it disturbing. A person that manages to maintain the sensation of spiritual awakening full-time is an enlightened being.

If it’s just a sensation then what makes such people so enlightened? The reason is that the sensation does not originate from the body. You cannot stroke a pineal gland to the point of climax. The sensation is integral to the workings of the nervous system, but it originates from external vibrations in the fine scale fabric of reality. We are not solid beings but anomalies of waves floating in a sea of waves that can be separated into the layers that form the cosmos. Therefore there is no such thing as empty space. Within the ocean of the quantum realm there are vibrations that result in compositions that operate like software to give structure to the reality we perceive. An enlightened being is perpetually tuned-in to the software of the universe, also known as cosmic consciousness. This does not give him a direct link to some external divine knowledge, but instead augments receptors in the brain such as microtubules which facilitate access to a level of consciousness we are not normally privy to. This means that enlightened beings are the exception because of abnormal brain activity. Such people have a higher likelihood of providing sound spiritual guidance because their intuition is enhanced. Their brains are perpetually rewarded with pleasant sensations as long as their thoughts and actions continue to resonate with the frequencies that maintain order within the quantum realm.

If mystical experiences are so similar in nature and relatively widespread, why are enlightened beings so rare? Well I’ve already explained that it’s an abnormality but without doubt many enlightened beings were never recognized throughout the ages. Such people would have faced wars, starvation, plagues, insane asylums, torture, burning at the stake, crucifixions and the like. There were undoubtedly some that preferred to keep it to themselves for various reasons. It takes a very special set of circumstances for an authentic enlightened being to become a teacher let alone an icon from which a new religion is born.

Among the most famous and influential enlightened beings was Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. What helped to set him apart was that he came from wealth and so would have been educated. Beyond that he most likely just got lucky, being in the right place at the right time. He would have experienced luxuries in his youth which were balanced out by his years of aestheticism, neither of which resulted in his enlightenment. When it finally did occur at random there would have been a period in which his elevated state of consciousness was undeniable to the people he interacted with. Only then would he have been compelled enough to take on the burden of bringing about positive change in the world. Knowing that there is no tried and true method for attaining enlightenment the Buddha instead instructed his disciples in the ways to live that best resonated with his enhanced intuition. And we see this same repeated pattern of attainment leading to subsequent instruction in enlightened masters throughout history.

Bodhidharma, who is credited as being the founder of the Zen branch of Mahayana Buddhism, is said to have experienced an early life that was very similar to Siddhartha Gautama. Too much of his biography is wrapped up in legend to know anything for sure. However, legend or not, Bodhidharma made a lasting impact on Buddhism. Tales of him staring at a cave wall for nine years certainly add fascination to the practice of zazen. This sitting form of meditation must have been a welcome respite to samurais weary from training. Yet now zazen is popular in an age where the average participant is not daily physically weary to the point of exhaustion. Therefore it would be wise for Zen masters to revisit history and realize that in times of plenty the more traditional way to have an authentic experience was by going on a pilgrimage. This involved walking and just basic all around motion. Which is why I think Tai Chi may be a more productive way of maintaining health and mental well-being.

So where can I find one of these enlightened beings now, and how will I be able to tell him apart from the others? The first thing you should do is listen to a master lecturing that you are unfamiliar with, and if you are not inspired I recommend that you move on. The inspiration you feel should be undeniable. But be careful, because the higher your desire to meet an authentic enlightened being is, the higher the chance you may see things in them that do not exist. When Steve Jobs was a young man he flew to India to meet Haidakhan Babaji and I can’t think of a better example of a delusional American projecting his fantasies onto an ignorant peasant just because a few ignorant villagers claimed he was a reincarnation that appeared magically in a cave. What a load of crap.

Then there are and were those special few people of immensely high character which were cultivated from an early age to be spiritual guides. They walk the walk and talk the talk but ultimately do not possess an equal ability to inspire followers the way an enlightened being can. Of course one must mention Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was heralded around the globe as the next biggest thing to come. That is until he came of age and gave up everything in favor of gallivanting about in sports cars. His persona was very much that of a kindly prince and he was applauded later in life for the choices he had made. Yet despite his obvious insights into consciousness and mystical experiences he lacked the ability to inspire.

From there one can turn their focus to the Dalai Lama himself. Unwavering in the face of adversity the Dalai Lama has endured with a smile. He has lived up to all expectations and more as a holy leader. But a holy leader is not automatically an enlightened being, and no matter how much I listen to his lectures I have never felt inspired by them. The people that surround him certainly look enamored with him but then so do most people when they meet anybody famous.

The only authentic enlightened being that I’m aware of at the moment is Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru. His enlightenment happened accidentally one day while he was supposed to be picking up materials for a building project but decided to take a break instead and sat down on a rock on a hill where the locals like to go. He is Hindu and although he is knowledgeable about his religion he never attempts to make his lectures about religion. He doesn’t promise anything and he isn’t for sale. Sadhguru volunteers his time to make the world a better place by promoting conservation and the planting of trees. He also has a large following of volunteers that are involved with improving health and well-being through healthy diet, guided meditation and yoga. To hear him lecture is to be inspired. When he is asked questions about nearly anything and everything he never hesitates and almost always provides unique insight. Indian culture is very old and alien to the West. Sadhguru is very aware of this and has traveled the world for many years at his own expense to promote peace, prosperity and healthy habits that are easily adaptable to all cultures.

I hope this article helps to clarify what enlightenment is.

Conan De Moe 2/7/2020

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Random Thoughts on Panpsychism

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If you are given to pondering the nature of consciousness you will already be familiar with the concept of Panpsychism. I have recently posted articles on non-local consciousness theories fundamental to the basic structure of the universe so I’ll try not to go too far in that direction. In short I believe there is an inexplicable source of vibration intrinsic to the dynamics of quantum mechanics, and that—such vibration, allows for the probability of structures, to appear to be, what humans conceive of as being tangible, as well as providing a template for assigning subjective meaning to what we can observe of reality. This vibration, or cosmic consciousness, or proto-consciousness, theoretically acts like the code of a software program to allow for the probability factors within wave functions, as well as providing the base code for the random occurrence of structured anomalies, (such as human beings,) which can mitigate the potential to collapse wave functions through varying methods of observation, independent of proximity and intent.

Veering a little off topic—whether or not consciousness creates reality remains a topic of debate. It involves imagining reality as a simulation or illusion which I find to be a misleading interpretation made popular by science fiction. I believe that reality and proto-consciousness arise mutually within the confines of space and time. How this process began doesn’t really interest me because I do not believe it will ever be possible to acquire the necessary data to know for sure.

