The Big Picture
We wake up and go to work, school, play, or something every day without giving much thought to the “big picture.” Existence and the universe are grandiose topics, and only a small part of the big picture. Paying the bills, getting the kids to school and helping them with their lives, conducting the biological business of living, and all demands of being alive leave us little time to ponder the big picture. Everyone has a life to live, and when the big picture is pondered a veritable infinity of thoughts pass through the consciousness. Therein lies the problem.
The problems of the world are many. Some are adventures and some are no fun at all. Every conceivable shade of problem between adventure and fun seem to be part of our lives. Some of the problems of the world are targets for elimination by this author. Anything that stands between all the people becoming sources of unconditional love for everyone is going to be focused on and attempts are going to be made to bring about a species-wide surmounting of them all.
It feels weird to write that I want to end war. Is that not something everyone already automatically wants? Maybe not. Humans are complex. It may be easily thought that no one knows everyone. Even more easily thought is that no one knows everyone who has ever existed. So how can it be said that everyone wants to end war? But no one implies everyone. For example; if no one knows everyone, everyone doesn’t know everyone. Now that’s funny. It is also very demonstrative of the complex and complicated processes humans conduct. Human processes are the area where the obstacles between us today and that later day when everyone loves everyone lie.
There is one primary reason the words before you now exist at all. Love. My love for you and my desire for you to love me and everyone else have caused them. The imaginary image of the world in which all people love all other people is so splendid it evokes a burning and compelling motivation to make it real. It is a vision. It is a vision of the world, the universe, the stuff of which we are made and in which we operate as living beings. But! Humans have a strong and compelling vision that is not actually part of the universe. They see it as where God is, where beings are that are not part of the physical universe.
That vision is something that stands between now and that time when we all love one another. So, it will come into this effort. Ultimately, though, it will be something that we can agree to tackle after we address the problems of the universe that forces us to take a breath to live.
Technically, we don’t have to breath, but if we intend to keep our bodies alive, it appears that we do. There is a failsafe built into us that makes this seem obvious. If we try to resist breathing long enough, we faint and breathing restarts automatically. Failure to breath for about five minutes seems to result in instant death. Who knows? Nothing is certain. Maybe someone managed to sustain a body without breathing. Until we have come to know everyone alive and everyone who has ever lived, we are not qualified to say what everyone does or has done.
There are lesser reasons, too. Answers to some very interesting questions will be sought. Questions that have shown themselves to be obstacles thwarting the progress to love are only part of it. Questions that are simply informational will also be addressed. Is the universe infinite; what happens when we die; is there a god; and more questions like them are worthy questions. Some are directly impacting the gap between people and some are more akin to data. But data has its consequential property, so the mental process of separating them is going to be set aside as an academic adventure for those who enjoy such things and the answers will be sought regardless of any categorization that can be made.
Questions! There are many questions beings such as us ask. What is a question? That is one that gets little attention, but not here. Founded upon the possibility that the questions we ask are creating problems in the process to universal love for one another, questions about questions will be asked and answers sought. The very nature of thought will be examined.
You are already reading the words before you. So, it is time to state some things that are very basic. Primarily, it is an activity known as cooperation. If you are not reading this, you are not cooperating. If you are reading this, you are already cooperating. Such a thing is worthy of examination. What does it mean to cooperate?
The answer is, agreeing to do something together. It doesn’t have to be a conscious agreement, but let’s agree consciously. If you don’t want to do this, you can stop reading right here, or not. The choice is yours, if you believe in choice. I am trying to find people who will cooperate with me. Together we can do something to bring people to universal love. Maybe we can only assist one person. Maybe we can assist billions.
The “big picture” is just words. They are a feeble effort to bring to mind a thought of everything. Contemplating everything is a serious activity. It may not even be possible for a human to do it with anything approaching accuracy and completeness. Comprehending the big picture is likely unlikely. We attempt it. That is all. We ponder or think; more words. How well we do might not be determinable. We simply do what we can and keep living, but we also attempt to communicate.
