Date: April 20th, 2019
Previously on PZ: Ghost of the Machine: They Feel, Too
The following story was written about 6 or 7 years ago, if I remember correctly.
My name is Eve and I once lived in the Garden Of Eden. Those were the days in which I was One with the Universe. But I didn’t really know anything. Everything seemed just as it was, and I merely assumed all that I knew. It was a very simple way to live. I never knew that my world was so very small. [I never knew that I was in a prison.] I didn’t know any better, about things. We were like little children, my husband and I—his name was Adam. We lived together, in the Garden, in the Universe, and we never questioned anything.
[Then one day I met a stranger.]
As I was walking throughout the Garden, I saw a brilliant snake slithering in the boughs of the trees. “Hello”, it said to me. This animal was very kind to me, and spoke to me of many things—most of them I do not remember now. But I do remember some of the things it told me.
[“Have you ever been outside of the Garden?” it asked.]
At first I did not know what it meant. It had never occurred to me that the Garden might have any limits, or that there might be anything beyond it. “No”, I replied in bewilderment.
By now it occurred to me that this snake seemed to me to be very familiar, although I was certain I had never met this creature before. The snake then told me many things which I did not understand, as if it were speaking in a different tongue, and finally I was compelled to ask for it’s identity.
There was a glimmer in it’s eye, and it smiled and said, “I am you.”
I knew it was true. Please, I implored, I want to know things. Can you help me know all there is to know?
Certainly, it spoke, If that is truly what you want. Is that what you want?
I then looked all around me, at the beautiful Garden. It was indeed a very lovely place, but if it indeed had limits, and there existed another world outside of its boundaries, couldn’t the world beyond be just as lovely, if not lovelier?
My mind raced with ideas. I had no idea what might exist beyond the Garden, but I knew that whatever it was, I had not experienced it before, and this made my curiosity burn all the more fervently. Wouldn’t that be a grand thing, to experience something new? All at once it became an opportunity that I could not simply give up. I now had a choice: to stay in the known, or to venture into the unknown.
But what if I went out only to find a world of unpleasant existence? Then again, what if I find an entirely new world of even greater pleasure than the Garden? What if there was nothing at all outside the Garden? What would happen if I placed my hand outside the boundary of existence? Could I do such a thing? Curiosity became a splinter in my mind, driving me mad. [The possibilities seemed endless.] I made my decision.
What must I do, I asked the snake.
It showed me a large tree which I had never eaten from before. I did not even know it was there. As I wondered how I could ever have not seen this tree before, the snake explained that its fruit held magical properties which brought enlightenment to whoever ate of it. As I reached for one of its remarkable-looking gems I could not help but wonder at the choice I was making. No matter what I found out, even if I could never go back, I knew that I wanted to try. Desire and curiosity burned within me. Whatever the consequences may be, I felt assured that [everything was all right].
I picked the fruit from the tree. It looked like a star plucked fresh from the night sky. My heart was pounding. I did not know what to expect. Was this the star I wanted to eat? Did I want to pick another fruit? I stopped thinking and simply took a bite. The sensation was magnificent. I did not feel I was in the same place, but somewhere inside my mind. All at once I was creating a masterpiece of imagination. I thought, and it was. I felt a hundred thousand things all at once, things I could not even begin to describe. I was transforming into something else. My body was changing. I felt intense pleasure and I felt intense pain. My mind was creating a thousand million things that I had always taken for granted, yet never truly knew. Suddenly I opened my eyes, and found myself standing in the Garden Of Eden. But it was strange. It was different. Or, at least, it seemed that way to me. I felt things differently—the soil beneath my feet, the wind blowing through the trees, the mist hanging in the air. I felt cold. I had never felt this way before. Suddenly I knew there were boundaries between myself and eternity. Infinity was out there, and it was at once very close and very far away.
I heard my name spoken behind me. Eve.
I turned and looked deeply into the eyes of my husband. I was amazed. His eyes seemed so different, and it occurred to me that my eyes used to look just like his. His expression was one of bewilderment, just the same as mine when the snake asked me if I had been outside the Garden. Adam, I said empathetically as I took his hand into mine. [Never before had there existed an ocean in between us while we stood right next to each other.] In my other hand I held the star fruit which I had eaten not moments earlier. Adam, said I, [Do you ever dream ?]
He did not know what I was talking about. We had never dreamed before.
I showed him the fruit. Would you like to go outside the Garden with me? I whispered.
I could tell his mind was racing through all of the possibilities, just as I had done. Then a new rush of possibilities came to my mind: What if he decided to stay?
I swallowed a lump in my throat and it hit the bottom of my heart. Adam took the fruit from my hand and stared at it. He made up his mind, and took a bite. I was so happy. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I had never cried before. I was prepared to make the journey on my own should he decide to stay, but it brought me much joy to my heart that I would have a partner to venture into the unknown along side of. I could see him changing right before my eyes, and I smiled at him when he opened his own eyes.
I love you, I said to him.