As to the coinciding debate on free-will and determinism, although the possible manifestations of reality are finite due to the underlying finite code length of proto-consciousness, there remains an adequate source of possible outcomes among fields of wave functions to allow for a self-generated field of free-will actions. Proof that this is so can be theorized upon by confirming the existence of entropy in the known history of the universe. Any universe that is known to have allowed for chaos must still hold the potential for such circumstances to reoccur. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the same universe regardless of how it evolves.

One may argue that a man who boards a train is not the same man when he gets off. However this transformation is merely an aspect of his aging process. Too much can be read into this argument, yet from another perspective of life this argument bears closer examination. Particularly in relation to the Buddhist belief that when humans die they are reborn. This core belief of Buddhist philosophy may be one that was grossly misinterpreted over the centuries. Perhaps the Buddha was trying to explain the concept of a man getting on and off the train in a similar way to his disciples so that they could better understand the immediate consequences of karma. Considering Buddhism’s history of employing perplexing koans to force students to arrive upon truth by their own devices, it seems very possible that Buddha’s disciples might have confused the true teaching with some metaphor about dying and being reborn.

Getting back to Panpsychism, I wanted to address one of the main contentions, that being that it’s difficult for some people to swallow Panpsychism because they do not believe that consciousness exists outside the confines of the brain. There is scientific data which may help convince you that a form of consciousness at some degree is intrinsic to the underlying fabric of the universe, such as can be found in the theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction. But if you require more tangible proof, in what way could you acquire it? I don’t have anything definite to offer. But I can theorize on thought experiments that lie within the realm of possibility.

What came to my mind occurred while I was recently reading my daughter a bedside story. I was reading aloud from The Last Unicorn, the part where the unicorn was trapped by Mommy Fortuna. As I was reading, my thoughts began to drift without realizing it. It would be easy to dismiss this phenomenon as a simple process of doing two things at the same time, like walking and chewing bubblegum. Yet I’m not so sure. I read two full pages aloud while lost in thought and yet I read without making a mistake as well as reading with perfect inflection. Not only that, but I spoke the dialogue of each character in the story in a way that was appropriate to each individual character. For Mommy Fortuna I changed my voice to sound like an old witch, for Ruhk I made the voice of a carnival master, for Schmendrick I made the voice of an unsure magician, and of course for the unicorn I just softened my normal voice. I did all of this while lost in thought.

So how was it possible for me to do this? Well I think it has something to do with our ability to operate on more than one type of consciousness. I was expressing a byproduct of conscious awareness by reading written words aloud, yet simultaneously my thoughts were elsewhere. Perhaps I was daydreaming by tuning out external stimuli so that my subconscious could interact with higher consciousness. In this way I was able to visualize a scenario of other things I needed to do besides reading a book to my daughter. I think the process is too complex to write off as simply being able to do two things at the same time. After all it was an unconscious process, not one that I brought about by interacting with observable reality.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder about this phenomenon. There may even be studies on it that I’m not aware of. I haven’t researched it at all. I do find it interesting food for thought however and so I am sharing my ideas on it, to pass on the flame so to speak. That’s about all I have for now.

Conan De Moe 1/31/2020

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Plant a Tree this Spring

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It’s almost February and in Wisconsin that means it’s time to order trees for spring planting and to prune your existing trees in case of an early spring. Pruning isn’t easy now with the snow cover being as deep as it is. As almost all residents of Wisconsin own or have access to a pickup truck, it might be easiest to lower your tailgate to stand on rather than monkeying around with a ladder. I plan on doing this with my apple trees soon, one of which seems to get taller every year no matter how much I prune it down.

With the new Trillion Tree Campaign in place I thought I’d do my part by adding a few more trees to my green-space and orchard areas. These were previously farm fields but when my son was born in 2007 I started to wonder about how many children I would end up having and where they were going to play on the farm that wasn’t dangerously riddled with farm tools and machinery. So in 2008 I transformed about 5 acres or so into a yard/arboretum. It’s been painful to keep track of my arboretum’s progress because trees that do not have to fight for sunlight grow very, very, very…slowly. However the benefits of reverting farmland back to forested land are many.

I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy for planting trees 10 years ago because the prices of corn and soybeans were so high at the time. However the commodities market soon tanked again and my trees will live on long after I am gone, unless a tornado hits. My place was barely missed by a tornado last summer so I should be good for another 10 years or so. Perhaps the best part of my converting farmland to forest is not having cow manure spread right next to my house. Besides the smell there were always hordes of nasty flies to contend with.

The Trillion Tree Initiative is in place to battle carbon emissions but when planted on a small scale such as I am doing the most immediate benefits are to our water supply. Over the last thirty years the small farms I grew up near have merged into corporations with large herds of Holstein milk cows. Emptying out their manure pits has become a full-time endeavor and Wisconsin’s abundant, glacier-melt aquifers are now so heavily poisoned with nitrates that I was forced to install a very expensive reverse osmosis system for my household drinking water.

Wisconsin has also had at least a decade of above average rainfall so instead of having sun-hardened run-off areas like we had in the 80’s, we now have year round wetlands full of wildlife that drink and bathe in polluted pools and streams. When I was a kid in the 70’s and early 80’s there wasn’t hardly any wildlife at all. Now my farm has flocks of eagles, hawks, turkeys, owls, herons, geese, deer, pheasants, wolves, fox, coyotes, bears, possum, woodchucks, skunks, turtles and stray cats galore. This is such a radical change from the way things used to be that I can hardly believe it.

I think the availability of water has much to do with the current abundance of wildlife. Any attempt to purify surface water should be a win for wildlife and planting trees is one way to secure a cleaner local environment. Land that is shaded can not only hold moisture better but bring dried up springs on hillsides back to life. Springs are important to maintain because when properly managed they can prevent water from pooling into stagnant ponds. Many of the springs that existed in Wisconsin at the beginning of the 20th century are dry now but still avoided by farmers during planting season. You can identify these areas by locating hillside grass-swaths that are dedicated wash-ways to prevent erosion. Fresh water must be kept in a natural state of motion to best benefit humans, plants and animal life. If you are interested in learning more about living water you should definitely take time to study the life and works of Viktor Shauberger.

Deciding which trees to plant in Wisconsin has become very difficult. Just about every kind of common tree I am familiar with has some disease or insect attempting to wipe it out completely. If you live in one of the northern states or Canada you may be as frustrated as I am by the dwindling variety of disease free trees still available. I have made a short list for myself to plant this year which I will share here in this blog article. I learned the hard way that it’s best to only plant a couple of trees each year rather than ordering ten or more. Some varieties just won’t do well regardless of whatever a supplier may claim. Edible cherry trees especially will no longer survive here even though they used to grow as tall as oak trees years ago. I have had good luck with my black cherry trees though. I think nine out of the ten black cherry trees I planted ten years ago have survived. My Manchurian Apricot trees are still alive but the local deer population loves to eat the tops off so they are now the same size as when I planted them a decade ago.

