Life's a show

I once watched Professional wrestling, and for a period of time, I thought it was real. I remember being routinely frustrated/puzzled as to why they did not have WWF results or standings in the sports page alongside the box scores.

Then, not sure what did it, I learned that in fact, the entire sport is a sham, it's all staged, and is more like theatre than sport, in that there are intentional plot lines, heroes, villains, etc. It's stage drama. 

Drama, like all art, in my opinion, is simply an awesome way our human brain engages in scenarios. Art allows us to explore other realities, other choices, other decisions and consequences, and thus, possibly learn something from these simulations without having to go through the event ourselves.

Science seems to be coming around to the idea that Dreaming - something all mammals do - is the brains way of not only processing new information, but running simulations with this info (and other info), again, to prepare the brain, and thus the body, for a variety of future situations.

This is a powerful functionality and clearly is a feature of "higher" life forms.

But, keep following this train of thought and it the point is quickly surmised: Perhaps our entire reality is but a simulation. 

Nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - is as we think it is, due to our sensory interfaces; we're using the remnants of billions of years of evolution to interact with reality, but these interfaces are but tools, means for a lifeform to survive. They do not speak in any way to the "truth" or actual reality of... reality.

For example, define the color "Blue". You could try using a spectrum, and that would be scientifically valid. I could define blue as "anything that is more likely to reflect the blue spectrum of light and absorb other spectrums".

And even that definition is dependent on understanding our sense organs. Which are failable.

And thus, perhaps you can see how our lives themselves might be considered a simulation in some higher reality, since the truth is, we have little idea at all about our true existence.

Long story short: For the kid freakin' out above, the question of whether wrestling is real or fake, or if life is a simulation, or if our very atoms are but points of a string that floats among infinite dimensions... all these things are pointless, in the moment. Cuz he's feeling it, and feelings are as real as we get.


3hree said...

first you posit that there might be "some higher reality" but then you dismiss that consideration as ultimately pointless because the kid's feelings are "as real as we get." not so fast - the kid's response is authentic and is "higher." look into the eyes of a child, even as old as the kid you depict, and then look at an adult's. the same?

but does that violence act on him? does that experiences change him? perhaps his witnessing such violence doesn't make any difference whatsoever, or perhaps it is a modern "rite of passage" and par for the course.

but look into the eyes of a child, even as old as the kid you depict, and then look at an adult's, and how can you not wonder when we learn to distrust our eyes, our reason, our feelings, where cynicism comes from.

rumi said "counterfeits exist because there is such a thing as real gold." you lament bankruptcy and counterfeits, but what if there is such a thing as real gold. are all your experiences just so many matrix counterfeits, or might there be something real - maybe one moment - that might be salvaged from the rest of your drama, art, science, and train of thought? just wondering.

Redshirt said...

Great stuff. First, I will never deny I might be contradictory - many of these posts are pretty spur of the moment, and to quote Whitman: "I am large, and contain multitudes". But, having read your comments several times, I think I'm standing by my points here: Nothing is real as we understand it to be real. Gold, for example, is an element forged in stars that is defined by its atomic properties, and nothing else. That reality of gold, however, has little to do with how we experience the reality of gold in our world: As money, as an object of desire, as treasure, etc.

So, simply put, our understanding of the reality of Gold (day to day understanding) has little to do with a higher understanding of it (atomic), and I'm also suggesting that this atomic understanding is just a stand in, that there are deeper realities which we of yet are not aware of.

But, to bring this back to wrasslin' kid, while that's all true, it's all very dusty and semantical; it can mean nothing in a person's life.

Here's where I'm going: Everything is meaningless, on so many levels, that attempting to find meaning "out there" is pointless. The only meaning we'll ever find is internal, meaning that we create. Fictions. Simulations.

Our lives are fictions, some more rewarding than others. We have a chance to be the authors of some of this fiction if we choose/if we will it; or, we can live in ignorance of this, and be at the whims of whatever wills surround us.

If nothing means anything, than what we do means everything, because that's all we have.

Maybe. Great points though -- thanks for them. You've given me a lot to consider.

3hree said...

you contain multitudes. what if those multitudes are "counterfeits" - or worse? is there anything real in there? a needle in the haystack? does a child contain multitudes? and, fuck, what if there is something real, something that is not contrived or copying something else - is that something real alive? might i recognize it even if i experienced it?

what i'm trying to say is that your favorite lament, that things are meaningless or random or subjective, colors your reality, so that immediately after suggesting there might be a higher understanding of "gold" you instead reject that out of hand to conclude that such esotericism can't have any bearing on the wrestling kid's daily life. and maybe you're right. but maybe being right somehow misses the point.

Redshirt said...

Good stuff! Thanks. First, what is "real". I'm going all Morpheus here on you, but I don't think "real" can be defined. Our existence is relative, subjective, and illusory.

And the dilemma I am attempting to understand myself - and you seem to have a specific idea on this front, and if you do, please elaborate - is, given this knowledge, so what?

What does the realization that everything is an illusion actually do for you? One thing it can obviously do is fill a person with doubt, indecision, etc. They may not be able to act in the world.

Another example: Scientifically speaking - and this is as true as we can know a thing, via science - we never touch anything. When you pick up a ball, for example, the molecules that make up the ball and the molecules that make up your hand never come in contact. Instead, what we identify as "touch" is really the interaction of the electrical fields in the atoms in the ball, and the atoms in your hands.

