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Patanjali Sokaris

Pondering the universe

Consciousness, free will and a body

The only rights we can take as given

There are only three rights we can really claim entitlement to, being that of having a consciousness, free will, and a body that we can use to some extent. All else is opinion!

By whatever evolutionary mechanism we got to where we are now, whether driven by a higher consciousness or unfolding as it goes, we certainly have only a few real rights, being the ones that do not require enacting human laws in order for them to be bestowed upon us.

So what do these natural rights mean for us?

Consciousness ^

Consciousness is the mechanism by which we are aware of ourselves and what is around us. It is like a cloud that expands and contracts depending upon what we focus.

However, by our dreams, we know that there is a whole other part to our consciousness that operates under the radar of our waking consciousness. We call this our subconscious, but it may well be a lot deeper and more substantial to our daily lives, as it seems to feed our conscious mind with insights and inspirations, answers to our ponderings, and prods us in our dreams.

By our consciousness, we are aware of ourselves as a thinking being, aware of our surroundings, or at least what our senses present us with of that, and perhaps most importantly, aware of time and the cascade of events it highlights, because it is by our manipulating those chains of events that we change our lives.

Without consciousness, time is meaningless. Without being aware of time, does it matter to an atom or a galaxy whether it lasts a microsecond or five billion years? Or three score and ten? No, we are accutely aware of the limited time we have, not only in the span of our lifetime, but also what we can do in a day.

Our consciousness does not seem to be able to focus on too much at one time, nor for too long, so it has some limitations as to its scope. Perhaps that is why there is the pool of resources that seems to be held in our subconscious, just so our conscious minds are not overwhelmed too much. Sort of like offline storage, ready to pop back into our conscious when we summon it, if we give it space to enter, by not cluttering our minds with too much constant 'chatter'.

Free will ^

Free will is our ability to focus our consciousness on whatever we want.

Free will is an essential part of how we control our own destiny, because it is the part of us that makes the decisions that define what we do next, giving us the chance to live the life we want, rather than us just being a mere part of the great mass of matter tumbling from one moment to the next.

With free will, we can choose a set of beliefs, change them as we understand more about ourselves and our surroundings, and choose to strengthen them, so they become habitual patterns of thought that we can harness to carry us through times of doubt.

When we accumulate a set of such habits, they can become our personality or character, and are then the doorway by which others interact with us, and is largely that by which they decide to be associated with us or not.

However, we do not live in isolation, so there are times when our exercising our free will come into conflict with others who are wanting to give free expression to theirs. The best way to resolve such conflicts is to find a set of behaviours that allow all parties to exercise their free will.

However, some seem to decide that the problem is in having free will in the first place (not theirs, of course), so they try to control what others are allowed to think.

Those controlling efforts include:

  1. a.Advertising, so that we are 'guided' to associate particular products or services as being the 'solution' to our needs or desires.
  2. b.Education, in the narrow sense of instilling a set of thought patterns that suit the particular needs of those doing the 'educating', rather than training people on how best to use their consciousness and free will.
  3. c.Bullying to try to control how we express ourselves, so that we become afraid to extend ourselves and thus fear what we might do that brings retribution again.
  4. d.Torture, as the utlimate punishment for not complying with an imposed thought regime.

Religions based upon the Old Testament of the Bible have basically undermined free will by turning the warning given to Adam and Eve, that using their free will mean they will be responsible for their actions, into a declaration that they would be going against God's will, and thus commit a sin, and the world we live in is a result of that fall from grace. In other words, doing your own thing is wrong, rather than offering an opportunitiy to grow in creative ability.

That is a very overt way of trying to keep people subjugated, especially when used to blame Eve, and thus all women, for the weakness in Adam and thus all men. If Adam made a choice, he made the choice, and so is responsible and lives with the consequences, just like what free will means for the rest of us. Setting up and enforcing such flawed archetypes can really corrupt free will.

Of course, everyone tries to limit challenges to their own thought patterns, so we do try to influence, even in subtle ways, what other people think about when with us. That occurs not just in speech, but by the things and people we surround ourselves with, even if those are mostly to reinforce our own self-image and set of beliefs.

Free will gives us the ability to make our own lives, but the practicalities of living a life often results in us succumbing to the pressure of limiting our thoughts to what we or others have imposed upon us. We do this by making another decision to allow the status quo to remain.

However, it is also by free will that we can break our own thought moulds, and free ourselves to become something better for ourselves.

Body ^

Our bodies provide us the means to interact with the physical world, and expore it. In the process, we learn to know our body's strengths and limitations, enabling us to harness it as we strive to exercise our free will.

Many animals have specialised body parts, adapted over a long evolution to provide particular advantages that enhance their survivability. Converesly, humans developed very adaptable body parts, such as opposable thumbs, which opened up a whole gamut of ways to manipulate the world around us.

But perhaps the most useful abilty humans have is to be able to use their consciousness and free will to direct their bodies to purposes other than just reacting to environmental threats and opportunitities, but direct them to higher order needs and wants.

It is these latter endeavours that have allowed humans to shape the earth more than all other species, but also puts us on a collision course with the needs of the earth itself. We are now faced with a need to limit ourselves, which has been something we have been able to ignore for too long.


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