As for the orchard area I set aside, it is doing pretty good. I tried to plant my fruit trees as far away from my house as possible in case I was no longer able to clear away dropped fruit. My pear trees all died even though they were supposed to be hardy up to zone 2. I still have five apple trees that are just starting to produce with mixed results although last year a late frost killed all the blossoms on 3 of the trees.

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(My wife and kids, taken spring of 2019 in front of my apple trees.)

This spring I’d like to add two apple trees to my orchard so I think I’m going to order the University of Minnesota’s creation, the Honeycrisp apple tree. I think it’s good to add trees at this stage because apple trees in general have issues that can result in losing trees unexpectedly. A little extra cross-pollination might help the existing trees as well.

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(Honeycrisp Apple Tree)

For an ornamental hardwood I have chosen the Swamp White Oak, because as far as I know it is relatively disease free and would do well near some of the wetter areas of my yard. Acorns attract deer and squirrels, and oak trees in general make great shade trees as well as being an attractive source of lumber for future generations. I wouldn’t want to grows trees with the sole purpose of harvesting them someday but trees die eventually or get knocked down by tornadoes so it’s good to have a few trees that you can take to your local sawmill for woodworking projects or even just to stack for firewood.

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(Swamp White Oak in Fall.)

There are other areas of my yard such as the borders that are prone to weeds. For those areas I am still considering my options. I do not want to plant anything that will get too tall, but I need bushes that will shade out weeds and provide flowers and or fruits to butterflies, birds, bees and possibly deer in the winter. Among the bushes I am considering is the Sea-Buckthorn which is supposed to do okay in colder climates.

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(A photograph of Sea-Buckthorn.)

So that’s my shortlist of trees for this spring. I may spread the planting out over the next few years but I’ll definitely plant one or two for sure and that’s my personal contribution this year to the Trillion Tree Campaign.

Happy planting,

Conan De Moe, 1/30/2020

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Thoughts on The Fear of Death, in relation to the Anima and Animus.

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One of the problems with being human is that we can never leave things well enough alone. We set our lives to autopilot with hardly a hiccup when out of the blue we get stuck in traffic so to speak without another car in sight. The open road is there for the taking yet we are blocked of our own devices. Too much thinking to do, too many possibilities to consider and all the while cursing under our breath or exclaiming to no one in particular—damn it all, this isn’t the way things were supposed to turn out. Well who the hell were we to plan around our ill-conceived ideas about the nature of existence in the first place? The truth is that we know very little and observe even less.

How then might anyone claim to know the proper way to die? Most certainly no one can. Yet that uncertainty bothers us, gnawing at our logical bits year after year so that we are almost forced to draw conclusions. Wanting to die the best way possible while remaining unsure on how to go about it—we flounder. We put off the problem for another day, and so the tension builds. Or we go in the opposite direction, facing the problem head on with intellectual prowess until our own unique philosophy begins to takes hold in the crevices of our mind.

Yet all that amounts to in the end is a pile of words of little circumstance. It cannot shield you from fear nor should it ever, because that must never be our ultimate goal. Reality is quite simply more than we can ever make of it. It flows ever on like a winding stream from which we are not separate but an integral part. Our standing still is the illusion and it is only when we cling to it that we risk infection of existential angst.

To better understand how humans deal with their own mortality one might consider the doctrine of mutual interdependence. That is to say that one may fear death, accept death or fall somewhere in-between, yet full acceptance can only result in a rebirth of fear and vice versa. One cannot exist without the other, therefore our sanity can only be maintained by acknowledging fear as a normal and unavoidable response regardless of age or insight. This is especially important to realize if you or someone you know has outlived most friends and family members. Fear being the companion of loneliness which together beget despair.

Although the theory that all phenomena arise from interdependent origination was popularized through the Buddhist teachings of Indra’s Net, there are real world examples of how this model works in nature. For example forestry science has proven that trees communicate with each other through vast underground mycorrhizal networks. This allows trees to share carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and water among other things, as well as allowing hub trees to rear seedlings by providing them things such as excess carbon and room to grow. Even the death of a tree can provide a stream of beneficial information to other neighboring trees. Perhaps trees cling to life with their own unique and mysterious trepidation which we may never fathom.

What we can imagine about our own demise, is a lot. Most of it being bad if not terrifying. With practice we learn to tune out the daily tragedies in the news and the occasional horrors brought to life by cinema. Yet the poison never fully leaves our consciousness. This can come back to bite us in the ass because we are always at risk of injury and our bodies and minds can deteriorate rapidly enough that the lingering poisons embedded in our memories take hold. Nightmares can be as real as the nose on your face if you are unfortunate enough to lapse into temporary psychosis or worse yet a permanent state of dementia. Do not be discouraged though because our bodies are remarkably resilient and the health care community is currently well trained to assist those in need.

Courage allows us to die with dignity yet it is a knee-jerk response. Do not think of it like the numbness one might acquire through abuse or adversity but rather as a subjective interpretation of events. Many people fail to realize that courage is not a constant so they grow ashamed of their fear of death. In turn this shame can cause them to push people away for they do not wish to be remembered in relation to an outcome over which they have no control. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and we adults are often just as needy when we are sick.

Most parts of the world have teams of medical professionals standing by to lessen the burden of illness and injury. Nobody wins if you choose to make their lives miserable. Try to remember that it’s okay to panic. Communicate as best you can with your caregivers to let them know what’s making you upset. Your patience will be tested and you will invariably be cross. If possible try to remember to thank your caregivers because it will vastly inflate their sympathy for you and can turn a living hell into a temporary setback.

As most people enjoy more time being healthy than sick, there is far more to consider than how to handle a worst case scenario. Balancing a healthy routine is no piece of cake either. Even if you immerse your persona with death like a Goth you’re still going to have days where you doubt your own bullshit. Humans inherit an ever evolving psyche so whatever method we exercise today to deal with the knowledge of our mortality may only serve us until the next stage of our mental growth, also known in Jungian Psychology as the Process of Individuation.

Jungian Psychology is controversial yet I believe there are parts which definitely warrant consideration such as the Anima and Animus. This archetypal related theory is complex in that it is so interwoven with consciousness and how we perceive reality, therefore I will only try to explain a small part of it in relation to our fear of death. In my opinion—which was formed by intense study, contemplation and direct experiences which fueled my personal obsession with this topic—the way in which a man wards off anxiety of death is partially influenced by his Anima, also known as the feminine half of his psyche. The first of the four stages in this process is easy to conceptualize because a man’s Anima, initially manifested in his mind as Eve, is indistinguishable from his mother. She provides safety from harm therefore a man’s fear of death is not yet realized.