So, the "truth" as we understand it now (and I say now, because down the road science might reveal that the electrical field is really just an emanation of a "deeper" field, maybe from a different dimension, again, just for example. "Truth" in science is always a temporary condition.) is that we touch nothing; however, when I pick up that ball, I feel it, its texture, its weight; I can throw it; I can catch it - I can interact with it.

This is what I am trying to get at: One level of "truth" which is our day to day level, of a ball. Another level of "truth" which tells me I'm not really touching a ball at all. But, does this other level of "truth" mean anything? I'm still going to duck if someone throws the ball at my head, for example.

Everything colors our reality - our reality is a fiction. I just tried to show, above, how I am living a fiction in regards the ball. I know of it's higher reality, but it does not seem germane to a day to day reality, so I live the fiction of a real tangible ball.

And yet, as you are reading, I am aware of both - how to integrate both these realities is the question, I suppose.

I would love to hear how you define "real". The word is entirely subjective from my perspective.

3hree said...

i can sometimes talk the talk, but no, i don't know what i'm talking about.

you started with that kid; the kid is my touchstone too - for what is real. most of the children i see are in the elevator where i live or on the street. seeing how they walk or their eyes or any manifestation reminds me of something unlearned, open - real? there is something cynical and miserable in me, qualities i even identify with as though it is me that is cynical, me that is miserable. yet children sometimes remind me that my cynical and miserable self might be an imposter, usurper, the product of learning and conditioning. all i'm suggesting is that your reductive lament itself might be a tiny bit over-broad; in rejecting everything that is a sham, it might also exclude something real. throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Redshirt said...

Sham is a strong word. I prefer "Fiction". This is a key point: everything we know about the world comes through our sense and is liable to be shaped and bent according to time and place. We only engage/experience the world via our senses, and as science has clearly shown, they only offer a limited window into the universe.

So, first point: We live fictions, with many different authors, prime among them though is our own brains. We write our own fictions, in part.

This is true for everyone and everything.

Now, there are other fictions we live - like believing that Pro-Wrestling is real. The kid no doubt thinks so, but you and I know he's fooling himself.

In such a case, again I ask, what is real? The kid's feelings are real, but based entirely on a fiction.

I think you might interpret me over negatively, however. I'm coming at this from the following Buddhist mode;
There is a mountain - normal thinking
There is no mountain - first realizations of a deeper reality
There is a mountain - synthesis of first two points of view, and model for operating in this world of fictions.

The task is once you have seen through these fictions, realized the world is not remotely as we thought it was, what do you replace that with? What system of values do you have when you reject the verity of values?

It's a tricky dilemma, and can easily veer into the nihilistic/solipstic. But I believe this is the path we must walk if we are to gain higher awareness. Though there's plenty of ways of getting there.

3hree said...

even buddhism posits subtle realms and has values. buddhism doesn't get entangled in dilemmas, but like koans compassionately sidestep their seeming duality.

i spent lots of time sitting zen while being smart enough to chart the course of my own development and enlightenment. i didn't realize that it was my ego that had summed it all up in advance. ha - my ego was enlightened! if i had a guide worth his salt he'd have cracked me over the head and set me packing.

studying the matrix sounds worthwhile, increasing discernment. but those glitches, where neo noticed some repeat or deja vu or coincidence might be more interesting than all the 0s and 1s. moments like - a simple coincidence, compassion, an insight, gratitude.

what if all that objective stuff you write about is really somehow subjective - that is, real enough, but limted by and subject to contemporary educated understanding; but what if certain real moments stand outside of our ability to reason? then who might know, how would you approach such a conundrum, where might you seek it?

tea time.

Redshirt said...

First off, thank you for the excellent conversation. I've really enjoyed it, and you've got me thinking. I hope you have enjoyed it as well.

You keep going back to this idea of a "real moment", or an "Authentic" event amidst the various flotsam of daily life.

What are you getting at by this? What's the destination, in other words?

Because I feel as if I've come to a point - or am nearing a point - where all the negations of the past are over with. I am ready to view and accept everything as is. Or am prepared to try.

As I described in the Buddhist mountain analogy earlier, I had one set of assumptions, that I grew up with, that I later learned was not true. I then began a long process of deconstructing all previous beliefs to find out what was real about them. What I found was, nothing. There was nothing real, all fictions.

But now I've come to the point where, obviously, I exist in this mystery which is our world, and there's no doubt there's something to it. Even with a heavy science background, I am hesitant to declare anything, because I know whatever declaration I make is but a temporary condition, an insight or an attempt at describing something we can never understand.

And this is my destination: To realize that our lives, as such, our fictions, and yet we do exist, in a reality far grander and more magical than any religion could ever come up with - we are miracles, living in a miracle.

I am simply trying to fully live this realization - to me, this is the last part of the mountain analogy: yes, there's a "mountain" there, but it's not what you think it is. It's really sand, melting, temporary as everything else.

As I've said elsewhere in this blog, everything is a fiction to describe the only truth I feel at all confident in speaking: Our reality is nothing more than the transformation of energy.

How you label these transformations, these energies, is entirely subjective, and ultimately besides the point. Just words.

The real point is: Change.

And I believe there is real value in understanding this, and a vehicle to live ones life in accordance with such a view.