The biggest person of all, Everything That Is (ETI) takes no sides; ETI encompasses all sides, all aspects. ETI encompasses the Good and the Not Good. So I'm not necessarily upholding the numinous by doing things and thinking things that I expect ETI to approve of. ETI neither approves of nor disapproves of anything we do. That is the meaning of free will. After all, it would be a fake free will, without meaning, if ETI were to turn around and say, I've given you free will, as long as it agrees with the way I see things. Free will must encompass the liberty of the person with the free will to make whatever decision ze (gender neutral pronoun) sees fit.
Humans are an interesting species. We are co-creators of Everything / with Everything. We are value-makers, values-creators. On the one hand, we plumb the lowest depths of evil, corruption and madness. But at the other extreme, we have the capacity as children of ETI to achieve the highest heights of joy and lovingness. The Divine Paradox. It's not for nothing that the name "Lucifer" means " bringer of light.
Part of my mission to integrate all belief structures within the one framework. Lucifer = Prometheus, the child of the earlier gods = Quetzalcoatl ("the feathered serpent:) = Oannes --- the being from the sea who teaches humankind the arts of agriculture, astronomy, and mathematics.
Prometheus, eg, disobeys Zeus and provides humankind with the gift of fire = illumination = light.
Another way to make decisions, is to decide beforehand that will graciously and happily accept the outcomes of your decisions, whatever the nature of those outcomes. That way, (if you do it sincerely) you may make some "wrong" decisions, but at least you won't have to beat yourself up about it, or blame yourself, or anyone or anything. "Blame" is one of those toxic emotions you refer to in relation to anger.
Which leads unequivocally to the Buddhist-like position, that if you want to be happy, be happy with what you've got not; Here. Now. That's by far the quickest and easiest way to be happy. You don't even have to do anything. This is not my proprietary thinking by the way --- the "here"/"now" thing features in a lot of personal development content. But it works to an extent, though it isn't the whole answer. If you avoid thinking about the past, you are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. If you don't plan for the future, you'll get to the future and be dissatisfied with it,. So yes, you absolutely must never forget the past or the future, but just don't live in them!
But I will say this: The existence of existence is the strangest thing in existence. A number of thinkers, including Einstein and the German philosopher Leibniz feel that the toughest question of all is why is there even anything at all in the first place. Why should Being be?
But the fact that Being is, is very encouraging. After all, Being stands with "yes", "day", "right", "love" "white" "positive" "existent" and many others. On the other side of the ledger are "no", "night" "hate" "black" "negative" "non existent" and many others. So the fact that Being is in the first place, is like a vote of confidence on the part of ETI in the items on the positive side of the ledger.
I suppose that even an Omnipotent being has one limitation: Ze can never deny zir own existence
There are no opposites. Every quality is simply the lack of its opposite. Each part of each set of paired qualities
"Um, I think I've figured out the meaning and purpose of life, and the nature of reality. Please walk with me a little way, before you run screaming into the night!"
Differences and disagreements between people are very often the simple result of the treachery of words, the fact that language frequently conceals more than it reveals. But mainly the differences are an illusion, not substantive, just the simple misapplication of labels.
The whole "deconstructionist / postmodernist" platform, that I despise, but I have to admit they got it right about on e particular aspect: People seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding the differences between the Thing Itself, the Name of the Thing, and the Category of the Thing. The Sign, the Signified, and the Signifier, if you prefer. One quick example:
John: Neptune is the name of the power in the sea.
Jill: No, that's rubbish. Poseidon is the name of the power of the sea.
Professor Smith: You're both wrong, the correct name of the power of the sea is "The Tides" (or "Storms" or "Currents")
They all agree there is power in the sea. They agree about the nature of the power (eg the ability to wreak storms, hurricanes, tsunami etc). What they disagree about is the Name, the label.
Adherents of the three mainstream monotheistic religions ascribe to that which they name "Jehovah", but which can quite happily and easily be ascribed to that which is named "the Universe" (or "Reality" if you prefer something bigger.) eg The Three Omni's.