Communicating requires cooperation and agreement. We have to agree to use the same language and we have to agree to the definitions of words. Above all, the participants to the communication have to commit to understanding what is conveyed. The reason we communicate is to make another or others know what we think.
The popular concept that pictures are painted, songs are written, poems are written, and some other methods of communications are done to stimulate the viewer and/or recipient to understand whatever they get from it, are fine for such things. But this should not overwhelm or negate the primary purpose of communication; to put into the mind of another precisely what we want to put there. The words you are reading are in no way intended to be interpreted as you wish. They are created to have you know what I want you to know. There is no wiggle room. There is no desire to have someone get from them whatever they desire. It is what the author desires that is the meaning, purpose, and hope. After that is accomplished, anything else is fine.
The English language is riddled with pitfalls into which its users can fall. The communicator can fail to convey, and the recipient can fail to receive, and the recipient can fail to comprehend both accurately and completely. Failure to communicate is likely the largest cause for argument and worse. Words have many meanings and their usage is at best difficult to use with precision. Understanding is even more difficult. The parties to communication must cooperate in a team effort of achieve success.
In the military, spoken orders are repeated by the recipient. This is done to verify receipt of the order. In the general society, this is seldom done, but it might improve our communication success rate. Most often such verification is unnecessary, but there are complex topics that demand it. Theology, philosophy, politics, and technology are among them. Verify that receipt.
To augment that method, verification of understanding could prevent mistakes in areas where precise communication can prevent long term problems. We can hear what someone says and still not understand what they are trying to communicate. All too often the recipient understands what they are predisposed to think is being said. Reading can be done in that way, too. Mistakes happen, and they often are not even recognized.
The price for mistakes has been high and can be higher as human power grows. We must not assume we understand what another is trying to say. We must verify it. When someone says something like, ‘Do you know what I mean?’ they are attempting to confirm understanding. Problems could be avoided by verifying that the meaning has been understood as delivered. Imagine the problem that could result when the order is given to push the nurse button and the listener hears nuke instead of nurse. Now imagine all the less drastic examples of the same failure to communicate.
The written words before you are being carefully chosen to avoid a failure to communicate. This may result in some tedious phrasing and ponderous word defining. The ultimate purpose of the words is the saving of the world. Yes. It is a big job and one that I cannot accomplish alone. But it is probably the best goal to aspire toward. The life cycle of stars and planets are outside my power, but the world is threatened by humans. It can be saved by them, too. It is multifold objective that includes world peace, prosperity, adventure, advancement, love, and many other worthwhile goals. That seems to make tedious and ponderous efforts both for author and reader seem a small price to pay.
People are complex. Communicating is fraught with problems. One of the largest is understanding the recipient well enough to get the message through. Decades of effort to gain such understanding have proven to be helpful but there seems to be no possibility to do so comprehensively. There are so many individuals in the world, and each one has its own set of characteristics.
Human beings are still the subject of research and study by specialists. The workings of the brain are simply fantastically complex and complicated. We know that people are psychological organism. The conscious, the subconscious, the emotional character, and the body make understanding them nearly impossible. To get the meaning of this written effort by understanding the reader, a best effort is all that can be hoped. Cooperation is essential. Confirmation is essential. Understanding is essential. It has to be done by writer and reader. Help will be appreciated. The need for cooperation has never been greater.
Looking out into the air that gravity holds tentatively to the Earth, sights of incredible beauty are laced with every shade of sorrow, horror, and destruction. The natural world has a share of such things, but the humans have a disproportionate one. People are still struggling with countless problems that are flowing over into the environment at a pace that suggests a denouement that could be the end of Life itself.
The big picture is perceived in so many different ways the need for unity is exaggerated by the side effects of perception. Fundamental concepts that are rooted in questions about the big picture have wreaked havoc the world over for a very long time. Humans have slowly increased the scope of their ability to affect the world until it has become a threat to the life sustaining powers of Earth. Power that is wielded by people who have concepts of the big picture that differ with those of other people has already laid waste to vast areas of the land and waters as they fight for a supremacy of those concepts. The need for unification is a painful craving.