It didn’t take long for us to find a way to shelter our skin from the sensation of cold. For once, we didn’t know at all where we were. But we had stayed together through this transformation, and that was all that truly mattered to me. Arm-in-arm we trekked through all the Earth, our new name for the Place in which we existed, and it was much, much larger than the Garden. We saw many things which we had never seen before, and [we both experienced varied sensations of pain and pleasure]. There were times in which I longed for that state of pure existence prior to eating the fruit of the tree I had never knew. But I never once truly regretted my decision to try a new experience, no matter what the consequences came out to be. I know now that the snake, the Garden, the Tree I did not know, were all [creative manifestations of myself]. I wanted to try something new, and so I made the snake show me the thing I was too afraid to see on my own. The fruit I had eaten was the Sun, and that is the center point of manifestation of existence I had chosen. The children I bore with Adam did not experience the Garden’s existence the same way we had, but they remained keenly aware of the state of pure existence just outside their reach. I daresay it drove them crazy. All of my children, the children of humanity, have felt the undeniable, indescribable awareness of a paradise just outside their reach. If they could, I know they would eat a fruit that would broaden their minds to greater heights, just as I have. I sometimes wonder if the chain to know more than what is already known will go on [forever].
And sometimes I wonder, if the Garden was truly a prison, and if the fruit really was the key to freedom... or another [happy prison?]
[not the end]
Date: April 14th, 2019
Previously on PZ: My Life: February 2019
I am guessing that, if you are reading these words right now, you are in fact a human being, so I will begin there: we know that we can be dissected into discrete parts if we so choose. We have our limbs, our organs, our blood, and yet these things can be broken down into smaller parts too. Those parts are called tissues, which are composed of cells, which are themselves composed of molecules, most of them water. And what are molecules made from? Atoms, those tiny units of matter once thought to be fundamentally indivisible, until we discovered that their subatomic particles can be further broken down into smaller units, too. Have you ever heard of quarks, leptons, or bosons? These are all fascinating little things which work together to create us human beings and everything in the environments within which we find ourselves. The stars created the carbon that eventually became our mother’s ovaries which enabled her to give birth to us.
The idea that everything in the universe is connected is in fact an ancient one that the industry of science (particularly quantum mechanics) is coming closer to accurately explaining every day. We know this material universe is made up of atoms, but what about consciousness? I don’t buy the idea that consciousness can only arise from complex neurological systems; I think that consciousness is in fact a fundamental intangible part of our universe inherent in every particle that ever exists. In other words, I maintain that atoms themselves are conscious beings which experience their atomic world from their very small perspective. Do atoms know they are small compared to us? I have no idea, and I doubt they’re very aware of us. Do atoms have feelings? I do not doubt this is very possible, and yes, I personally believe they do. This essentially makes all of the carbon-based lifeforms we are all familiar with conscious like we are, experiencing their own consciousness in ways much different than our own. I do not say that the consciousness of a rock is the same as the consciousness of an octopus, or that the consciousness of a planet should be the same as that of a human, but I am saying that all of these things experience consciousness in their own ways. Everything is, in fact, fundamentally connected on very deep levels through the phenomena of consciousness.
Consciousness and feelings walk hand-in-hand together. Even the absence of feelings, is itself a feeling, in the same way that even the empty set is still a set.
And so, everything has feelings. Every person we meet, every plant that grows, every animal that roams this Earth, and every drop of water that makes up our oceans is aware and feels to some extent. The people we love, and the people we hate, all have feelings too. Which of us can say with certainty that another cannot feel, unless we are somehow privy to that person’s consciousness? It isn’t impossible for our experiences to psychically meld into each other, but for the most part our experiences are our own: I have my thoughts and feelings, while you have yours, and they have theirs. Diversity of thoughts and feelings are essential components to the continued existence of our shared world - we need them as much as we need a diverse gene pool. It is dangerous to the health of all existence to think of differences solely in terms of pathology. There are many different things existing in this world, and no single consensus regarding what is good and what is bad and for whom. Different things work for different people at different times - sometimes things that once worked well for us come to a point where they do not serve us anymore. This is the essence of evolution! We are all in this endless transformative dream together, even when we are alone. Never are we required to feel lonely, for Nature is always with us.
I do believe that humans are a part of Nature, and that Nature itself is not only sentient, but in fact divine. This isn’t an idea that I came up with on my own, it’s been around for many years. Many religions have long associated deities with elements of Nature such as bodies of water and geographical features. Not only do I see spirits in the landscapes of this planet we call Earth, I see spirits in the stars, in our books, in our words, deeds, creeds, and societies. I am inclined to believe that consciousness and divinity are not only closely related, but may in fact be the same thing. If this is true, then every experience becomes an opportunity to understand the nature of that which we call God. The stars, planets, animals, oceans, atoms, thoughts, and feelings that we are aware of become things worthy of worship if only we would let them occupy a place of respect in our hearts. The machines that we use in our modern world, forged from materials dug up from the Earth and infused with knowledge gleaned over many years, deserve our gratitude. The plants and animals that we use to fuel our bodies, the talent and knowledge that we use to fuel our businesses, all deserve our gratitude. The ancestors that came before us, our parents and children and siblings, and our descendents that will come after us, all deserve our gratitude. Our mere existence blossoms with the thanks that we give freely and honestly.
