Saturday, August 01, 2009

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.


This place is where I get all my gear.


So, I am in the midst of some kind of religious conversion experience in how I view the nature of reality. Like an atheist's religious vision.

Replete with wrestling with an angel till dawn.

Getting my hip dislocated.

My angel is not Gabriel but neuroscience and physics.


I've been reading Tor Norretrander's "The User Illusion", among others, and I just got this feeling that the whole endeavor of religion and spirituality was, of course, a search for meaning, a desire to know the structure and purpose of reality, but one driven primarily by the desire to reconcile the difference between the way our conscious selves and our unconscious selves process our environments.

Since our conscious minds have a relatively narrow bandwidth, a lot of the processing our sensory apparatus does is simply the discarding of information before it gets to the conscious mind. The unconscious gets access to billions and billions of bits of information that the conscious mind never gets to see or be aware of- because that much information would only gum up the works of the conscious mind and shut it all down. So the unconscious gets all this information- the pressure of the chair on your ass, the sounds of the house creaking and cracking around you, the temperature, the movement of the air, your gurgling stomach, etc, etc; meanwhile your conscious mind deals with what you are thinking about, what you are trying to say, what the person you're talking with is saying or even what they mean or might mean, etc.

What Norretranders says is that our conscious mind is like the operating system, Windows or Mac, and that the unconscious is like the binary 1's and 0's that all that stuff is made of inside the computer. If you didn't have your conscious mind, you'd be inundated with all this flood of data you just couldn't make sense of. With the conscious mind you get to have a pretty interface with reality that makes sense to you. You click on something, you open a folder, drag something to the trash, it's all concrete. You can see it and understand it.

So what happens is that there is this huge gulf of unprocessed information between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind, and that is the source of all of these interesting things that happen that don't make sense to the conscious mind because it thinks it knows everything and doesn't realize or want to admit that it is being kept in the dark about 90 percent of what goes on. So the unconscious mind is reading your partner's body language and knows she's about to do or say something and it tells your body or your conscious mind to do something and before you know it, you're reacting to something you think you had no idea that you knew.

It's possible that this is the source of our ideas of God, ghosts, ESP, magic, etc.


The thing is, the world as it is is impossibly complex and beautiful and amazing, and the massive amount of stunning wonder available in a single moment of time is sufficient for any one of us to gaze upon in open-mouthed awe for a billion years.

Why do we go looking for something else? Something more?


Our tables are piled to the heavens with numberless blessings.


"The sun come up, it was blue and gold.
The sun come up, it was blue and gold.
The sun come up, it was blue and gold,
ever since I put your picture in a frame..."



Blogger dottie kee bones said...

that must be a pretty good review because i think i will read this book.

and i've never commented on the word verification ever (and doubt i'll do it again) but this time it's:


...which is interesting, isn't it.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

I adore you. You make even my world make sense.

1:07 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Ms. Bones-

Oh, do read it. It's pretty trick. I got bogged down sometimes because he gets pretty technical and small-scale and weird in places, but I was glad I kept on going.

Yeah, how about that grail thing, huh?


Anyway, I can't say how glad I am that you're stopping in from time to time.

yrs- tearful

2:54 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


No, I adore YOU! You make it okay that the world doesn't make sense.

I hope you are okay. You sound like you are jousting with some big ol' windmills.

I urge caution.



2:56 PM  
Blogger LKD said...

It's probably the wrong thing to say, but you just made me miss getting high.

I never got high to escape anything (that's a lie--it was the only way I could deal, but not dealing, with my grief after my father died).

I got high to feel everything more intensely.

I miss that. I miss feeling like I was so alive that I was....radiating.

6:07 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


I doubt very much that you aren't radiating right fucking now. And always.

I can feel it all the way out here in Cali.

You are one of the most alive creatures I've ever come across.

But seriously, the whole cat thing??? Don't you know they are aliens sent here to eat our brains????

Or something?


brother tearful of the dishwashing sect

6:15 PM  
Blogger 21k said...

Wow. Wonderful. That whole idea of the flood of data that is mostly kept in storage in the unconscious mind until required, reminded me of the brain surgeon who had a stroke and was able to analyze it, witness it as it was happening. And the way she described it was like that, as if her whole unconscious suddenly poured over her and she became a being that was part of everything, which makes communication rather impossible. It also reminded me of tripping.

You also reminded me of when I was a little girl, how much I believed in goodness and God and yet how troubling I found it.

Thank you for you.

11:46 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

That Jill Bolte Taylor...did you see her on TED? She completely blows my mind. to think that that kind of experience could be available to all of us if we could somehow shut down or dim the conscious mind....a stroke is one way, but a little extreme.

I think of you often, up there in yr wild world. You have got it in both hands, nor will you let loose of it.



1:38 PM  

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