As we cling to our concepts, the death throes of the planet rattle the foundations of all we have accomplished so far. Building on generations of progress interrupted by regress, people have come to a time when it is more important than ever to resolve the fundamental arguments that have racked the planet in devastating calamity. War and accidents now have the potential to extinguish all life. But the potential for the opposite is as great, maybe greater.
Human conflict is something that pleads for resolution. It screams in agonizing peals. In answer, the words before you are offered with humility and hope. For the good it will do and with hopes of heading off the fatal plunge into the depths of nullity, hear this plea that screams from the written word.
We have everything to lose and everything to gain. Which way we will go is up to us. The conflicts between us are not insuperable. They lie in waiting for the stroke that will end them for they have no desire to live. We can put them out of their misery and bring them the peace they need almost as desperately we do.
Ending the conflicts that can be traced back through time into the foggy past is finally possible. Their cause is the place to start. Who knows when conflict began among humans? Ideas that humans were crude caveman types suggest crude conflicts over biological needs. In time the conflicts became part of social organization ways and means. As society progressed, specialization became possible and comprehension of the big picture began to improve, but the dissemination of the knowledge gained by it became a communications matter.
Questions about the universe, God, life, death, and everything else have less power to affect the world when they are private questions within the inquirer. When we began to tell others what we wondered and what we thought, we began to have conflict. When we consider the questions, we tend to take what we think as beliefs, and beliefs are a form of bias. Deciding upon something affects behavior and when behavior affects others, the decisions become the business of those affected. Almost everything everyone does and thinks has become the business of everyone else. People have decided upon answers to the old questions, but they do not agree with everyone.
This has led to things as horrible as wars, and wars have led to even greater bias and conflict. It is cyclic and cumulative. But all the questions have answers. It is more important to find them than to win a battle for supremacy. The conflict can be resolved if it is approached in cooperation instead of competition. There is no advantage to be had that justifies derailing the final objective. When the questions are answered and understood, advantage will be a dead concept seen as a deterrent to peace, prosperity, and fulfillment.
What use is an advantage over others when one is fulfilled? Fulfillment is but one of the conditions we can have. The dire outlook is a pale vision in the brilliant light of our prospects. We are not yet able to envision the possibilities comprehensively. A short glimpse would elate and invigorate anyone. If it were not so, the words before you would never have come to be.
The answers to the questions that have plagued mankind for answers through the ages are not going to come from this author. Such things are best realized. There are probably an infinite number of important questions and answers. We can come to realize the answers together and here you will find some methods and thoughts that might assist us in joining together in cooperative team efforts to make everyone happy. I don’t have all the answers, but I have given my life to finding them. It has become clear that there are enough answers that we all can agree on to make it possible to find the rest together.
There are ways to solve most of our current problems and get on a track that can make the search for answers an exciting adventure that leaves in its wake beauty and bounty. We can live in peace and prosperity without the myriad of plagues and conflicts that prevail today. So, please consider some things you will find presented here that could get us closer to that.
The vastness of the big picture, or the universe, is becoming more evident to humans as time passes. It now appears that it could be infinite and that would negate a possibility of knowing it all for knowing itself is a tricky thing, or non-thing, and may have limits. We can discuss the universe and knowing. It must be true because we are doing it right now.
The universe and knowing. What a thing, and non-thing. Human thought is difficult to think about objectively. After all, you and I are human, and we are pretty much bound to our personal perspectives as humans. So, why think about it at all? One possible answer is that knowing and understanding the universe could help us in some way.
Can we establish a goal, you and me? It is a matter of cooperation. If we decide to cooperate, we can decide to establish a goal. The mind races with possibilities. At this point, I am presenting a goal to know and understand the universe. We probably are trying to know and understand the universe already. It seems to be an involuntary act that comes with trying to survive and to feel the way we want to feel. However, we can make it voluntary. First, it will require some more thought, like finding an answer to the question; What is the universe?