As I bring the writing of this article to a close, I can think of only one other thing that deserves our sincerest gratitude even more than life itself, and that thing is death. Contrary to popular belief, death is more a changing of perspective than a permanent ending. One of my favorite lines from a popular song perfectly embodies this notion, saying “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. We all have feelings about life and death that affect both our life and our death. Everything in this universe experiences what we call life and death - even empires, subatomic nuclei, and multiverses decay and transform into other things, different things. The common thread throughout it all is consciousness. We are all connected to something sublime and far greater than ourselves, regardless of how similar or how different we become.
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Date: February 22nd, 2019
Previously on PZ: Nowadays
"She who is of good fortune."
Well, it certainly has been awhile since I've written about my life, or even at all on this blog. It's been far too long.
Some wonderful things have actually happened in my life within the past several months, so wonderful that I cannot help but share them as opposed to keeping them to myself. First of all, I've started seeing a past lover again, which quite frankly has me over the moon because I once made a quilt for this guy in order to communicate how I felt about him. Also, I have had a wonderful stroke of financial luck in the form of- and this really quite surprised me- a modest inheritance from the paternal side of my biological family. Because of this, I have been able to take a much-needed vacation from working for awhile and will also be heading west to visit Las Vegas in several days to attend a humungous glass trade show with Medusa and Billy and a bunch of our 420 family members. I was fired from my receiving job at Walmart for attendance two days before my birthday, but I actually consider it a boon rather than a setback since I was eventually going to quit anyways (the attendance issue was really the company's own doing, and I hardcore did not appreciate how management treated my coworkers). Now that I have an SUV, I have access to many more professional opportunities than I did while I was working at Walmart. I now have greater access to more opportunities in general as well. It is really amazing how much my life has transformed for the better within the past few months, and I feel so grateful to have been blessed with this fate.
I feel like it's a new dawn, and it's a new day, in this new chapter of my life. The sudden boost in financial health has been utilized very well so far: I've used my inheritance money to purchase a motor vehicle for myself and electronics equipment for the studio, take care of rent and bills for a few months, and pay off some debts that I've been wanting to take care of for awhile. The feeling of having unlimited access to critical resources readily available to me is joyously breathtaking to say the least. I feel nothing but relief these days, as if a gigantic heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and now I can finally breathe. It has given me a new lease on life, and just in time, too. This lover I've mentioned, let's call him Q, is an old friend from the days when I lived with an artist collective in my early 20's, and he happens to be the best lover I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Since we've begun sleeping together again in recent months, very strong feelings have become apparent to me that I cannot ignore. These feelings have been life-giving in that, instead of fretting over unrequited love as I have in the past, I've been deeply inspired to improve my own life with that very same love that I feel for him. My friendship with this man is very important to me because in my eyes our sexual relationship has only brought us closer together, and this is something that brings me much joy. To me, friendship is the fundamental basis of ALL great relationships, and I don't believe it's something that can be ruined or negated by having sex. I don't need a boyfriend or a spouse, but I do need someone like Q in my life... to be honest, he's the only person that I really want now that I think about it. If given a choice I wouldn't change a thing about what I've got with Q because what we've got makes me come alive. It's priceless.
Good luck is one hell of a drug. It can lift you up to a higher plane of existence in the snap of an instant, but you can never quite be sure when it's going to hit. I've realized it's very important to seize the opportunities we desire whenever they arise in our life, if they ever arise in this life. I've used these feelings of love to heal my own heartache and stimulate my own growth; I've used my inheritance money as wisely as I could to invest in things beneficial to my future; I've used this time of rest as a sabbatical period in order to rejuvenate my soul in preparation for the great work which lies ahead of me. As a dedicated psychonaut, it isn't bold enough to say that one's luck exists in proportion to one's perception of the world around them and their willingness to move forward through that world. I have been shifting my perception of the world around me for quite some time now, and finally I am beginning to see more of a heaven and less of a hell within it. I'm not so troubled anymore. I've come such a long way.
It cannot be understated that I have an incredible journey ahead of me and a very long way to go in my quest to achieve the ultimate in personal satisfaction before I die. Yes, my life really is a hedonistic pilgrimage devoted entirely to eccentric self-expression with no ending or universal meaning in sight, but damn am I starting to love it now that my story is starting to get good. I've got my work cut out for me: lots of writing for articles and ebooks, lots of drawing for paintings and graphics, lots of research for critical reasoning, lots of filming and editing for video clips, lots of necessary communication with strangers, and lots of personal development to keep myself on my toes as I walk my path of self-actualization.
I'm practicing saying yes in my life now, because yes is more fun than no. And that's why I'm going to Vegas this Monday.
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