Since I don't understand how it's necessary to state your second postulate, given your first, I'm obviously at a loss to understand why it seems so important to you.
A very perceptive question. Excellent. I'll answer in a moment. First this:
They might be wrong in their assumptions about reality, but they've no framework to understand anything outside their world. My question is, you seem to imply that it's important that they are incorrect. Why is that?
It establishes a model of possibility. It makes for a useful metaphor. By showing that there can be purpose to a game having consistent rules, without those rules being absolute, the door is opened to ideas that extend beyond, rather than conflict with, physical laws as determined through observation and experiment.
As a metaphor, it points the way to ideas I'm trying to convey. We here all know Diablo, we're familiar with it. It's concrete enough to make for an objective model, about which we can all agree. If we can agree on the form and content of an analogy, the metaphor takes on context and communication becomes possible.
Why is time so important?
Time is a great barrier. Most views of reality take time wholly for granted, run afoul of it in one way or another and cannot penetrate through it. Time is the great boundary, the limitation of perception, the divide between what is physically possible and what is physically not possible.
Time is the keystone concept, the second postulate in any belief structure, recognized or not. First you acknowledge that there is a reality, then you presume its limits. That existence is infinite does not follow from that existance exists. It IS a separate axiom.
Since I don't understand how it's necessary to state your second postulate, given your first, I'm obviously at a loss to understand why it seems so important to you.
Time to whip out the mathematical models.
In order to make clear the need for this second postulate, I will have to contrast with other axioms that begin somewhere else.
I hold what I term to be a "top-down" belief structure, contrasted with a "bottom-up" belief structure. Top Down beliefs begin with the presumption that what is, is, and that All that Is, all that exists, is infinite in nature. All That Is is a concept which includes everything both real and imaginable, the Creator and the Creation. An infinite Isness is all inclusive, and by definition it is also timeless. Time is a finite concept: this, then that, then the next. With time it is possible for a thing not to exist, and then for it to exist, and then for it again to not exist. But anything fitting that description would be finite.
So this is the crux of the assumption: the first choice you must make, from which all your beliefs will spring: is reality finite or infinite?
If you believe as Pete does that the physical is all that is, then you believe that reality is finite. If you believe in spirit but believe that spirit "evolved" from physical causes, you still believe that reality is finite, that all cause functions from the bottom up, building upon finite causal factors. If you believe that the physical springs from the metaphysical, and that everything ultimately originates from a single infinite creator or creative force, then you believe from the top down. So WHAT is involved in a top-down belief system?
If you are familiar with mathematics, you will know what is called the Set Theory. A set is a defined group of numbers. It is possible for a set to be infinite without comprising All Numbers. Now using numbers purely as an analogy for the universe, we can explore some relationships. In mathematical terms, All Numbers is the all-inclusive set, and it includes even numbers which cannot physically exist, yet exist in theory and formula, such as "i", or the square root of negative one. That's what called an Imaginary Number, yet even though it is only a ghost, it still lies within the set of All Numbers. If we examine the quadratic formula for a circle and plot the results on a graph, there are an infinite number of possible combinations of points, an infinite number of pairs which satisfy the equation. Yet if you look at the graph, you will see that there are also infinite points that do not satisfy the equation, and that relatively speaking, there are "more" points not covered than covered. It is also possible to define an area on the graph which completely includes all the points within the circle, but which still fails to cover a majority of points, and it is possible to define a yet larger area which covers this area, and even if you define the entire graph, you are still only working in two dimensions. If you then expand your view to three dimensions, that single plane becomes but a drop in the ocean of your new larger 3-D graph, and from a purely mathematical standpoint, there is no limit to how many dimensions you can graph -- there is only a limit to how many you can physically display, since our eyesight can see only three of those dimensions.
This is akin to how the top-down system views Truth. Top Down recognizes truths that cover only a small area on the graph of All That Is. Then there are higher truths, which cover a greater area, which may overlap the other Truth or may contain it entirely, may even supercede it, or could exist apart from it. Then there are yet higher truths. That is, there are true Truths and truer Truths, and the truest Truth lies only at the All-encompassing infinite level. To the extent that a belief "covers points" on the graph, it contains those points, and each point is as its own bit of truth.
If your beliefs are based on a search for the Highest Truth, you have no fears, nothing to defend, nothing to force upon others. If you learn something that is truer than what you already believe, you can change your beliefs, expand the amount of the graph that your own personal understanding is able to cover. (This is, within its finite confines, how science professes to function also: to find theory to fit the facts, and always to search for more data and more refined, more precise, or more broadly sustainable theories).