The second stage of Anima development is known as Helen. What Helen lacks in maturity she makes up for in confidence born of vanity. When projected upon the world a man may identify his inner Helen with any woman in her sexual prime, typically between the ages of 18 and 25. During this stage any risk, including death, is subconsciously worth the potential reward of sexual intercourse. This benefits society by allowing a man to break free of his mother as well as helping to ensure the survival of our species.

On a gentler note there is an argument to be made that some comfort may be taken from knowing we are never truly alone. The unconscious counterpart of our conscious awareness may reveal itself to the world in peculiar ways if we suffer from degraded mental health or a more permanent affliction such as Schizophrenia. That implies extreme circumstances but so does the moment of our death. Therefore the syzygy between the self and its Anima/Animus is maintained in most individuals till the final hour so that we are incapable of dying alone. When the end is near, one need not hesitate to call out to a lost loved one or perhaps your version of God because if you desire it—you will receive an answer, by way of your consciousness, in one form or another, possibly audibly, visually or a combination of both. Provided of course that you don’t die so quickly that none of this stuff matters.

This is because in calling out to the Void, you are in part calling out to—as well as through—your Anima/Animus, which your mind can manipulate subconsciously to act as an avatar for those whom you wish to communicate with. Like standing on a mountain while yelling at your own reflection in a mirror, your inner voice will echo back to your various modes of consciousness, (initially a conversational exchange derived of your own narrative,) yet once the wheels are set in motion the production is taken over by phenomena of mystical origin. I use the example of seeing your reflection in a mirror because your reflection is of you, without actually being you, just as our Anima/Animus is of us without being us.

These new experiences are fed through our inner cloud of the collective unconscious for translation. (Again you should know that the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious is controversial.) Archetypal images and themes theoretically exist within our personal cloud of the collective unconscious, not like the digital contents of a file folder but in a way that resembles something similar to a cross between Rorschach Blots and constellations of stars in the night sky. These anomalies defy identification until cross-referenced with stored memories which are then analyzed by our intellect to produce an interpretation of a visual experience that’s as lifelike as possible.

I may be incorrect on some of the finer points but this is not some mere fantasy. In my opinion all the particles and cosmic-vibrational software that interact to make our consciousness possible are linked theoretically in some way on a quantum level to the Void, Heaven or whatever you want to call it. It has to be, because in fact there are no particles that make up the universe, there are only waves. Furthermore there is no such thing as space, for nothing is truly empty. If we could observe the working fabric of the quantum nature of reality it would look something like the inside of a lava lamp, due to the excitations within various layers such as quark and electron fields. We are literally an integral part of everything that exists in our universe.

The Void, being not empty but that which we can never fully be aware of, is a construct of a belief system but not one I arrived at. My personal opinion of where mystical experiences derive is slightly different than the more well-established concepts born of antiquity. To better understand my concept of higher consciousness you can read my blog article about Quantum River Theory. It’s a flimsy idea for the moment that I’m still playing around with halfheartedly. As for my ideas presented here, I have done the research, weighed the pros and cons as well as having drawn on my own experiences with expanded consciousness and a very recent scrape with death.

I do not present my beliefs lightly but I also wouldn’t jump off a cliff without having my fingers crossed. You should believe whatever you hold to be true and rest assured that I am not trying to convert anyone. That being said I believe that while we are alive we are so much more than that which merely turns to dust, even though that is often difficult to remember in a rough and tumble reality commanded by gravity. As expressed in the words of Hamlet—“Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, might stop a hole to keep the wind away. Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw.”

Well, returning back to the Anima, you the reader will hopefully now have some fresh perspective on how closely linked our personal identity is with the mystical complexities of dying. Yet our business with the Anima and Animus takes place for the most part unbeknownst to us. Along with identity comes sexual identity, which can perhaps shed light on the greatly misunderstood reasons of why men objectify women. Men project their Anima onto women they find attractive because through sexual intercourse men are simultaneously connecting with their Anima on a subconscious level. After all, man’s consciousness is half feminine yet she never gets to experience reality as a woman. The Anima knows herself to be beautiful because she is composed of the divine and so she will be projected onto nothing less than comparative beauty in physical reality. I use the word divine cautiously because of how polarizing it can be. Try to think of it as something unknowable but within the realm of imagination rather than associating it with preconceived notions of the soul.

Sex for a man therefore is not only an intimate act between himself and a woman, it is also a chance to metaphorically come cheek to cheek with his feminine side. The moment he enters a woman in the physical world, psychologically he is offering his Anima a key, for his Anima is the gatekeeper to higher consciousness. Becoming subconsciously aware of each other in that moment as one complete entity spiritually, a man and his Anima use the key to unlock the gate to cosmic consciousness and during that brief moment the man experiences a climax while also being wholly rejuvenated in purpose and soundness of mind. This gives men drive in life and is also the reason why men fall in love so easily and often at too young an age.

Women experience their Animus differently but I can perhaps delve into that in a separate blog post because of the complexity and widely obverse nature of it. In brief the Animus, or masculine psyche of a woman, does not identify itself wholly enough to be projected upon just one man or life partner, whichever sex that may be. Also the average woman is inherently a master of nurturing and creativity; she does not automatically search for meaning and purpose from within. A woman’s perception of reality therefore takes shape by observing all the men that come into her life, including the men she is related to, cherry picking the most admirable traits from each of them and adopting those traits to organize her own personal belief system.

Because of this, unless there occurs some early extenuating circumstances or trauma, a woman is subconsciously more independent than the average man. If cultivated properly by ideal conditions this ability allows her to more readily accept a new life partner when the need arises. This makes good sense evolutionarily speaking because historically men faced a high risk of injury and death. It benefited our species for women to move on quickly to another mate. Also women are often psychologically hardened much earlier to their own mortality because of the great risks involved with childbirth. So where a man requires the tenderness of a woman to prepare himself for death, a woman must instead learn to be callous. The downside of her fortitude is that a woman can become so hard that she rejects fresh ideas and opinions about reality. This rigidity can set for life, impeding personal growth, happiness and the well-being of family and friends.

Mystical experiences are good for snapping us out of such ingrained behavior. However if you knock on the door and God isn’t home there are more tantric ways to feel one with the divine. Unless of course you prefer a more sterile method of research. A sexual orgasm can be dehumanized by labeling it a mere reflex of the autonomic nervous system but it is a pity to do so, for it is misleading to examine an event absent of cause and effect. There is the dance of courtship to consider which involves a complex system of communication. Women are often stereotyped as needing to be handled but this assumption did not arise from sexism alone.

