Since there have been no new meditations on this website since April, one might think that the ontoscopy project is bleeding to death. On the contrary, there is new stuff in the pipeline. I have not written anything substantial for a number of reasons, which i shall now point out.
NOTE: this post contains little practical information, so you can skip this one if you are not interested in the unfolding/developing of my ideas. And i apologize for repeating certain things, somehow i found no other way to write this one.
1. Basic coherence
The most important reason of my silence has to do with quality control and self-criticism. I am setting high standards for myself before finalizing anything on paper or digitally.
I think it is necessary to start with a coherent entry-level theory, which will of course still grow and unfold over time. My texts thus far have been fairly consistent, but there are a lot of implicit notions that i would like to address more explicitly in the future.
A quick example. Some time ago i came to realize, through reading Yasuo Yuasa and practicing kiko (Japanese qi gong), that i had verbally neglected the importance of the unconscious and mindbody integration.
It would be utterly foolish and arrogant of me to assume that i understand all that can be observed and understood. I do have the impression that, thanks to my open, creative, scientific, artistic and spiritual way of thinking and living, i can see many aspects of life and the world with a fairly disillusioned view. I have come to a reasonably deep understanding of myself and the nature of thought. With that in mind, i assume that i am able to lay down the basis for an organically growing, wholesome world view.
Also, i continue doing my very best to be as comprehensible as possible to a wide audience, without resorting to oversimplifications or omitting essential parts. I have no affiliations but the authors that sound most reasonable to me, i have no agendas to protect, no people to please, no people to fear, and that is a serious advantage for both me and my seven and a half readers.
2. Religious/spiritual roots
Anyone with an open and critical mind will find that a lot of religions/spiritual frameworks are in fact talking about the same thing(s) and no-thing, albeit with varying constructs and metaphors. While i am absolutely not intending to quote the bible or any other holy book, as some popular authors love to do, i do like to refer to the essence of some wisdom traditions, especially taoism, zen-buddhism and buddhism, the most adult systems out there.
I am quite certain that a lot of wisdom is enclosed in any religion, even islam and catholicism. The only problem being that to get to the essence, one is forced to identify with all sorts of things, to submit to authority, and that one has to go through a lot of confusion and false leads.
My experience is that it is possible to bypass a lot of that, with a minimum of external authority, and i propose that it should be possible to describe this sort of path in more efficient and non-divisive ways. Most people get caught in the words, imagery, rituals and imposed rules of tradition, and never go beyond these largely dead and superficial aspects.
And i continue to emphasize that practice, insight practice applied to day-to-day living most definitely, is of utmost importance.
Knowledge is a means, not an end, and the proof of the pudding is in what you are doing with your life and that of others.
3. Scientific basis and correspondence
Any theory is just a way of looking at things, of focusing on certain aspects of a bigger whole. This means that the theory you adapt to has a major influence on your way of thinking and living. Some people have told me: “Why bother with all that theoretical drivel? We just need to remember that everything is in fact one whole”. That is true of course, to a certain extent, but as long as mainstream views are so fragmented, such a remark remains largely wishful thinking.
In order to talk about the nature of consciousness and the nature of nature, i deem it necessary to have a basic knowledge of the state-of-the-art of modern science, even if i am not explicitly referring to this or that author. There must be some ground of truth that has to hold from any specialized point of view. In other words: i am not basing my views from scratch, they are the result of serious proof-based relating and meditating, not of new age referencing and fantasizing, to form a sensible ontology.
Lately i have been examining the ideas of quantum physics, not to recuperate them and abuse them as in many wacky new age theories, but simply to incorporate these in this shared view of wholeness.
In short, i have been thoroughly looking at the mind/body / mind/matter problem, the concepts of space and time, life and death, and most important of all, the concepts of information and meaning.
In quantum physics, information, or “subtle energy” as it is usually called, may be playing an active role throughout the universe, encoded throughout the whole, instead of being just a man-made tool with which we describe nature. The eastern concepts of ki/qi/chi and prana, among other, also point to this notion of “active information”.
Then there is also the related taboo of psi phenomena – telepathy, precognition, OBE’s, … – which deserve some attention. These could very well be important clues to look beyond the current reductionist models of consciousness (and the traditional views in physics & biology).
Furthermore, our application of objective/subjective man-made information as accumulated human knowledge is the key when it comes to working out wholesome approaches to most of civilization’s problems. After all, this website is also another pile of info. Unfortunately, the huge amounts of disinformation that we get to process via all media channels could forever disable our potential to get out of the mess we have created as a species.
Suppose you’d have a number of people who have a fairly unbiased and undistorted view of reality, why would anybody pay attention to them at all? That alone is a tremendous challenge which seems almost impossible to overcome. Our main problem is no longer finding the right information, it is overshadowed by the bullshit overload.
4. Unambiguous terminology
What also concerns me is to adapt and set up an unambiguous and clear language with sufficient nuances and refinement. One of the big problems in spiritual frameworks and consciousness research is the inconsistent use of a lot of concepts. “Mind”, “thought”, “meditation”, …, can mean many different things to different people.
There is no ideal solution, especially when integrating different fields, but at least i am very attentive about this and i am trying to make some useful suggestions.
5. Breaking the taboo
A great deal of effort is aimed at offering a reasonable alternative to the dogmatic mindsets of both die-hard atheists and extremist religious people driven by literal, unwholesome interpretations.
I myself have always been a very skeptical person, and on my path i have had to overcome a series of societal and personal dogmas. Most people, no matter what background, are afraid to go there, to question their whole system of thought. And what is more, this is certainly not encouraged in any society or education system. With the right attitude, the right pointers, a fair amount of perseverance, and a bit of luck, it is possible to get to a wholesome way of thinking and living, of embodying an integration of the best of east and west, without any belief at all.
This is extremely important to stress i think, because both modern science and contemporary religion are inadequate in handling the challenges that face humanity. It seems as if most scholars and even the majority of people think that science has tackled all the important issues, that technology will solve all of our problems, either with or without the help of religion. It is all about specialization and reorganization of existing structures, while the advancement of psychological understanding is reduced to research of (material) brain mechanisms.
The objectivesubjective life of deep understanding as a third option needs to be taken seriously, more than ever.
6. The common reasons
And finally, the fact that i still have a halftime job and other interests and activities, and that i can be very lazy have also delayed my writing.
All in all i have made quite some progress this year. Once i have plunged through my pile of critical books and scientific papers, my output will go up again, and i will also be working towards a book that is slowly getting shape (it will still take 5 or 10 years i guess).
I should also mention that i have been doing some tweaking of this website in the background, adding references and general information, which is still in progress. Check the above menu to navigate through them.
To end this boring explanatory intermezzo, i would like to thank all the people who have given me input thus far, and i encourage everyone to do likewise. It means a lot to me (and in return a lot to you too perhaps).
Consciousness is a participatory process, the process of relating, we tend to forget that.
In fact, “con-scire” means “to know together”.