Sometimes I feel sorrow at the memory of joy. Other times I feel joyful upon remembering a past sorrow. To forget, I have to know whatever it is that I do not remember.To remember,I must know the things in which I have forgotten. When I forget to remember,both my memory and forgetfulness are absent. When I remember forgetfulness, there are present both my memory and forgetfulness. Such is the paradox of memory.

Random Thoughts on religion and science.

I think the desire for spiritual and religious experiences are innate. Joining others who share the same belief system might be beneficial to survival due to group cohesion. Also, we are pre-wired to want to believe in SOMETHING due to the narrative structures and meaning-making systems of the brain. We all seem to have a “gap” in the back of our minds that need constant spiritual refilling and stimulation in order to have a sense of comfort within the vast and otherwise meaningless and overwhelming cosmos (dopamine is probably released when this module for comfort is triggered, causing the reward system to light up over and over again. This could explain why religious worship sessions are repeated in such neurotic and obsessive fashions). All children by default dream up imaginary friends to fill in this gap ( isn’t God merely the adult version of the imaginary friend?).

I think one of the reasons why we are pre-wired to fufill and stimulate this “gap” in our mind is to exercise our imaginative faculties and to practice visualizing alternative realities in order to enhance our abilities to reason morally, to feel empathy, and to enhance and develop other cognitive tasks that make us human. Religion is probably the extended and organized version of our innate capacity to exercise this imaginative faculty – something that is needed in order to outsmart our enemies, preys, and predators in primitive societies. People who “worship” science and the galaxy are, on the structural and categorical level, exercising the same faculties as those of us who are religious…it is merely an ontological difference in the form of its manifestations. A more logical and rational belief system, but it is a belief system nevertheless…one that obeys its own internal and coherent rules and laws.

You can say that science is just another way to interpret reality, but one that still cannot be purely objective due to the observer’s constant interaction with the observed, causing manipulations and distortions within the very object that the subject is attempting to measure.  Subject and object, mind and matter cannot be said to be distinctively matters that are over “there” and “here”. The dualism between the subject and the object is more homogenous than most of us realize because without a “here”, the “there” would be meaningless, since the two terms could only be established relative to each other’s locations in time and in space. So, to have a theory that explains everything, one must take into account the inter-dependency, the endless feedback loop, and the phenomenological interactions between the world and the self. Any theory in regards to reality must considers how such a reality is measured, observed, and hence distorted. And if that theory is established, there needs to be yet another theory that piles on top of it in order to further explain such an explanation, and so on in an infinite loop of inquiries, judgment, and observations.  And I think If we are creatures that walked out of the supernova, and if our very own bodily makeup come from the stars themselves and has its ultimate origin within the properties of the Big Bang, then the act of studying and measuring nature could be said to be analogous to the impossible acts of pointing my index finger at itself or starring at my own eyeballs.