There is a warlike nature beneath the surface in both men and women, manifested as play when we are children and acted out as drama in adults. Any parents that have both a son and daughter will be familiar with the daily patterns of behavior. Son and daughter play nice together, everything is fine. Son takes a moment to process, daughter gets bored and begins to peck at her brother. Things get heated, words are exchanged and wrestling turns to tantrums and tears. Rinse and repeat. It’s not much different from watching kittens play. This behavior evolves into the courtship between young adult lovers but the playbook doesn’t change. When a woman gets bored things are bound to go badly and so the stereotype that she needs to be handled lives on.

Courtship however should be viewed as a necessary part of survival. We currently live in an era of abundance. If one chooses to live alone they can, but our species has historically relied on both sexes coexisting dependent upon one another. Now that automation is taking hold it may only be a few years before a great percentage of women in the job force will be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. We may enjoy a higher quality of life because of automation but our lifestyles will change. Three generations of out of work women with a taste for independence does not bode well for the immediate future of nuclear families. Women of the agrarian period cultivated a long history of solidarity that is absent in modern society. Yet their hunger for solidarity remains and so women act on this part-time by marching on the streets for this, that and the other thing. There will be anger, resentment and a burning need to point the finger at someone or something. Eventually the dust will settle and a new generation will emerge that no longer feels out of place.

Romance meanwhile will weather the storm as it ever did because it is not merely an exchange of goods and services between two people. It is also a much needed outlet for expressing the courtship which takes place within our minds. Without the balance of power between the two halves of our psyche, we would become less than animal. Robotic at best, wandering like zombies and afraid of our own shadows. This is no way to live and no way to prepare for death. And so mankind must continue to mate despite any misgivings one might have regarding all the peculiar and inconvenient exchanges of power and freedom. The future will be new and yet there will be a return to the old. There will always be a certain percentage of people opposed to the return of a more traditional dynamic between men and women in society. I don’t want to ruffle feathers by getting into any of that. We each must follow whatever path resonates best with us. However the future hierarchy of society will unfold independent of our personal morals and ideologies. Not everything is some grand conspiracy and I present my ideas of masculine and feminine aspects based on the science and philosophy of psychology.

Bearing that in mind it is known that the feminine psyche sprouts from whimsical roots. Like a ship on the sea of creativity and emotion, yet she cannot navigate without the compass of her rational masculine counterpart. The relationship is often combative because the natural tendency of the ship is to float with the current while the masculine psyche works ever to maintain course with sail and rudder. Yet like all dances of courtship the process is not without its amusing failures and elements of play. Power is given and taken in a delicate tug-of-war enjoyed by both sides.

On an individual level a person can estimate how well balanced their Anima or Animus is by examining their career choices, placement in the hierarchy of society, how they dress, recreate, choose a mate or even how they express themselves artistically among other things. Arts such as painting and sculpture can be quite revealing not only about the artist but also collectively as to the mindset of certain societies historically.

Early history of affluent civilizations tend to depict sculptures of a more masculine nature in that they are more utilitarian than pleasant to look at. Once a civilization has peaked and slipped into decadence the public arts tend to become ethereal. Paintings grow more abstract and sculptures of men and women look more godlike than human. In recent times our affluence has taken decadence to a new level in which art is no longer a reflection of ourselves but merely a statement of some existential nature.

This collective turning away from reality occurs because we are afforded more time and energy for introspection than mere survival. In some Freudian way modern society may wish to avoid looking inward for beauty, because a life shaped by consumerism subconsciously feels hollow and ugly. The line between gender norms can blur as imaginations are stretched beyond the feasible into the chaos of creativity. Creativity is an aspect of the feminine psyche, something like a vast tapestry of cosmic nebula which can only find order and purpose from the masculine aspect. As an example, a female artist that expresses herself on canvas with only wide brushstrokes and smears of color may be so extremely feminine that she is unable to function properly in society without a more masculine partner in her life. That is an extreme example, as most instances present in a much subtler way, such as the arts produced for mass consumption.

Loneliness has become epidemic worldwide and a great number of victims are young and starved for entertainment. Escape can come in the form of movies, books, comics, graphic novels and the like, which contain themes of humanity merging with technology. There is nothing wrong with these forms of entertainment that exercise our imaginations and help us to reduce our fear of the unknown. Yet along with some healthy entertainment there persists a romantic notion that in becoming cyborgs we will transcend the limitations of the flesh. Watch out for this line of thinking.

There is no prosthetic for the normal development of the psyche. It is an organic process that requires live feedback which cannot be sufficiently mimicked no matter how advanced we make synthetic companions in the future. If for example androids become independent and self-aware, their form of consciousness will merely be an extension of our own. It will not be a consciousness that works in symbiosis with the quantum software of the universe that humans run on. Therefore the more we attempt to merge with technology the less we will be in touch with the proper nature of humanity. The mode of human existence should always endeavor to flow naturally. Our bodies may fail us, and for this, the merger with technology can greatly benefit us. However we must not merge with technology to the point that we are no longer in sync with our earthly environment.

The nightmare that this scenario could evolve into may be unfathomable to people under the age of 50 or so because of their general potential for having a lack of diverse experiences. Yet not only could it hinder personal development but it would most likely end up being a trap for human consciousness of which there would be no escape. Waylaid and diverted from the opportunity to develop normally, ultimately the liberation of spiritual ecstasy would be denied. It is of course possible to die well without having attained a conscious state of Nirvana but it is psychological suicide to deny oneself the opportunity completely.

The self may no longer identify as wholly human in a digital illusion where one might choose to exist as part human, part cyborg and/or part animal or fantasy/sci-fi character. Humans have enough problems self-identifying already. There is currently a high diversity of gender personas in the world, a psychological phenomenon embraced by some and shunned by others, yet regardless, all are a result of affluence. If material wealth and technological advancements join to police our thoughts and desires we will doom ourselves and future generations to a slave-like existence.

Our current prosperity derives not only from monetary gain but from access to intellectual wealth as well. As decadence is known to be a downward spiral of society and not a boon, the ways in which humanity might successfully avoid setbacks from the inevitable societal crashes should have more to do with incorporating practices to maintain health and spiritual well-being than a draconian return to black and white gender norms. For this effort humanity would be wise to familiarize themselves with the history of the East. Religious beliefs aside there are valuable practices for physical and mental health that could be adopted by the West from Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Taoists among others that are not in conflict with Christian or Atheistic beliefs.

Furthermore we must explore new ways to patch the rifts between liberals and conservatives worldwide. That is unless we wish to be remembered as the founders of an age in which humans returned to squatting in clans. Everybody needs to just pipe down and get to work on personal happiness because the more one rails against the tide, the higher it will rise to wash everything away. It is one of the oldest stories in the book and the reason why we have borders. As long as our basic needs are being met the only things driving us apart are fear and jealousy. Left unchecked they can cloud reason and haunt our thoughts with the specter of death. From such collective irrationality fascism is born. To avoid this we must take steps to be strong in mind and body. And above all we must know joy.

