Divine Mother

QofDay May 7-8 ’15 ~ The Divine Mother

How do we celebrate or honor the Divine Mother, be she the goddess’s or earth/Gaia itself?
What is our connection, what is our practice if we have one?

To me, it is all so different.

It seems to me that all knowledge is illusion in a sense. It seems that it is most likely that even our best models, our best understandings, our best experiences, are but crude approximations of the awesome complexity of this thing we call reality that we find ourselves in.

It seems that what we experience is not reality, but a model of reality that our subconscious brains create, and we as software entities within our brains get to experience.

It seems that we as intentional aware entities have a strong tendency to interpret everything about us in terms of intentionality.
It seems clear to me that this reality we find ourselves in is not intentional, and it is complex beyond our ability to accurately consciously model. So it seems that whatever sort of model we have of it will be deficient in many ways, or to phrase that another way, every model must make sufficient shortcuts to be useful in real time that it is not as we model it.
So while the model of “mother earth” does not work for me, I can see how it can be a useful and powerful model for others.

For me, it is clear that the love come from within us, for our subconscious, which is bootstrapped from the patterns of genetics and culture, both evolved over deep time; and develops anew within each and every one of us.
And I am clear that it is a power beyond ego within each of us, and ego is a derivative of it in a very real sense.

So I do not honour or celebrate the divine. For me, the idea of divine is a logical error, in exactly the same fashion as the idea that the Sun goes around the earth is a logical error. Yes, most certainly, it does look like that on the surface, but when one looks more deeply at the patterns involved, it becomes clear that it is something else. The experience of the Sun revolving around the earth comes from the fact that we are on the surface of the earth, and the earth is a ball of molten rock with a thin solid skin, that is spinning on its axis as it orbits around our sun, which is in a group of stars that are orbiting each other, which are in a gap in the spiral arms and are together orbiting around the centre of our galaxy, which is in a local cluster of galaxies, ….

So with us, the numeric complexity of the systems give us this ability to experience the qualia of being that we do, the numbers of molecules, the complexity of their signalling systems, both within and between cells, and the many levels of sets of systems within our brains, is amazing, profound, beautiful, awe inspiring; and to me far more satisfactory and empowering as an understanding of what I am in relationship to the rest of existence, than any model involving divinities, and I can appreciate that it is not similarly so for others.

So I share the awe, the commitment: to life; to love; to respect for life, for diversity, for creativity, for individuality; to the transcendence of viewing things in terms of right and wrong – and I do so from a paradigm that is profoundly different from any acknowledgement of divinity.

[followed by]

Hi Kathy, OM, Mendy et al

Last night I repaired the bird feeding tray that I have had on the deck for several years. I took off the old sides which were warped and allowed many seeds to escape through the gaps created by the warping, and put on new timber sides, almost the same, but slightly different.
This morning I put out the wheat as usual, and the birds are all terrified by the new wood. None will approach closer than about 4 ft.
Their neural nets are so attuned to the danger of the different, that even these small changes are enough to keep them from food.
I’ve been watching them for about 40 mins. Occasionally now one will get within about 6″ of the tray, but none has yet had anything to eat.

It seems to me that most minds are like that when it comes to notions like “divine”.

Divine is clearly defined in the dictionary as relating to god – where god is defined as a supernatural entity.

I feel a strong sense of awe, a sense of the power and complexity of this reality within which we find ourselves, yet the notions of god or divine seem to me to be relics of cultural evolution that belong in history books, alongside notions like the earth is the centre of the universe, or phlogiston, or the four humours, or alchemy, or any other of a vast set of ideas that seemed at the time to make sense, but we can now clearly demonstrate are not actually how things work.

And having said that last paragraph in no way implies that what I find useful explanations now are in any way any sort of final or ultimate explanation.