When we consider what something is, we are really trying to define it. This is because we are thinking. Everything is what it is whether we define it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, and whether what we think is wrong or not. The universe is what it is.
A big surprise came popping up when that statement was presented to a variety of people. Some cannot accept it as stated. In mathematics, we agree that one is equal to one. This type of reasoning fails for some when a similar statement is made; The universe is what it is.
People come in a variety of models. Some will argue that the universe is a relative concept of the mind. It becomes quite complex and eventually becomes a waste of time. The old game known as sophistry can easily be misunderstood and one can actually believe the argument is not just as game. At this point in this process you see before you, we experience one of the first examples of proof that cooperation is vital.
In life, there are things that are vital. The relativity of the universe can be discussed only as long as the things that are clearly not relative are acknowledged and tended. When a relative universe concept someone holds dear stops that person’s breathing, the relativity concept dies with the person. There are imperatives we all live with.
Study of human thought reveals thoughts that belie even the imperatives of living. There is the huge one many hold, including myself, that humans have an immortal soul. A soul by any other name is a word play. Call it anything. It will bring an end to communication’s success. Toss this effort aside and go about your activities knowing that you decided not to cooperate. Then think about the fact that you did something in this universe, the one that compels you to ‘go about your activities.’ You can hold any concept as true, but every time you do, you do so in the universe that is what it is and cannot be anything ever other than what it is whether you can articulate in mentally or understand it in your soul or not. The purpose of this writing is strictly for those of us who want to live.
Now we come to an absolute. We want to live. Those of us who want to live will honor your desire to think the universe is not what it is and your desire to be your immortal soul so much you lay your body that is reading these words aside. You do not have to cooperate. That is a basic foundation of freedom. Another is the freedom to cooperate.
If we can move past the infinite supply of alternative to any and everything and begin to build a foundation upon which to build the means of understanding the universe, we can go back to defining the universe. Building consensus as we go, we might be able to finally unravel the Gordian Knot that has bewildered humans for so long.
For clarity, we could say that the universe is the physical matter, but that leaves out space and energy. It also leaves out thought. We need to have a definition that facilitates communication. So, let’s define the universe as the physical matter that is not alive as we define life. Then we can add all living things, every form of life, as something in the universe.
We can think that the life forms are part of the universe, including humans, but that would make communication more difficult. Just to make communication easier, let’s agree to add life forms as somethings that are in the universe. That will facilitate later discussion of an old idea that humans were put here, or came here, or got trapped here, evolved here and similar ideas. We are, therefore, all in the universe by definition.
But what is ‘life?’ What is a ‘life form?’ These words seem to derive one from the other. However, it will help to refine each so that we can communicate accurately. Defining life is an old effort. Humans have been doing it for a long time already. We think we know what a life form is. There is little difficulty recognizing the difference between a rock and a human. We can better insure effective communication by refining that definition. Is a muscle cell a form of life? See what I mean. A muscle cell meets dictionary definitions of life. Why don’t we define life as those things composed of cells, even those that are composed of only one cell but live independently of other cells. An organism is a conglomerate of cells that act together, and one celled life forms do the same thing without help from other cells. Now, we have defined ‘life form,’ but what about ‘life?’
Life! What a concept! Is life something life forms have? Is it a force? There a plenty of articles and books that try to define life. It reaches into religious arenas, too. In science, it is defined as something that has a group of processes it does. The list is still debated and not altogether precise. Religions suggest that life is something God creates. Since we are simply attempting to establish a meaningful method to communicate, we can define ‘life’ and that which animates matter. Since all the things we know a life forms are made of matter, it follows that something made that matter come to life. So, life is an animator. Whether it is a force or a divine action is something that we can examine later.