With each passing day we come closer and closer to a new era in which our individual value to society will no longer be measured by what we can produce. Therefore in order for future generations to succeed humanity must reduce intolerance. Such an achievement cannot take place in an atmosphere of fear, ignorance and outrage. Humanity needs to evolve thicker skins, healthier habits and less lofty goals if we are to survive. If you are young and eager to fight for a cause, try picking up some tools and channeling that energy into tending a garden, planting a tree, mending a fence or anything else that keeps you out of your house, out of your head and out of your neighbor’s business.

It is no easy task to find a compatible mate in these trying times and those that find success must be ever vigilant to maintain a balance of power. The inevitable buildup of anxiety in a relationship must be released to avoid resentment and sexual intercourse is often the most viable solution. In such cases love making can take on a more violent nature where the line between pain and pleasure is blurred. Mature and experienced partners know better than to take things too far because society rewards restraint and also because attainment of sexual climax has a way of eliminating moods and rebooting the narrative. This process cannot be completely explained by chemicals and hormones in the brain thus we enter the realm of the unknown.

Personal beliefs aside there is no denying humanities long history of associating lovemaking with spiritual unity and we need to be psychologically whole to be in tune with the cosmos. Om is described as being akin to the basic underlying sound of the universe and people may associate the vibration of Om with the Godhead, Nirvana, Cosmic Consciousness and the like. It could be theorized that upon the moment of climax our conscious awareness is reduced for a brief instant to non-local brain activity before returning to tangible reality. Our slate is wiped clean so to speak and we may continue on with a fresh perspective of life. This experience is so similar to the experiences one can have while dying that the two are almost indistinguishable. Therefore it is easy to see how maintaining a healthy identity through sex and sexual identity is essential to preparing for death and the fear of death that coincides.

The sexual desire a man feels when his Anima exists as Helen is so addictive and malleable that it can be manipulated by society to be experienced through the violence of war and contact sports. Further yet, both men and women at this stage may begin to incorporate pain, dominance and submission into sexual activity due to earlier traumas in which they learned to sexualize pain to withstand it. Fear of death for men during this stage is an afterthought at best. I should however mention that there may exist a fear of being near death, such as being repulsed by the terminally ill or the corpse of a family member. This is a normal reaction which should subside with maturity yet it is not particularly relevant to this blog post.

The third stage of Anima development in men is known as Mary. Many men never develop beyond this stage which is perhaps the most misunderstood of the Anima. Mary is a combination of Eve and Helen. Mary maintains the beauty of youthful fertility but also possesses the ability to nurture. She is mother and lover rolled up into one. Whomever a man chooses as a life partner must resemble his inner Mary at the onset. Afterward even if a man remains loyal to his partner for life, on some level he will be disappointed if his partner does not reflect the way in which his Anima sees herself.

Mary is not rational so her desires will greatly influence a man, especially if he is unaware that he has a feminine aspect within his psyche. This is the reason why older men continue to prefer the company of women in their sexual prime. An Anima does not age in appearance alongside her host male, so Mary does not recognize herself in women over the age of 25 and this is confusing to her. Eventually Mary must come to terms with being projected onto a woman that’s older but as we often find in society that woman tends to be about 10 years or more younger than the male host.

There are other complications involved with an Anima/Animus, including its ability to possess a mind. If Mary grows strong enough to possess the mind of her male host, he in turn may become moody, irrational and sexually confused among other things. This can lead to self-destructive behavior and poor decision making. If the woman in the relationship/marriage is simultaneously struggling with her Animus a couple may end up flirting with disaster both with their budget and in the bedroom. Contrary to popular belief sexual preference does not operate on a spectrum but instead it is sexual desire which operates on a spectrum. A psyche that is out of balance can either be too repressed, anxious and avoidant on the one hand or too adventurous and promiscuous on the other. Both extremes are warning signs that some degree of mental breakdown is near.

Those types of behaviors coincide with a denial of the fear of death which is nothing more than burying one’s head in the sand. One should not be too quick to dismiss a man’s odd behavior as mere symptoms of a midlife crisis. It takes two to tango and during midlife strife there is a tendency for men to assume their reality is slipping away while women become too ridged in their thinking and callous in their actions. When combined these behaviors result in irrevocable differences. To avoid this the Anima/Animus can benefit by evolving to its fourth and final stage. Unfortunately the final stage must not only happen naturally but must be recognized for what it is.

While a man’s Anima is still secure in the manifestation of Mary he may enjoy a long period of mental stability. Life however has a way of eroding around us regardless of our mental health. Careers and children numb our experiences and hormone levels decrease to the point where ambition and desire no longer guide us. A man’s Anima serves to give him purpose by allowing him to connect with the divine yet his Anima also theoretically acts as a librarian to the vast array of archetypal images in the collective unconscious. With age and maturity a man may subconsciously feel he has thoroughly explored and identified most of the archetypes through his Anima and its projection onto his partners, so he may look to gain new experiences in other ways. Such outlets will vary from man to man and could be anything from binge watching sports, to reading a book or taking up a hobby like bird watching or fishing.

Fishing is possibly the easiest example to understand because rivers, lakes and oceans are very similar to the unconscious realm in that we never know for sure what lies beneath the surface. Catching an exotic fish matches the experience of associating an archetype with objects in reality. Further yet the experience of acquiring a boat and or fishing gear along with navigating a map and the elements is not unlike a hero’s journey. The experience can be rewarding and exhausting much like sexual intercourse. Men are even prone to admiring boats, giving them feminine names and talking to them such as one talks to a lover. Such hobbies can be healthy up to a point as long as they don’t sideline the psyche from further development which is often the case.

The last stage in Anima development is Sophia. Sophia is important because she allows a man to prepare for death without having to project Sophia onto a woman. In this way a man’s feminine and masculine psyche is balanced enough to withdraw from society, philosophize and prophesize on his role in the greater cosmic scheme until he can incorporate his findings into a better way to live for himself, his family and his community.

Unfortunately for all those lovely grandmothers around the globe, an older man’s image of his Anima as Sophia remains youthful and fertile. In fact the older he gets, provided that he has become one with Sophia and has succeeded in incorporating existential thought with healthy routine, his Anima should at that point continue to become younger in appearance. In this way an elderly man that has become feeble in mind and/or body can find comfort from a more childlike Anima because like him, his Anima is now less sure of herself, less coordinated and a bit less serious about life in general. Sofia as a child can be projected innocently onto a granddaughter to help enrich the bond between estranged generations.