Let's start by defining terms. (I refuse to use the word "god" -- carries too much baggage. This is a journey that can only be undertaken, and completed, without baggage. The key term, is ETI: Everything That Is, Was, Has Been, Could be, and will be. Quite simply, Everything. The word "universe" no longer is big enough --- those pesky quantum physicists have seen to that. No, I mean the biggest possible Everything --- the whole of Reality, past , present, future and conditional.
Once we're clear on what Everything means, the rest just kind of rolls into place.
Further to the point about the illusion of difference, for example, ETI is the framework in which all belief structures can and do exist, quite harmoniously: reductionist alongside holist; atheist alongside believer, monotheists, polytheists, ETI is mother and home for all. It's no controversial or ambiguous or disingenuous in any way. In fact, it's so simple you're left wondering if there's actually anything there.
I believe the journey to truth can only take place on the Road of Accepting Things as You Find Them (or they find you), not as you want them to be or as you interpret or translate them to be. In other words, no interpretation, no subjectivity, no "belief structures", no faith required. Just a mind. And Truth. The way to a higher understanding is to accept things exactly as they really are: as sheer, raw, "brute" facts not susceptible to interpretation or translation, essentially inimical to interpretation. Just the plain and simple, "What is" --- Not "what I think it might be", or "how it is if you think about it in a certain way". Just simply, how it presents itself to me in Reality.. . --- Brute Fact #1: Something exists. Brute fact#2: Maybe it's me, maybe it's not. Brute fact 3# Every thing is within Everything.
John says, "I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God".
ETI says, "yes, you do believe that. You're quite welcome to believe that. And if fact, you're right. Jesus is my son, and so too, John, are you. And so too is Gaia, the planet Earth. And Kali. And Jehovah. And that coyote out in the desert: all are children of ETI. In fact, every thing is part of Everything."
anthropology/mythology: that in virtually all cultures, there is a point in time when the children of the olds gods kill their forebears; when the hard cold masculine gods, eg Jehovah, Zeus, etc hunt down the old ones, the titans, and kill them. But most of all, they seek to kill the Goddess: the mother of all.
Take everything at face value, as it is, not as you would want to interpret it. There is Reality. It exists. Ze was born (the latest theory estimates it to be 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang), ze is learning and growing (expanding universe, red shift, all of that stuff), will die (when the force of gravity overcome the outward expansion and the Universe collapses in on itself in the mirror image of the Big Bang: the Big Crunch. And will be reborn --- in the next cycle of Big-bang/Big-crunch). There are a number of nice, poetic little ways of thinking about it: The Big Bang / Big Crunch cycle as "the heartbeat of the universe", the breathing of the universe (in and out), the reincarnation of the universe.
Whether the Big Bang theory is correct or not makes no difference to the system. By its very nature (of being Everything) the system hosts all theories;
OK, now here's where science and me part company. I believe ETI, Everything, to be an actual real non-metaphorical person (in the biggest sense of the word), who is alive, aware, intelligent and interested in what happens. The usual objection is along the lines of "that's rubbish; how can a lump of rock be alive? How can a cloud of gas be intelligent?". To which the response is simply, "My foot is not smart, but I am" in other words, just because part of me doesn't not have quality X, does not mean that I as a whole do not have quality X. Just because a lump of rock seems to be not alive, does not mean necessarily that the Universe is not alive. Of course, this is a rebuttal of the original point, not a positive argument in itself, ie the "my-foot-is-not-smart-but-I-am" argument does not prove that I am smart; but it does rebut the counter-argument that if part of something is not smart, then the whole of that something is not smart; which is of course patently untrue.
I am alive. The cells comprising me are alive; the DNA in those cells is alive: multiple levels of organism nested within each other. like Russian dolls. The great chain of Being, Scalae Naturae. Ken Wilber has a lot to say on this,. Which in turn leads to one of the key concepts in the system: that of the Gestalt, ie that human and non human persons have the ability to separate and integrate, to choose what is in and what is out, to determine where the boundary lines are drawn, to name things, to un-name things. We can look at a crowd of people as a crowd, or as individuals, or in terms of groups eg gender, etc. As co-creators with ETI We apply Gestalt psychology all the time as we participate in the conversation of Everything.