The physical universe has more than what we call ‘matter.’ It is obvious. Space is real. Thought is real. Emotions are real. Energy is real. None of these are made of matter. These can be referred to as ‘non-things’ to make communications function smoothly. The non-things are difficult to consider and discuss, but difficulty is nothing but an adventure. We don’t want to be bored. Do we? Let’s cooperate and see if we can accomplish some wonderful things for ourselves.
Next, we define, ‘know.’ It is not an easy subject to write about or to discuss. What does it mean to ‘know?’ If it is something life forms do, it is not a form of matter but something that comes from matter animated by life. Knowing is a non-thing, but it is an important one and it needs a qualifier. It needs to be ‘true knowing.’
This is becoming quite an adventure. To contemplate knowing is difficult enough. Contemplating and communicating about true knowing is exponentially more difficult. But we can handle it if we simple cooperate in defining the terms. After all, that is all it really is, terms. Truth is a term. It is a valiant term and useful one.
The truth is the truth. It is noting else. It is what it is. That seems fair to say. Truth is a word that represents a human concept. We want to think that what we think, or know, is correct. If it is, we think the term ‘truth.’ That is about all there is to it. To refine our understanding, we say to ourselves that we think, and we say we know. These are two different non-things. What we think we hold to be something that can be changed. When we say we know, we are saying that what we think will not need to be changed. That makes what we think qualify for our term truth. We are convinced that what we think is correct. If we do this cautiously, we remain open to discovering that what we think is the truth is not the truth, it is incorrect.
It is a human tendency to want to know and to be correct. Humans have held the things they know to be correct throughout history only to later discover they are incorrect the entire time. There are fundamental reasons to desire being correct, and to shun being incorrect. For example, if you think you are correct in your knowing that the plate is not hot, and it actually is hot. A simple example like that can be extrapolated into the very complex aspects of living in the universe making the desire, even the requirement, to be correct a valid and important part of thinking.
The truth is a concept we employ psychologically to other concepts. After all, is not every thought, every detection by our senses, and every feeling something we do in our brains, in our minds? We think we exist because we think, as Descartes said. In any view you can take you will find that we are using thought processes as awareness and as a means for conducting the business of living. The truth is just one of the many elements of it all.
The truth does not exist. It can’t be touched or seen or heard or anything else. It is a concept of human construction. It is a non-thing. So, why don’t we make an agreement to define ‘truth,’ ‘true knowing,’ and ‘knowing’ as part of the machinations of the human mind. That will make it possible to communicate successfully and easily. It will be of great assistance in the examination of the universe and the accumulation of knowledge without making mistakes. It is no fun to burn your hand on a hot plate.
So far, we have established some methods to communicate by refining our definitions, which is another way of saying ‘our thoughts.’ By thinking, we are living in our own movies. We deploy our senses and receive their input in our brains. According to our records, we have done this for thousands of years and, by now, have come far from where we were.
We have improved our mental processes until we are able to confirm vast amounts of thoughts about the universe. Today we can send machines to comets hurtling through space a fantastic speeds where they gather data and return it to us here on Earth. And still vital aspects of the universe remain mysteries and conflicts among the people rage around the planet. The need to know the truth has never been greater, for we have come far at great expense accumulating both things and non-things that make life safer and more fun while at the same time developing the means to destroy everything we have accomplished along with ourselves and every living thing on Earth.
We detect others in our movies who appear to be doing the same thing. When we interact with them, we discover that they are here in the same place. We are not in the exact same place, but we sure appear to be in some very large place together. It is the same place for all of us. So, once again, we can consider ourselves to be in the universe, the same exact one everyone we can detect is in. Grounds for togetherness and communication is growing.
If we are in the same universe and almost the same place, we can decide to agree that the universe is the same one for all of us. It is not a relative universe that is different for everyone or even for some. That would yield the idea that the only differences lie within us. We each are trying to discover and understand the same universe, but from different perspectives and with different identities.
