Tag Archives: reality

Cosmic Radio


So what was on the cosmic radio this afternoon? As I walked to and from Safeway I was bombarded by an ongoing philosophical discourse inside my head. This first post concerns the most esoteric part of this broadcast. Another post on russellpop.wordpress.com will take up the cultural and misleadingly superficial aspects of that broadcast. I get so bored with my own soap opera at times that I have to disconnect from my fragile ego and listen in on something far more interesting and engaging than my own tedious neuroses. Today was such a time. I posed the question to myself, ‘what is actually going on?’ as opposed to what I think is going on. Our perception of reality is determined by our internal dialogue. But we miss out on a lot, some of which is trivial and some of which could change our lives. It is up to us which channels we attend to. There is the practical channel which prevents our running into lampposts and reminds us of why we are out here on the sidewalk walking. We do in fact have a destination, and unlike the gentleman to my left who is talking out loud, I actually know where I am going and why. But this utilitarian shopping channel doesn’t take up much space in my hard drive and I am free to tune into more interesting material without fear I will have an accident of some kind. So once again, ‘what, in fact is going on?’ I reiterate. Well, if we look to science, to the most precise measures of actual nuts and bolts physical stuff, we get an interesting conclusion. Nothing actually exists, and conversely nothing can be said to not exist either. Both are wrong. Our tools are insufficient to describe what is actually going on. Our language necessitates a subject and object, a duality which does not actually exist but works wonderfully as a descriptive device enabling us to investigate in our limited fashion this something/nothing within which we lead our daily lives. But whatever we manage to come up with, that ain’t it. Scientists aren’t bothered by this. They are routinely satisfied with approximations of reality. It is the best we can do given our limitations.

But for us regular folks it is frustrating, aggravating, take your pick. The truth will set you free but at first it will piss you off. Truth? Reality? What’s the difference? Is there a difference? My older brother has been hammering away at this philosophical conundrum for some time now. I agree with his conclusions as I understand them, knowing that whatever I write about it, it isn’t precisely what he is saying. I’ll do my best to do justice to his masterwork. Reality is what we perceive, which is colored by what we feel, think, what we have learned, been told, and whether we are coming down with a cold, in short, reality is our shared experience. The more something is shared the more real it becomes. Reality appears obvious to us, it differs from belief in that reality is what we know to be true. When someone says ‘Duh!’ in regard to something we have said, they are referring to reality. It is what everybody knows, and therefore, for most of us it is indistinguishable from the truth. But is it? What we know to be true is subject to a high level of distortion. It is conditioned by our own perception, our life experience, and the propaganda barrage we are subjected to daily. So what is true? Good question. The truth lies beyond our ability to communicate at this time in our evolution. All we can really do is say, ‘nope. that ain’t it. that isn’t it either. Close, but no cigar.’ The truth is elusive. So close, yet so far from paradise. We can approach it, but even to say that is misleading because how can you know that you are approaching the truth when you don’t know the truth? Duh! The answer I like, is that we are the truth. There are only two accurate statements, ‘all of it is true’ and ‘none of it is true’. Back to the existence/nonexistence conundrum. It is in the nature of language that nothing makes sense taken out of context. So we cannot talk intelligently about a context which contains all other contexts. It becomes unintelligible. You have to define what you are talking about, or in other words, put it in context, before it can make sense. But this necessarily distorts the information, causing it to become false. All reality is contextual, and therefore false to a degree. This is the principle behind the concept of maya. Maya is the phenomenal universe, or reality. (although even the nonphenomenal or noumenal universe is also reality, albeit much more subtle). If you can talk about it, strictly speaking, it isn’t it. You are inevitably off the mark, if only by a tiny tiny bit. Scientists are comfortable with this, and although they wouldn’t like to call it this, they take it on faith basically. Faith is what you have when you can’t verify your data, but nevertheless are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you suspect is true, is in fact true. Once again I am attracted to the notion that the truth is where all of this is headed and it is where all of this came from. This idea of time, of something happening in a linear fashion is nothing more than a philosophical and also a scientific convenience. It is so hard to talk about any of this without that convenience. Time is a measurement of change in the data. That’s all. It doesn’t exist, in the same way that numbers don’t actually exist but are philosophical tools to enable us to communicate about something we don’t fully understand. Allow me to indulge in a brief analogy to help unclog all this stuff I just wrote. A bit of philosophical Drano if you will. Languages of all sorts, mathematical and linguistic serve as the software, a translation of the machine code which God only knows who can read that stuff (literally!!). You could say that the machine code is like the quantum foam at the very heart of physicality. Binary. On/Off Exist/Not Exist This duality allows a pattern to emerge, and this pattern is reality, if you will (or even if you won’t, the foam doesn’t ask for our opinion, or then again, does it?) Who are we? Who am I? Do I reside within the quantum foam, or am I somewhere else? I think most would agree that our bodies are definitely a product, ultimately, of this quantum funkiness, but are we something other than our bodies? Sorry, no dependable data on this question. I prefer to think that we are intangible. We lie outside the either/or universe of quantum indeterminism. We both exist and do not exist, or neither, or I don’t know, feets don’t fail me now! We are not the data, we are collecting the data. We lie outside the experiment. Or do we?