If a man has successfully evolved his feminine aspect into Sophia while in his 40’s, 50’s or 60’s, such a man has the potential to become a valid spiritual guide, philosopher or in some unique cases what is referred to as a fully enlightened or even ascended being. This could happen later in life also but the amount of energy required to interact with large groups of people diminishes significantly with age. Regardless, getting to know Sophia is a rewarding experience. It is much easier to attain and sustain connections to higher consciousness. One can be sound in mind and body without clinging to reality or being bound by desires. In this state of awareness fear is sufficiently in balance with joy so that death can be experienced well. This is the best one can hope for while there is still brain activity, whether measurable or not.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the matter.

Conan De Moe 01/27/2020

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Out of Body Experiences

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It’s easy to misinterpret the nature of an out of body experience because our brains search through stored memory to assign meaning to the experience. Whichever experience from our memory resembles the sensory input of an out of body experience best, will then embody the moment through sounds and images we are familiar with. This is the mechanics of hallucinations as well as the source of our nightly dreams. Dreams happen naturally while we sleep. Hallucinations occur when we are awake but disconnected from reality. When anesthesia is used, measurable brain activity decreases to a level where it is more receptive to external frequencies. Norepinephrine levels drop inhibiting memory but during the process of being put under and waking up again norepinephrine flows and we are subject to experience hallucinations.

The nature of such experiences are likely narrated by a person’s state of mind prior to the event. For example the feminine psyche as understood in Jungian psychology is more open to embracing archetypal images of a fantastical nature. Therefore depending on how balanced or unbalanced your Anima/Animus is, your brain may associate being anesthetized with notions of spiritual visitation. On the other hand the stress and confusion of trauma may cause a patient to experience waking nightmares that can linger for weeks in a condition known as ICU Syndrome or ICU induced psychosis.

People in search of a less distressing break from reality may experiment with things such as LSD or DMT and come away thinking they have had a spiritual awakening. However the only way to experience an authentic spiritual awakening is when it happens both naturally and accidentally. Recreational pharmaceuticals can bring a person to the verge of realization but it is more of an enhanced experience of qualia than an authentic revelation. Just as a young Buddhist monk must endure the practices of his temple, no amount of solving Zen koans or years of meditation will induce an awakening. What it can produce is a brain that functions similar to a person high on LSD. This is because a monk with a lifetime of training can experience more conscious moments per second than an untrained mind. In this state of mind qualia is more defined and reality appears in slower motion, granting the monk swifter reflexes as well. When a true awakening occurs you will know it without a doubt because the sensation will last for months, years or even in rare instances for a lifetime. How to acquire such a long lasting awakening is beyond me. You might want to ask a Hindu scholar because they teach of the 114 chakras, 112 of which are said to exist within the body and so there are 112 ways to obtain spiritual awakening, of which only one is practiced by Buddhism. Why is it so damned hard to obtain? Because like the sound of one hand clapping it is a freak thing to experience as opposed to an actual accomplishment.

So what happens when we dream or hallucinate? The process may be doomed forever to be shrouded in woo and mystery; I can only speculate. Quantum mechanics theorizes that a wave function is a cloud of probability that collapses to a position upon observation. Not an observation in the way we normally think of it but merely the interaction of two physical systems. So if we think about the particles that we are composed of perhaps there is a slight shift in our quantum structure during sedation or suppression of the central nervous system. Could such a state alter our quantum composition just enough to be more receptive of non-local consciousness? It doesn’t seem too far of a stretch to imagine a switch from local to non-local consciousness.

What are we being exposed to when we switch to non-local? Well if cosmic consciousness exists it is somehow related to vibration. On a broad spectrum it might be the quantum software which brings order to all living things through frequencies that we resonate with. Such frequencies can be observed as intricate patterns when sand is vibrated atop a flat surface. Perfection of qualia is coveted by humans and in mating we always prize the most symmetrical faces. Subconsciously we know that an error in coding can cause the software to crash, so we try to weed out the bugs by aspiring to beauty. This helps instill a moral compass because we must take measures to preserve beauty in our communities and our environment. Thus it is said that beauty will save the world.

Out of body experiences are often brief and unpleasant. At best they motivate us to question reality, at worst those questions can lead us to the wrong answers. If you have recently had an experience and are feeling lost, I suggest avoiding the advice of anybody claiming to have answers. Fortunetellers and astrologers will gladly escort you to Woo Central, relieving you of all your hard earned coin along the way. There are absolutely no part-time working mothers that can heal you with crystals or see the future with tarot cards from the basement of their suburban homes. The best medicine is to be pragmatic and try to stick to a healthy diet. If you really need answers you might find them best by studying psychology, philosophy and quantum mechanics.

Conan De Moe 1/7/2020

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The QRT, or Quantum River Theory of Cosmic Consciousness

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If you’ve taken a moment to read my recent blog article: What is consciousness?, then you already know that I believe there is a higher state of consciousness which exists as a fundamental part of the universe. There is no way for me to prove cosmic consciousness exits. I happen to believe it exists for a wide variety of reasons. Firstly there are compelling theories that resonate with me. Secondly humanity has a history of experiencing phenomena of a subjective nature, which we have tried to recreate and glorify in mythology and art. So much so that some would argue the substrate of subjective imagery has integrated with our DNA, recognized internally from amongst our supposedly—newly evolved collective unconscious, to then be projected haphazardly upon reality. This idea which originates from Jungian psychology theoretically helps to accelerate the maturity of our brains by providing a template for integrating with society. Thirdly I have lived long enough to experience my own fair share of life-altering psychic phenomena. Those experiences forced me to reexamine my preconceived notions of reality. The other reasons for my beliefs are stacking up as I continue to research the nature of consciousness.

One of the reasons people might be prone to dismiss the existence of cosmic consciousness has to do with the lack of observable data. If a theory on consciousness can’t be scientifically measured it’s easier to just label it woo-woo and move on. Yet historically as scientists continued to dissect reality into smaller and smaller particles we discovered that there was no such thing as matter. Quantum mechanics took it a step further to suggest that the exact positioning of particles can only be estimated within the realm of its wave function which is subject to change when we attempt to observe it. Reality therefore only operates unadulterated when we hesitate to make predictions and or act upon them. In the East those types of actions are historically known as Karma.

Regardless of our rather limiting observational capabilities, certain configurations of differing particle wave functions, coincide with vibrations, which vary from the activity of other particle configurations, and so on and so forth until eventually you end up with a symphony rather than a solo. Knowing all of this about the structure of the cosmos, in my opinion it doesn’t take much of a leap to consider cosmic consciousness as being just as elusive as an atom. Yet unlike the particles that make up our universe, cosmic consciousness has something to do with the spaces in-between. It is a vibration to be sure but also a vibration that begets other vibrations of an altering nature, both in purpose and intensity.