You are a person. And you are a woman/man. And mother/father. Wife/husband. Lump of Meat. A piece of Normal Matter. A memory. A thought. A sequence of DNA. You are all of those things, and more, all at the same time. It's not about being "either or" it's about being "yes, and" You are a house to your cells, and you are a cell in the house of ETI. ("IN my father's house are many mansions")
By definition, ETI is Everything. Obviously I am part of Everything, as are you, and everyone and everything else.
So, applying Gestalt, how big a person do you want to be? Do you want to be the person that has four limbs and lives on a Planet called Earth? Do you want to be the person named Gaia who has a 25000 mile waistline? Do you want to be the person, first name Sol, that lives at the far end of one of the arms of the spiral galaxy person named "The Milky Way"? Do you want to be the person named Jehovah who is wrathful, jealous, and claims to have created the Universe?
OK, so much for the nature of Reality. It's one big person. Comprising many, many others. In fact, all others.
Physics is part of Reality too. Numbers and laws are as much a part of ETI as more qualitative qualities as love and awareness.
In trying to understand the Nature of Reality, let's start with what we think we know, rather than immediately trying to fit grandiose theories to that which is "on the ground".
Now, as to the nature and purpose of life: One of the challenges face by a person as big as ETI is to know what's going on in all parts of zirself. How do you keep track of everything that's happening in Everything, Everywhere, all of the time?
Well, that's where we come in.
The meaning and purpose of my life is to help ETI understand and experience what it is like to be me. The meaning and purpose of your life is to help ETI understand what it is like to be you. The meaning and purpose of the black rock at the bottom of my driveway is to help ETI understand and experience what it is like to be the black rock at the end of my driveway .
Simple as that. But from that, flows many things. Everything in fact.
Other elements are: context independence, values freedom, and relative absoluteness. Themes: eternal return vs the arrow of time, immanence vs transcendence
ETI encompasses all contexts, ETI is context-independent. Everything else (ie all the parts of ETI) are context-dependent but can strive to be context-independent.
Because ETI encompasses all values, ETI endorses no particular specific values. (ie does not endorse right over wrong, gentle over cruel, life over death etc) This is the hardest one to swallow but if you think about it it makes a lot of sense and I'll send you a URL to see what I mean, only "that which serves" and "that which doesn't serve".
So yes, all the "lesser gods", demiurges, all housed in ETI. Actually, the Hindus have a real good handle on this. They worship and recognise hundreds if not thousands of gods each with a name, colour, trend nature etc. But the Hindus also know that all of those gods are part of Brahman, the underlying ground of reality. Conceptually similar to what physicist call the "Higgs Field".
context independence, values free, gestalt,
I also went through a stage of feeling ashamed to be human. And of course, Gaia will eventually shrug us off if we get too troublesome. (And I think the time is coming). And the Planet will get on very nicely without us, thanks very much. I never tire of quoting from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, where one of the Kings that Gulliver meets says of humankind that they must be "...the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the Earth." I've moved a little way away from the extreme view, though. I think humans have got some potential, but Jeez we're cutting it fine this time.
It's good to try and extend a bit of tolerance towards ourselves. After all, we're only human!
The word "Grok" --- how many people would be familiar with that, I wonder? But yes, I grew up loving Heinlein.
immanent vs transcendent deity
parallels between quantum physics and eastern philosophy eg entanglement
[[WARNING, WARNING, DIGRESSION ALERT: Do we have infinite time? Tough question. Time may be infinite (="eternity"). Or it may be finite, but unbounded. Or it may be circular, or more accurately, cyclical. = vision of the universe as a phoenix dying and being reborn in the flames of its own birth --- sounds very much like the Big Bang theory, now that I come to think of it. The cyclical view of time is a feature of much Eastern philosophy/metaphysics. It's sometimes referred to as "the eternal return". In the West we feel time "has an arrow" --- ie points one way, has a direction, and therefore a purpose (to get to where the arrow is pointing). What do you get when you cross the Eternal Return with the Arrow of Time? The eternal spiral, of course. It's moving forward; it has direction; but it also keeps coming back.]]
As to why we are where we are in the manner that we are, one of the main non-religious views is "the Anthropic Principle", according to which, we are where we are because if we weren't, we wouldn't be around to wonder about it in the first place!