So, clearly this radio could continue it’s program for as long as I, or you, or anyone would care to tune in. But you can see that the lines of communication are corroded. I was getting a bad translation. There was a lot of static on the line. It can’t be helped. Inevitably, as I grappled with this philosophical problem of what is actually going on, it become more and more unintelligible. I found myself seeking refuge in analogies and elegant solutions which may or may not have anything to do with the price of eggs in China. What is actually going on? Nothing. A program is running, and so something appears to be happening. At various moments, the device breaks down, or the program attempts to execute a bad block of code, and we discover that what we thought was happening was just an enticing puppet show of sorts, and we glimpse something else. Something that isn’t properly anything at all, just this indefinable suchness which can only be pointed at, but not intelligently discussed. Perhaps we can approach such things with poetry. Perhaps we know, but cannot tell, struck mute by our linguistic and mathematical limitations. That is how it feels to me, at any rate. So, there it is, the rough approximation of this afternoon’s broadcast of the cosmic radio. As always it leaves me unsatisfied. What was that all about? Nothing. and yet and yet, I can’t help feeling that I am on the verge of a great discovery, which would change everything forever, and for the better.

Can’t you see?

It isn’t like that at all!

It is so much better!

If only I had the words to tell you,

you would be so happy.

But I don’t.

It is just a cosmic radio,

for whatever it is worth.

Was Philip K. Dick Insane?


Philip K. Dick is one of my heroes. He recognized the phoniness, the artificiality of modern life. Of course, for most of us, this is a metaphor. Philip Dick came to believe that our reality is an artificial construct. At least, a part of him believed this. He conducts arguments with himself about this whole affair in his final novels. In the clip I include at the bottom of this post, Phil Dick begins by saying that what he is about to give a speech about, may not exist. Of course, for him, as for me, what does not exist, nevertheless exists, in a different way. Now that I have thoroughly confused my readers, allow me to fill you in. Philip K. Dick was, as most of you probably know, a pulp science fiction writer who cranked out a huge number of short stories, and novels before developing an overarching theme. His theme consists of the idea that things are not as they seem. Our ‘real’ world hides another. This idea came to a climax in the early seventies, when he was visited by a young woman. She wore the Christian fish symbol about her neck, and as Philip Dick gazed at it, a pink beam of light struck him. This light unleashed a torrent of information into his mind. He learned that an entity known as Valis, ‘vast active living intelligent system’, was orbiting the Earth, and was the source of all this information. He learned that we live in an artificial construct, a ‘virtual’ world, in which everything is already programmed. Only the occasional ‘bug’ in the program gives it away, or as Dick says, a variable is changed. The Roman Empire still exists, according to Valis, and the crucifixion is a recent event. Valis wanted Philip Dick to convey this information to the rest of us, which he did in 1977. The youTube clip is his revelation. Needless to say, most of his fans were more than skeptical. They thought he had gone nuts, or to put it more politely, schizophrenic. I think he was sane.

When Philip K. Dick talks about our living in an horrendous slave state, it feels true. Of course, we are given the means to deceive ourselves. We believe ourselves to be free, but are we? Could it be that the rapture and the end of the world have already occurred? Or that the life of Christ and the crucifixion, is an endless loop, and that our conception of time and space is completely fictional? I have had the feeling of living a double life in the present. I am not a schizophrenic. I do not suffer from hallucinations, and I don’t think Philip K. Dick did either. He had a vivid inner vision, as do I. This is distinct from imagination. I am talking about vivid visions which intrude into your imagination, without your direction. It is more like a waking dream than imagination. But at no time am I unable to distinguish between sensory reality and the inner vision. Actually, what Philip K. Dick experienced isn’t all that unique. Many of the world’s religions are based on similar experiences. Suddenly a ‘download’, if you will, is delivered into someone’s mind, complete and whole, with instructions not to edit. Swedenborg, Carl Jung, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Cayce, Whitley Streiber, John A. Keel, the list goes on and on, of people who have received instructions from something, somewhere. None of these people were or are, crazy, in my estimation. But God, the Angel Moroni, Aiwass, the ‘Greys’, Ingrid Cold, Valis, or whatever you choose to call it, is real and it appears to have a purpose. What is it? What is it’s purpose? Interestingly enough, there have been prophecies made by this weird source, which turned out to be nonsense. Perhaps something happens in the interface between human receiver and the source of this information which corrupts it.