“Imagination is intelligence with an erection”. – Victor Hugo

Q: What are your thoughts on creativity?,

A: 1. If I can define creativity in one sentence, it would be that creativity is the ability to create something that is both novel and useful.
2. There are no thoughts that are purely original…all creative thoughts are built upon previous ones. This is why the Romantic image of the creative genius coming up with brilliant works and ideas while being isolated in their rooms or studios is illusionary and false. Creativity is a social process, where the exchange of thoughts and ideas with other minds is utmost crucial for developing new ideas. This is why we often have the best ideas or “aha!” moments during conversations with others who share our interests. And this is why great ideas sprung out of the cafes in Paris where existential philosophers and Impressionist painters would gather together in groups to discuss and exchange ideas.
3. I think a lot of creative ideas are generated within the subconscious brain. The paradox is that sometimes the harder you try to think of creative ideas, the less likely they are able to surface to the conscious brain. I think deliberate and rational thinking could sometimes block and limit the workings of your unconscious mind. This is why a lot of artists and scientists come up with solutions or creative ideas when they are NOT thinking about the problems at hand. When you merely daydream and just let your mind wander, you are loosening up the rational part of the brain, while allowing your subconsciousness go to work by letting creative ideas and juices flow and surface to the conscious brain.
4. The critical thinking skill is a big part of creativity. When creative ideas surface to the conscious brain, they are usually disorganized, chaotic, and inconsistent, as there are usually a lot more bad ideas than good ones. It is up to the rational and conscious part of the brain and its critical faculty to criticize and pick out and organize the best ideas and turn them into useful and pragmatic solutions. In other words, let your unconsciousness generate as many ideas as you can, and then use your conscious and rational mind to eliminate the bad ones from the good ones. The reason why nobody would care to watch a movie that’s entirely based on dreams despite their creative potentials is that during dreams, the critical mind is asleep, making the images too chaotic and disorganized to have any significant meanings.
5. Creativity is heavily linked to knowledge. The brain must receive a great deal of knowledge from the outside world. Einstein famously said that the imagination is more important than knowledge. But I agree only partially, for the imagination cannot be fruitful or productive without knowledge. Knowledge is like the clay that shapes the sculpture. The more clay you obtain, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the more sculptures you are able to build. The store-room of the creative imagination is always hungry for knowledge. But one needs to know when to give it a great deal of nourishment, and when to let it digest, and later in the right season, let it manifest.
Creative imagination in the mind is analogous to the speed and jumping power of the body. In order to jump high and run fast, one must first gain strength. Only when a certain amount of strength is obtained can the body “digest” it by manifesting and transferring it into speed and power. Similarly, knowledge is the strength that the creative imagination needs in order to be productively and fruitfully manifested and expressed. This is why it takes 10 or more years to be truly creative in a given field or profession, even for geniuses. It takes that much time to obtain enough information and knowledge about your field of expertise in order to use them to create anything useful, new, and interesting.
6. A crucial aspect of imagination is its ability to free us from the limitations and constrains of our physical bodies and surroundings – the ability for alternate courses of action. Imagination is certainly the most weightless and unconstrained of human faculties. Images in the mind are fleet and feathery, and we can, through its unimpeded ability, summon up images at will in order to envisage possible futures and choose accordingly the alternative that is most pragmatic in a given situation. The Romantics favored the imagination because it is the primary locus of human freedom: it is what makes our overt actions free by offering us virtual alternatives. In other words, imagination is the key and essential ingredient for free agency and autonomy.
The reason why animals are in a way, trapped in their bodies and their situations is precisely because they lack imagination (I don’t doubt that animals have imaginations, but their imaginative capacity is too limited to overcome biological determinism) and the alternative courses it offers. And because animals are trapped within biological constrains, they lack the freedom of action to spontaneously create manner of mental products. Indeed, all mental products are the products of imagination, as literature, music, dance, science, philosophy, art, and etc would not be possible if they were not first visualized in the imagination.
7. The possession of imagination allows the brain to become active without its perceiving function and mechanism to be activated. I think it’s fair to say that the fewer perceptions that we receive from the environment through the senses, the more active our imagination is. This explains why our imagination is so active when we close our eyes to try to asleep. Likewise, people who are imprisoned, confined in darkness and silence, are inevitably more relied upon the imagination than they otherwise would…for the imagination, under these circumstances, comes into play without being summoned.
8. Having a creative and an imaginative mind is an important key to having a good vertical jump or lifting big weights. The ability to visualize your motor outputs and physical actions clearly and distinctively in your mind is essential because when you actually perform and carry out these motor skills in reality, your neurons are already primed to do so. Kelly Baggett mentioned that most explosive athletes are right brain dominated…in other words they are good visualizers and imaginers who can hold clear images of what they wish to create or become in their minds. They have practiced their movements over and over again in their minds so that their neurons are already firing and connecting to the actual movements in the precise and correct patterns and structures of the movements that they are going to perform externally with their bodies. I’ve realized that there is little difference between making sculptures and performing a big vertical jump. Both endeavors are creative in nature, as both are acts of transferring what you visualize creatively in your mind into reality. The better you are at generating and producing and manipulating these images in your mind, the better your “products” in reality will turn out to be. In sculpture, the products are of course, the sculptures themselves. But in lifting and in jumping, the product is the self, a being in which you have primed and crafted in your mind. I jump with my mind, not with my body, for everything originates in the brain and the nervous system.

The Absurd and Inefficient Humans.