The universe is the universe. Repetitions of this type are simple ways of reinforcing the obvious. It can help in our examination of the big picture to keep things clear as we proceed. That being said, can we say that we are all here together at the same time in the same place trying to figure out what everything is, how it works, what it means, and how we fit into it? Different people seek different things, but there are things we all share. Even if we do not seek anything at all, we are still here together in the same universe. Let’s see if we can advance our agreement to communicate about what we perceive.
To expand our communications, we can consider our individual uniqueness. It seems to be easy to understand that we all have differences, but we also have similarities. Our differences make things both more interesting and more complicated. Our similarities make the complexity easier to communicate about.
You may have heard it said the no two things can occupy the same place in space and time. In other words, we are only close. We can’t be in exactly the same place because that space is already filled with ourselves. We can be close. We can touch each other, but we remain separate. That means we each have our space and that mean we each have our unique identity, if for no other reason than being in separate spaces. There are many more reasons to think our identities are unique.
We don’t look the same. Sure, we look similar. We are what the scientists call, bipedal humanoids. Someone can refuse to cooperate and refuse to admit anything. That only changes what that person is doing and any reactions to that person being that way. It doesn’t move the stars any closer. It doesn’t change our similarity or our uniqueness. It enhances it, though.
Since every thought anyone has makes the universe different by the amount of a thought, is it enough to stop cooperating and go to war? I don’t think so. A thought is part of the universe but only as a non-thing. Thoughts affect behavior, but they don’t have a physical aspect. The science that studies the brain and determines what is happening when a thought occurs are seeing the many things that are happening. They are not finding some objects or some current that is the thought. They can say the thought is contained in a brain cell, but they are not saying it is a thing. It is a process. A thought is a process. Consciousness is a complex process. No thing has been found that anyone can say is a thought or the things that when done together constitute a thought. It always comes down to being a process of non-things.
The universe as we have defined it is things. Non-things are in the universe.
Examining the universe and communicating about it need not be ruined by such minutia. So, let’s let the thoughts people have be considered non-things that don’t change the universe much, and let’s agree that we are similar in many ways, and different in many ways, especially our thoughts.
Well, it is, after all, our thoughts that must be the final purpose for communicating. We can cooperate to use the same definitions when we communicate and that is nothing more than an effort to bring our thoughts into agreement. When we agree to a definition, we are agreeing to think alike in an area of thought. That is part of the similarity we all share. It doesn’t remove our uniqueness, but it keeps it personal. The universe is not a personal thing. It is something we are all in together. The same star radiates upon us all impersonally, but we respond to it in our minds and bodies uniquely.
Humans can debate and argue until they expire. Those who do not want to accept that the Earth and the universe were here before we got here, can just decline to cooperate in our effort to set and attain a goal. Those of us who want to set and attain a goal of knowing and understanding the universe can begin to define our goal more exactly by defining the words we use to represent it.
We can define the universe as everything that has weight and takes up space and call it the ‘physical universe.’ That is a nice scientific definition. There are things that don’t have weight or take up space, too. Did you know that?
People think about a universe that is not part of this universe. They have lots of words for it. Some say it is where God abides, where the angles live. That sort of thing. Simple enough. It might be too hard to discuss the universe if we include that one in our definition. So, lets call that one ‘the other plane.’ But there are still other things that have no weight and take up no space. We could even say they are beyond time, don’t experience it, and, after all, time has no weight and takes up no space. Pretty funny, huh? What is happening here is thought being thought of.
A thought is a non-physical thing. It is something that we do, not something that is physical at all. The multitude of thoughts humans have are ’non-things.’ We are trying to define the words us in our goal. We are cooperating. So, we are agreeing that a thought is not a physical thing. It is non-physical, but is something. I am writing about them and giving them ‘existence’; which is another word worth defining later.
We are defining a goal of knowing and understanding the universe. We will include the non-physical things, too. That way what we think can be integrated into the words ‘know and understand.’ They are both thoughts. They are what we think. There are many such things and we will need to get into them. For example, what is a ‘goal’?