I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of this subject, but I just wanted to be at least one voice in the wilderness, saying Philip K. Dick wasn’t insane. He was onto something. He thought it was profoundly important. It reminds me of the experiences I had when I took LSD, mescaline, or peyote. Something profoundly important occurred, but I couldn’t begin to articulate it. I am left with the sense that what Philip Dick spoke about was, and is, true. But I am at a loss to articulate clearly how it is true, without my also being labelled a schizophrenic. That is one of the scariest things about schizophrenics. I am often left with the nagging feeling that there is some kind of crazy sense to their ravings. But I can never arrive at that sense. It always ends up being nonsense to my rational mind. I could assert that these experiences and the information conveyed is poetic in nature. Except that the information itself insists upon being taken literally! Philip K. Dick had hoped to perform a bit of metaphysical sleight of hand by saying that what he was about to describe did not exist, and therefore he could say nothing or anything about it. But the diabolical? allure of this information caused many in his audience to forget the disclaimer.

So what do you think? Was Philip insane? Is this a dark avenue that I should avoid without the light of logic? Or should I cast logic aside and allow my sense of this to soar? Or should I put my mind to more important concerns? The infamous clip is below, and as the clip indicates, Dick’s ideas were much of the inspiration for the movie “the Matrix”, along with many, many more films, books, and songs. Unfortunately the clip is heavily edited, so you do not hear all that he said. If anyone knows of a full recording of that speech I would love to see it! As Rolling Stone would say, ‘I welcome your comments, love letters, and advice. ‘

Russell is Rich


I have an alternate identity. He’s rich. Apparently, he won the lottery. As I go about my business, checking on how to apply for disability, coming back home to my little studio apartment, I vividly imagine in my mind’s eye a large, lovely apartment, with lots of light pouring in. I am thinking about what guests I plan on having over that evening. It feels incredibly real to me. It seems as though some terrible mistake has been made. I shouldn’t be shuffling about, worrying about losing my apartment. I ought not to be taking trips over to the horrendous hall of doom, better known as the San Francisco social services center. Actually I don’t know what it is called, everybody just says “that place on Mission”. Everyone knows the place. Pretty much everyone has been there. Perhaps my other self is just an escape from the daily struggle. But maybe not.

It could very well be a premonition. That would be nice! Any day my shit will come in. Ooops! I meant to say ship. Me and half a million other people, actually more, share this dream. But that isn’t the direction I wanted to take with this post. I assert that this other Russell is Rich, and very real. He will either emerge over time, or he exists in some other universe. Being rich and successful just comes naturally to me. I am not well equipped for poverty. My talents demand a suitable set of circumstances. I can’t be bothered with the pesky details of day to day survival. I need the time and space to give my soul free reign. I also need to be able to give to my friends. I would love to lift them out of their need to struggle to live. Poverty kills the spirit. It stifles all it touches.

This is my declaration. That I am rich, and in the course of time the circumstances will align with this declaration. It’s bound to happen! Doubts will persist, but these are mere pebbles in my shoe, as I walk resolutely toward my abundance. No more referring to ‘dreams’, this is how it will be. I refuse to allow poverty to rule my life, or the lives of my friends!

When you think of me, think of a successful, talented man sitting in a nice apartment in San Francisco, without a care in the world.

Cosmic secrets of inspiration


Hi! I’m Starman! Can you keep a secret?

There is a realm you visit every night, and it is more real than the world you wake up to each day. You might say this ‘real’ world is actually ‘virtual’, now that we have reached a point where we can understand what that means. We go through our lives in order to achieve certain goals. Goals we set out for ourselves before we were born. This is our laboratory. Of course, we don’t allow ourselves to really believe any of this, because it spoils the experiment, and we are unable to learn the lessons or accomplish our goals. It must be deadly ‘real’. But I’m telling you to relax and enjoy the show. All of it, even the scary parts, the sad parts, all of it. Each night you get an opportunity to glimpse behind the curtain, so to speak, and take part in the true. (I hesitate to call it a world, or universe, or whatnot, because it defies description, so let us call it the ‘true’. From there lies the answers to our questions, the inspiration for our creations. But it appears in a language which is foreign to us. There may have been a time when we could easily decipher the language of dreams, but today they often remain a puzzle. I can give you an example:

Last night Russell (who invited me to post on his blog), had the strangest dream. It was in a city, probably San Francisco where he lives, and cars were racing by on both sides of a busy street corner. A thin young woman that Russell knew said listlessly “They killed my mommy!”. It was said in a matter-of-fact tone.  Oddly, the entire scene was a cartoon. It was as though Russell was being told that it wasn’t serious, wasn’t real. Russell wanted to race over to the friend and console her, although she didn’t seem to be distaught. She seemed to be wearing a grey dress with a black question mark across it. Question mark, indeed. That is how dreams often are. Then, Russell dreamed of a television in which you could watch the same movie from several different perspectives. On one channel you could watch the movie from one character’s perspective, one another channel another character’s perspective, and so on. This would enable the viewer to get a full version of events. As Russell began to wake up, he thought “In the future that is how films will be, you can click to see the movie through various character’s eyes.” Unlike the cartoon, this dream seemed pretty straight forward, like brain storming in a film company’s boardroom.

It seems that there is an inexhaustible sea of inspiration available to you every night, provided you can recall it the next day. Another path to this ocean of information is through meditation, or perhaps prayer, as well. My friend, David Lynch writes about how transcendental meditation has opened him up to that endless source of ideas. He also compares it to an ocean, and calls his efforts to create, the attempt to spear the big fish. (I bet you didn’t know David knew a comic book character, but he does!)

So the next time you go to sleep, watch closely, because you are getting a glimpse into the same well that Einstein, Mark Twain, or maybe even the Beatles, gazed into. Somewhere down in that well you  can hear them singing:

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.
I’m crying.

Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday.
Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

Growing up is hard and wonderful


I saw my friend again tonight (the one I blogged about a few days ago), and again, I greatly enjoyed her company. As I sat and listened to talk about her family in Vietnam, and snorkeling in Hawaii, and the frustrations of her job, I realized how relatively sheltered my own life has been. I am still a kid inside. I haven’t grown up yet. Or, to put it more accurately, I am in the process of growing up, which is both hard and wonderful. As caught up as I can get in my own daydreams and develop crushes on celebrities I admire, nothing compares to the connection you can feel just simply sitting across from someone in a restaurant and listening to the story of their life. This is Real. So much of our lives are spent meaninglessly, at jobs we don’t care about, mindlessly watching tv or cruising the web. Worst of all, we wallow in our own thoughts, nurturing our hopes and fears. All around us is the real world, which if properly engaged should fill you with wonder, and reveal, beneath the ugliness, a beauty that is painful to experience. It is kind of hard for me to explain all of the things I am feeling. Even as I try to grasp them , I can feel my feelings fading away, replaced with the comfortable obliviousness I am used to. All of my life I have wanted something real, something honest to happen in my life, and was driven to distraction by the relentless phoniness of life. When all that time it was right in front of me. Occasionally when you least expect it, you get a moment or two of clarity. The beauty of that moment is heartbreaking, because it doesn’t and can’t last. Growing up is the process of leaving behind the false world of the imagination and engaging something truly real, but also unknown. It is hard for me to write about this because it has nothing really to do with the circumstances of your life. It has to do with how you experience something.

The reason I am going on and on about this is because I had been really depressed lately, and in a state where I just couldn’t derive any satisfaction from anything I did. Then I experienced the opposite of that, where I was caught up in a reverie over all the wonderful things I was going to do with my life. My daydreams became intrusive. imagining myself becoming a celebrity and being able to express my thoughts and my humor on a large scale, an international scale. I think a lot of this has to do with the internet. The experience of putting your thoughts on the web as I am doing now, can be very infectious. You imagine having an impact on people all over the world. Then you return to your mundane existence, in which just being able to go to work each day can be a struggle. The contrast between that high and that low is very stressful. Then, once again I spend some time with a friend. A friend who simply through the act of being totally herself and sharing herself with me triggered a transformation. The actual activity was mundane, but it opened up my consciousness to something other than my own mind. No. I am not talking about falling in love. I have been in love and that is something quite different. When you are in love you are in a state of bliss, but a kind of blinding bliss, rather than a clarifying bliss. I suppose I could just be going on about just a simple fact of friendship. No big deal. But I have had many conversations with friends, which are more like two televisions facing one another. There is no true connection. I believe this transformation has more to do with me than my friend, although she served as a catalyst. I am opening up to myself and the world around me in a way I haven’t before. I have decided to call it growing up. Maybe, finally, at the age of 58, I am growing up.

I realize that this post hasn’t really been about anything, but rather an attempt to express what cannot really be expressed, at least not adequately. Sorry about that. I think my orgy of self-expression lately has something to do with this opening up as well. I feel as though I am pulling myself up by the roots. Not necessarily an unpleasant feeling, but a unique one. Perhaps my future blogs will reflect less drama and more truth telling from a unique perspective. This is one of those posts which should have the tag ???????