I think human beings are absurd, inefficient, and strange creatures.  If you look at simpler organisms like fruit flies or bees, you’d realized that ironically, within their simplicity, there arises a sense of complexity and efficiency that are unmatched by higher mammals.  Just think of what fruit flies, ants, and bees do all day through out their whole lifetimes.  They are programmed very efficiently by evolution to be very good at a few things, and they perform these tasks perfectly.  They are machines that are built to carry out very specific parts of certain tasks and do nothing else that are not within their job descriptions.  All parts of their bodies, nervous systems, and movements are crafted toward completing certain and highly specific goals, and there are no parts on their bodies that are “hanging out”, or are “good for nothing”.  They are designed perfectly to play their roles within the environments that they are given with, and they fit perfectly and harmonically within their systems and parameters by applying their specific principles.  In other words, they are EFFICIENT, COMPLEX, FAST, SPECIFIC, and they get the job done (whatever nature asks of them). 

But humans, on the other hand, are sloppy and inefficient by comparison.  We don’t have that specific THING or that specific GOAL to accomplish as a species.  It is as if we were put here on earth not really knowing why we are here (isn’t this a question philosophers constantly ask themselves but a question nobody can find answers to)?  We are good at THINKING, and processing information, you might say.  But the processing powers and the abilities of our brains and our nervous systems are not exactly efficient.  It takes 20 years or more just to learn the basics of life as a human being and to merely exist, problem solve, and survive without guidance from parents.  You call that efficient?  You see, despite our complexity and intelligence, our brains are not really designed for higher level, abstract thinking.  It’s almost impossible to figure out quantum physics and other classic, but nevertheless unsolvable problems of philosophy such as the mind body problem, and the problem of free will. 

Think of how hard it is for the mind to learn calculus.  The computational process of the brain is slow, clunky, inefficient, and sometimes useless.  Compare what we do (thinking) with what a bee does (pollinate flowers), which do you think come more naturally and efficiently?  Bees are by natural flying and pollinating machines, and they carry these tasks out without having to learn them, and they do them unconsciously and automatically because that’s what nature designed them to do ultimately.  But did nature design us to think? To understand math and write poetry or make sculptures?  DO these things come as effortlessly and efficiently as flying and pollinating are for bees?  I don’t think so.  And even when we do come to certain conclusions or understanding about the world, such understanding isn’t exactly necessary from the perspectives of survival and reproduction. 

So in short, I don’t think we are by any means of standards more “complex” or “intelligent”.  Our bodies are weak and are obviously not designed to endure the harshness of nature.  Our brains are our only weapons, but yet, they are not very good at what they do.  Thinking takes a tremendous amount of energy, and the way our brains process complex information is actually  pretty slow, clunky, inefficient, and highly unnatural. 

Sometimes I would walk around and feel the heaviness of my own head, and I would think to myself: Jeez, I look like such a freak of nature with such a huge and inconvenient organ.  Indeed, big heads have a lot of costs.  It makes giving birth very difficult, and humans have the highest mortality rate upon birth, and it takes 20 years just to make our brains mature enough to help us survive on our own without our parents.  Big heads are also prone to head injuries in accidents.  So why on earth did we evolve to be and to look this way?  Why do we have all that extra spaces in our excessive and wasteful brains to do a whole lot nothing?  We don’t FIT within our environments very well, and we have a lot of extra stuff “hanging out” of us that are “good for nothing”.   Intelligence is not even sustainable.  Think of how our intelligence is destroying us already.  Bacteria and viruses, on the other hand, have almost 0 signs of intelligence.  But look how well they are doing.  They have been around since the beginning of life, and will certainly still be around when we wipe ourselves out.  So stop kidding yourself by telling yourself that intelligence is “special” and that it is somehow the pinnacle, or final goal that evolution is driving towards.  It’s not.    

Dreams are mostly non-verbal, abstract,emotional,chaotic.This is why I enjoy the dream world because to me,it is more real,pure,and immediate than the waking world.My internals feel closer to the externals when I experience the dream reality because the world is no longer filtered through linguistic lenses.I don’t have to worry about organizing everything into coherent and meaningful wholes and just LET THINGS BE.

 I am sick of Fortune and Luck following me wherever I go.They are crushing weights on my fragile human body,determining my destiny at every moment of existence,extrinsic to what I essentially am.Had I been born more beautiful,no doubt things would have gone differently.But accidentally,I am ugly.I am the victim of the shell of contingencies that are radically accidental.