I was talking to Ailsa last night, trying to explain to her how I view understanding – my own and others.
One analogy I used was – that the idea of truth is like a star in navigation. When I go sailing I often use stars for navigation. I do not expect to get to any star. I know that stars are many light years away, and my earthly destinations are usually some fraction of a light millisecond away, and at most a few tens of light milliseconds (light travelling about 186 miles per millisecond).
I am very aware that very few (if any) of the things I currently find useful explanations are likely to be 100% accurate models of reality, and they are accurate enough for my current purposes, and I am always open to revision in the light of any new evidence of sufficient strength and reliability.

So I am aware that reality is whatever it is, and I am aware that I have no direct access to reality.
I am aware that my only access to reality is through the filters of my brain, and the model of reality that my brain creates and that I get to experience. And I am aware that I can have some influence over the sorts of filters and modelling tools that my brain uses to create the model that I get to experience. And I am very aware that the complexity of my brain is so much greater than my consciousness is capable of apprehending that I will always be surprised by what I am, let alone what is out there in reality beyond the model that I get to experience.

I have awe and wonder at those systems.
I have awe and wonder at the numerical complexity involved.
I have awe and wonder at the experience of being human – at the qualia of existence, at this experience of being a software entity in a squishy mass of human brain tissue experiencing a software model of reality created by a vast set of evolved hardware and software systems (of genetic and cultural {mimetic}) origin.

And like the sparrows, I watch people familiar with old cultural paradigms hop around the new feeding trays that are available – yet the fear generated by the novelty is too great, and they avoid the food.
In all the time I have been writing this, no sparrow has yet gotten close enough to get a grain of wheat.

At some stage, the new wood will become sufficiently familiar that hunger will overcome fear, and as soon as one is seen to be eating, others will flock in, and that hasn’t happened yet.

In my “minds eye” I see the probability curves, the synaptic links between neurons, and I see birds moving in space, and imagine the balance between fear and desire within each individual.

As I tried to explain to Ailsa last night, it is not just the “god” aspect of culture, but the very notion of culture itself, that I see as limiting. It is the notion of truth that is implicit in all formulations of what we normally recognise as culture, that forms a trap.
Our brains crave familiarity. We don’t like uncertainty. We like a certain amount of novelty, but not too much. For each of us, the amount of novelty we can tolerate in different domains will vary.

It is very uncomfortable to step beyond the realm of truth.
It is very uncomfortable to step beyond certainty, into universal uncertainty.
It is very uncomfortable to live eternally in questions.

And as soon as one stops asking questions, the “space” available to exploration is diminished.
Every “Truth” we accept comes with implied boundaries, with sets of questions that may no longer be asked.

Perhaps my many years of being at sea in boats give me a certain comfort in profound uncertainty.
Perhaps the model of a boat at sea is a good model for how I see myself.
I see that my understanding is my boat. My boat is not the ocean. My boat allows me to travel safely upon the ocean, and if I have been skilled in creating and maintaining my boat, and if I am skilled in the arts of sailing and navigating the boat, then I can sail the ocean safely and be awed by the things I find on my travels.

And I have no illusion that my boat is the ocean, it is just my boat. Other travellers have their boats. Some boats are safe in more conditions than others. I am a very cautious traveller, my boat is quite well built, and has weathered many storms. The design and operation are well tested and proven, and it is still just a boat.

[followed by]


I see that all concepts have their limits.

To me, the idea of Divine has clearly “passed its use by date”, in the same sense that the idea that the earth is at the centre of the universe has passed its use by date.
To me the logic is clear – that the implicit bounds in such ideas are too restrictive on individual development – they close far more options than they open. And all such development is an individual thing, kinda like developing balance riding a bicycle. One can tell someone about balance, but every individual has to learn it for themselves, and the experience of learning usually involves a few crashes.

I do not see people as limited.

I see the ideas that people accept as limiting, for so long as people accept them.
That distinction is very important.

I see no fundamental difference between myself and any other human being capable of speech. There are certainly differences in the specifics between every individual, and I see nothing at the systemic level that is profoundly different.
And the peculiarities of my specific existence have resulted in the specific patterns that are me. And to the degree that I have some influence on the development of this experiential entity that is me, I continue to develop in ways that significantly diverge from societal norms. I have no problem with that, I simply note it for what it is.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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