Consciousness, perception, and the nature of reality

The following video is a free-form re-run of some of the material from my post entitled “Unmasking the nature of reality,” for those who are averse to reading large portions of text. It also contains some useful visuals to help you wrap your head around the concepts I’m discussing.

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8 thoughts on “Consciousness, perception, and the nature of reality

  1. Rob Miller says:

    Very interesting – I’m still trying to understand your shift in mindset – very difficult from a perspective on a blog. You do say that religion “dictates” what you believe I think that seems strong. At a base sense though we are conditioned into doing alot of things.

    Take for instance waiting in a queue. Most everyone does it, but then you get queue jumpers who try their hand at not having to wait like everyone else. Rightly or wrongly unspoken rules condition our day to day life.

    I guess I wonder what is causing your decision to accept and disregard certain premises about day to day life in general?

  2. Darryl Sloan says:

    Hi, Rob.

    “You do say that religion “dictates” what you believe I think that seems strong.”

    I don’t want to offend, but I do want to be accurate.

    Most Christians I know give the Bible absolute authority over their minds, as the inerrant Word of God (despite its errors). For instance, if you started having doubts about whether there really was such a thing as a “sinful nature,” wondering perhaps if there is another explanation for the evil in our lives, how far will you go down that road before you think, “But the Bible says … so that must be true”?

    Think about when you and I first became Christians in our late teens. What did we really know about anything? Speaking for myself, I was responding to a message that was part threat of damnation, and part promise of fulfillment of what was missing from my life. And there I was, sacrificing my freedom of thought to the teachings of the Bible, giving it permission to do my thinking for me, assuming it to be the “Word of God” through nothing more than the conditioning of my upbringing and the opinions of those around me.

    Religion is dictated information, handed to you on a platter, with no permission to question it, by virtue of its (claimed) divine origin. But if you want to make a claim like that, a claim that demands everyone else see life your way (or else), then you need some serious evidence to back it up. Instead, what we have is a culture of people who all believe the same thing and embrace the herd mentality. Just like you have with other religions and their holy writings, whether it’s Utah and the Book of Mormon, or Iraq and the Qur’an. Christianity does not stand apart from all others; it’s an expression of exactly the same herd mentality.

    Bottom line: we were given a mind to use, not to give away.

    “At a base sense though we are conditioned into doing alot of things.”

    Very true. And it’s very likely that I have not yet woken up to all the conditioning that is played upon me in life. It’s a process. Some time ago, before this “spiritual” awakening, I woke up to the horrors of the food industry. I’ve become a bit maverick in other ways, such as choosing to abandon cars. I’m not saying everyone should do what I do; I’m saying everyone should step away from the herd and be individual.

    I make it a personal priority to see through the hypnotic trance of life more and more.

  3. Darryl Sloan says:

    “I guess I wonder what is causing your decision to accept and disregard certain premises about day to day life in general?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question. Based on your examples, are you essentially asking, “Why don’t you become a queue jumper?” 🙂

    I think you might be misunderstanding what’s at the heart of this. Waking up from conditioning does not lead automatically to rebellious behaviour and anarchy (that’s your belief in “original sin” talking); it’s the taking back of personal responsibility for your own actions and their consequences.

  4. Robert Miller says:

    I’m not sure I understand the question. Based on your examples, are you essentially asking, “Why don’t you become a queue jumper?”

    No No Not at all 😀

    Sacrificing my freedom of thought to the teachings of the Bible, giving it permission to do my thinking for me, assuming it to be the “Word of God” through nothing more than the conditioning of my upbringing and the opinions of those around me.

    It is not only the Bible however that conditions our upbringing and our opinions though. I think the idea is what do you let condition your thoughts? It seems you want autonomy over all your thoughts, but that seems unrealistic.

  5. Darryl Sloan says:

    I think it comes down to one thing: question everything. And not just the information you receive. Get right down to the hidden assumptions that shape our own thinking. For instance, the athiest’s assumption that the material universe is the fundamental building block from which all rational deduction must stem. The Christian’s assumption that the Bible tells an accurate account of history.

    “I think the idea is what do you let condition your thoughts?”

    How is it possible to let something condition you? Conditioning is something that happens because you don’t see through it. Seeing through it then turns conditioning into freedom of choice.

    For me it’s simple. Step outside the zeitgeist. Never assume something is right by strength of numbers. Across the planet you can find hundreds of belief systems, with each person looking at the person next to them for confirmation that they’ve got it right. To get to any real truth you have to ignore the crowd and be individual.

  6. Rob Miller says:

    But you do let things condition you everyday – I think I am back up to what you do for the good of the society in which you live. You are being governed by things that are put in place by the powers that be that surround you, conditioned as it were by things you may be unaware of. I think the personal responsibility is vital – it means that you cannot blame someone or something else for your actions.

    In terms of conditioning – surely as you read more on Consciousness, perception, and the nature of reality you are allowing the thoughts of other writers and thinkers influence your perspective – “condition you” if you will?

  7. Darryl Sloan says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. 🙂 Seriously.

    “Surely as you read more on ‘Consciousness, perception, and the nature of reality’ you are allowing the thoughts of other writers and thinkers influence your perspective – ‘condition you’ if you will?”

    I won’t. 🙂 You’re misunderstanding what’s meant by “conditioning.” I’m talking about the beliefs and attitudes that get into you by bypassing conscious awareness. You can play the “help me, I don’t want to go to hell” game, or the “this world is all there is” game, or the “it must be right because everyone else says so” game, or the “what will the neighbours think?” game, and countless others. Conditioning is what happens when you don’t think about the underlying causes of your beliefs and attitudes. The subject of my video was the conditioning of sensory experience that lulls you into thinking the universe is solid, when it may be nothing but a “frequency” to which your consciousness is tuned.

    When I read with a critical mind, on any subject, that is not conditioning. It’s education.

    “I think the personal responsibility is vital – it means that you cannot blame someone or something else for your actions.”

    I’m all for personal responsibility, but you seem to think that we live in a world where no one is ever manipulated and coerced, where no one’s beliefs are bent and shaped by things outside of their awareness. Look up the Jesus Camp documentary on YouTube and tell me all those kids are fully responsible for their actions:

    The reality that I see is that to one extent or another, people are living in a kind of hypnotic trance. And hypnotised people are not responsible for their actions. Only when you wake up and become aware of the manipulation can you take back your personal responsibility, and that’s a joyous moment.

  8. Darryl Sloan says:

    I was re-reading your comment, and I may have missed your point in what I said above. Am I right in thinking that the point you’re trying to make is that conditioning of one kind or another is inescapable in life?

    I don’t know that I agree with that. I do agree that it can be extremely hard to spot, and I get your point that conditioning can slip in unawares when you’re reading something – even reading critically.

    But where are you going with this argument? Are you saying that because conditioning is inescapable, we should just let it all wash over us any way it wants to?

    I would suggest we make it a priority of life to see through our conditioning in all its forms. Regarding the effects on us of what we read, a good antidote to conditioning is to read outside your comfort zone – which is why, as a Christian, I happily read Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.

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