At the beginning of the universe there would perhaps have been a vibration that coincided with the cosmic dance of hydrogen and helium atoms. So how important is it to discover whether or not there was some sort of divine self-awareness present when the universe was in its infancy? In my opinion it is pointless to speculate. Many people can’t get past this part because they attribute cosmic consciousness to the existence of a divine being. I happen to believe otherwise so whatever sprung our cosmos into being is of less interest to me. We currently have a working reality and I’d rather focus on what makes it tick so that we can utilize that data to enhance the human experience. So then, as the universe expanded and evolved the particles that finally made it to our neck of the woods originated from an exploding star. The formation of our galaxy therefore included the stardust necessary to create life. This is the stage where cosmic consciousness becomes relevant to theorize upon.

Now remember that cosmic consciousness differs from simple consciousness, which is the measurable activity of our brains. Animals also possess a slightly less developed simple consciousness which is why they are capable of such things as dreaming, strategy, play and emotions. Cosmic consciousness on the other hand is an integral part of an animal’s life as well because the quantum vibrations of cosmic consciousness act as an animal’s software for instinctual behavior, the hardware being the animal’s brain upon which the software is operated. To better understand this theory it is important to think of a brain as not only being able to compute and store data on its own but that the brain also functions as an antennae to receive external data from cosmic consciousness. Although cosmic consciousness is utilized by both humans and animals, it is only the human experience that begs further contemplation because of the more advanced way in which humans experience qualia.

Qualia can be understood as the subjective experience of objective reality. Because of this our own personal subjective experience most likely varies from others on an individual basis. Luckily the differences between our personal subjective experiences are slight enough not to disrupt our collective experience of reality. I may judge an apple as being ripe by its color while someone else might experience the color of the same apple slightly different and therefore disagree with me on whether it is ripe or not, however the actual physical properties of the apple remain the same. The difference between a human experiencing qualia versus an animal experiencing qualia is that humans can think of the apple outside of reality. Humans are able to envision the apple as it will look the next day, the next month or even into a far off future where the seeds of the apple grow into a full size tree.

Qualia experiences aside, the stardust that humanity emerged from also emerged from a previous star exploding which was the result of yet another star exploding and so on and so forth back to the beginning of star explosions. Because the composition of stardust remains the same we can imagine what other galaxies might look like with a lot of help from modern telescopes. As more and more planets continue to be discovered, humanity searches hungrily for worlds that appear similar to our own. Alongside this endeavor rides an inkling of hope that we may connect with intelligent species such as ours. Unfortunately the distances are so vast that even if we did find evidence of sapient lifeforms, such as the wreckage of an alien space probe, there is most likely nothing we could do about it. The universe is simply too vast.

Despite this knowledge humanity now endeavors to leapfrog from Earth to Mars to Titan and so on, building up tiny outposts along the way in order to branch out from our small planet in the event that Earth becomes unlivable. Yet I ask you this, barring nuclear disaster, how could Earth ever become more uninhabitable than Mars? Perhaps I’m just guilty of not seeing the long game. Yet even the most ardent explorer has to admit there is a noticeable potential of futility in colonizing space. It’s true that we may be in reach of planets and or moons that hold the resources necessary for terraforming, yet there might be more to colonizing the cosmos than just out-engineering the lack of water, atmosphere or even sunlight. Cosmic consciousness, which I believe is synonymous with vibrations all the way down to the quantum level, should not be ruled out as being just as bound by gravity as we are. Taking it a step further, higher cognizant sapient life forms such as our own might only be able to exist long term on planets that are similar in size and gravity to Earth. This makes some sense if you consider the negative effects scientists predict space travel will have on cognition. Yes we may be able to reach Mars but that doesn’t equate to realizing a planet that could someday grow humans.

Oddly enough the building blocks of life on Earth may in fact have originated from Mars. After all Earth was once a planet hostile to life while Mars is thought to have been covered in water. If Mars had water and the potential for life was there, why aren’t we Martians? The age of our early galaxy was certainly a factor among other reasons yet, as we now know, the recipe for Mars flopped. Cosmic radiation may have played a part, it is after all one of the biggest obstacles to space travel. So if early Mars lacked an atmosphere, radiation would have been a nail in the coffin to life emergence on Mars. Earth eventually provided the optimal conditions and perhaps just enough rocks from Mars survived the decent into Earth’s atmosphere to scatter the seeds of life.

When considering my theories about cosmic consciousness it’s important to note that I do not consider myself to be a separate entity from Earth. Yes it’s true that I am not connected to our world by an umbilical cord but that does not change the fact that I am still a product of my environment. Humans possess acute senses, yet it is not possible for us to observe everything in our surroundings. We are bound to our reality in ways we may never fully understand. Part of this may have to do with the existence of other dimensions. If other dimensions exist and we have no way of detecting them, then it would be fair to compare our experience with that of a lifeform whose reality manifested in only two dimensions. We, like them, are only getting part of the picture.

Why would our perception of other dimensions be impossible? The answer is quite simple. Just as you are limited to what you can see of your own body, unless of course you’re standing in a house of mirrors, the object of a knower can never fully be self-discovered. Humans are an integral part of the cosmos on a quantum level and as such we cannot be aware of everything because even on a quantum level we cannot grow eyes on the back of our heads.

New scientific data suggests that if more than three dimensions exist the extra dimensions would leak-in gravitational waves causing those waves to weaken. Yet so far there is no observable-weakening of gravitational waves. This means extra dimensions, if they exist, would be a relatively local phenomena. If cosmic consciousness is integral to space-time geometry, part of the reason it may be so undetectable is that it is just so very small and nearby, probably even flowing through us just as blood flows through a heart.

Bound by the laws of physics in the ways I have suggested, cosmic consciousness should resemble a river rather than an ocean. In need of a specific cosmic environment in order to be relevant, the river of cosmic consciousness would pool and eddy around planets having similar gravitational properties to Earth. Unfortunately this would debunk the theory that cosmic consciousness can exist outside of time and space. On the other hand it is very exciting to consider because the flow of a river can be predicted, dissected, modeled and replicated. Indeed the natural spiral that a trickle of water forms while running downward on a smooth surface is very close in appearance to the models we have of human DNA. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to discover that we are an inseparable component of an actual stream of cosmic consciousness that essentially resembles our very own genetic structure? I certainly think it would be.

So for the moment I’ll dub my new idea as the QRT, or Quantum River Theory of Cosmic Consciousness. It’s not an actual working theory, just a rambling stream of consciousness for a blog article. But I had fun writing it and I hope others will enjoy reading it.

Thanks,

Conan De Moe

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