I don't agree with this view but it warrants deconstructing.
There are many parameters that must have extremely precise, quantitative values in order for a Universe to exist in which life can take root and grow. Parameters such as the rate of expansion of the Universe; its dimensional structure; Planck's constant; the speed of light; the curvature of space; the relationship of gravity with the other forces, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
I put in a lot of etceteras to make the point that there is a large number of interrelated parameters that have to be set "just right" for us to come into being and develop into a species that claims to be intelligent.
There are two possible reasons for the strange fact that the numbers seem to be exactly right (for us).
It could be 1) the greatest coincidence of all time. The main objection to (1) is the sheer size of the unlikelihood of the coincidence. Bigger by far than the coincidence that a stream of small pebbles falling at random onto a computer keyboard accidentally just happen to strike the keys that form the letters that form the complete works of William Shakespeare correct in every detail. Of course, when you have infinite time / eternity to work with, even the highly improbable is a dead certainty to occur at some point.
Or it could be 2) a "put up job", an "inside job" --- in other words, that the unreasonably human-friendliness of the universe is the result of someone or something setting the numbers to be what they are for exactly the reason and purpose of bringing humans into being in the first place.
Jehovah gave us dominion over the beasts of the fields etc etc And we have exercised that dominion in many and various ways, mostly horrible.
actually, these days the word "Universe" is no longer big enough. Today we have the so-called "multi-verse" or "mega-verse" (even maxiverse) and the idea of "pocket universes" being "born" via black holes in this Universe.
And your point about things getting further and further apart is also spot on: there are several different avenues of proof that confirm the Universe is expanding. There's the analogy of blowing up a balloon --- say you take a pen, and make marks on the surface of the balloon. As you blow into the balloon, the air fills the interior space and the balloon keeps on inflating. The sports that you marked on the surface are all getting further and further away from each other, and from the point of mutual origin.
I think you have a promising career in cosmology: your point about the "edge" of the Universe is a fundamental one. Firstly, let's agree that the word "Universe" means what it always did, up until recently, ie "Everything".
There is nothing outside "Everything"? How could there be? --- Every thing is inside "Everything".
The other point is that there is no "outside" and no "beginning", though there may very well be an ending.
Before this Universe came into being via "the Big Bang", there was nothing: no objects, no duration, no time, no space. All of those things came into existence as part of the Big Bang.
So when people ask, "what happened before the Big Bang"? the answer is that nothing happened before the Big Bang, because it was the Big Bang itself that created time, and space, and spacetime.
Simply, there was no time or space before the Big Bang. There was only one thing before the Big Bang: nothing.
There is nothing outside of the Universe, no space, no time, so therefore a membrane is not required. There are no edges, there is nothing that needs holding together. "Everything" is already doing a great job holding it all together.
I like to believe, though I don't know for sure, that death is a doorway, and therefore that nothing is ever wasted or "dies" but rather simply changes form. So I'm hoping that my thoughts don't evaporate with my death.
But as I say, I'm not aware of any firm evidence either way. So it boils down to a matter of faith, I suppose, and I don't mean that in the religious sense.
A lot of my writing includes references to "the devil", Satan, Lucifer etc. I assure you I'm not a devil-worshipper (if I had to have a religion it would be one in which no worship were required) but I think that at this stage we should all be examining very closely what we have been brought up to believe.
My "spirituality" is based on the idea that if there is such a thing as "God" as expressed in the mainstream monotheistic religions, then we all should be afraid, terribly afraid. After all, in the bible itself, Jehovah tells us he is "a jealous god", in his own words (as reported in the Bible (not necessarily in reality)). He admits he is "wrathful". He tells us what to eat and not to eat, when and how to have sex, how to pray, etc etc
Don't know about you, but if I were forced to "adopt a god" I would choose one who is not jealous, not wrathful, does not require worship, does not lay down commandments for us to obey, etc etc
And in fact, there is a candidate that fits the above: Everything.
Everything is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Everything is not jealous or wrathful and lays down no laws to obey. I write about this a lot in Cosmic Rapture under the label of "My Big TOE" (TOE = Theory Of Everything) (link attached below,)