Top Down proclaims Truth as eternal, timeless. It does not need you to defend it, to explain it, to enumerate or record it. The points are there whether or not they are observed, contained, or measured. The more points you grasp, the closer you get in awareness to the ultimate awareness, the All That Is, or God if you prefer that word. All That Is contains, and is aware of, all of the points.
So we come to a few more concepts: Something, Anything, Everything, and Nothing. "Something" is a specific thing, which exists. "Anything" is a nonspecific thing, which exists. "Everything" is all that can possibly exist. "Nothing" is something that does not exist. All That Is includes Everything, which includes Anything, which includes Something. However, none of these do, nor can, include Nothing.
"Nothing" is the key to the nature of the highest truth. Nothing means "no thing". Looking at numbers again, if we were to take the number 4 and remove it from the set of All Numbers, such that it became Nothing, that it ceased to exist, and that All Numbers was redefined to no longer include the number 4... would it still, in fact, BE "All" numbers? It would not. You cannot eradicate the number four, because if you have the number two, and you put two of them together, what do you have? So in order to eradicate the number 4, you'd also have to eradicate the number 2. But if you had the number 16, and you were to divide that into 8 equal parts... you'd come up with a 2, and from there you could get to 4. Do you see? You cannot eradicate the number 4 unless you also eradicate every other number that exists, since the chain of values that would have to be swallowed to purge "4" from existence would include them all eventually.
The set of All Numbers is eternal, and once a number exists within the set, it exists. It IS. And what is, cannot be made into what IS NOT. You cannot make "Something" into "Nothing", you can only make it into "Something Else". (Once again, this is in line with science, which theorizes that the physical universe is a zero-sum, closed system, in which matter can be changed into energy, and energy to matter, but in which matter, energy, space or time can never be "created from nothingness" or be "destroyed into nothingness").
The number 4 is an eternal quality, yet it is just a number. Unique? Yes. But one of an infinite number, and no more inherently special than any other number. As a member of the set, it is the equal in value to any other number, for without it, the ENTIRE SET is changed, and it cannot be removed from the set of All Numbers without causing All Numbers to cease to be all-inclusive, to cease to be All, and this cannot be by definition.
Mathematical values are timeless, AS CONCEPTS. You can change the actualities being measured, but the idea of measurement itself can never be messed with. Once you open awareness to these values, you contain them, and no matter how you might manipulate them, they retain an absolute and timeless quality.
This is true in the physical universe (you cannot destroy matter, you can only destroy its form, creating a new form) but the physical universe is by definition a finite universe: finite in terms of mass, finite in terms of energy, finite in terms of space, and finite in terms of time. It is so incredibly finite (even though it is also, in some ways, infinite) that top down concludes it to be the equivalent of that quadratic equation that marks off a circle on a two-dimensional graph, compared to what it does NOT cover out of All Numbers. Yet the fact that you cannot cause the substance of matter or energy or space or time in the physical universe to cease to exist, so it is consistent with this also being true in the metaphysical universe. So even though this metaphor offers no proof, neither does it disprove, and in fact it fits rather nicely.
WHY could the physics of matter and energy not also apply to consciousness? That is, if matter cannot be lost or destroyed, but MUST be conserved, is it not also plausible that consciousness could be a force in itself, also indestructible? Is the brain a generator or a receiver? Is the human brain a biological CPU? Even CPU's require conscious input.
It is one thing to conceptualize the set of All Numbers, and quite another to understand EACH and EVERY number individually, or in combination with another, in relation to one another. In order to understand a set, you must be aware of all its members and their relationships to one another. Or, looked at another way: the members of a set DEFINE that set. To perceive the whole, you must conceive its components. To grasp the meaning of the whole, you must understand its components. There is a depth to awareness and understanding that can only be reached at the individual level.
This is God's work: to discover His/Her Self, to grasp the meaning of and to perceive All That Is.
The All, the infinite Isness, exists as an infinitely inclusive set. What is, IS, and is aware that it is. But why? What is there of value in existence? What are the things which exist within the whole? What are the subsets, and their subsets, and their subsets? How do these relate, and what do they mean?
If god is All That Is, then all things that exist are part of Him, and if not, then God is not
All That Is, and there is something greater, something more inclusive... a higher set within creation... and therefore have you found God? Have you indeed found the Creator if the Creator you have found is a finite being or force?
I say no.
In terms of set theory, Creatior and Creation are inseparable, the yang and the yin, the act and the action. What is, IS. Creator cannot precede Creation unless Time precedes both. Yet... if Time can be shown to be insufficiently infinite to contain All That Is -- if there are concepts that are timeless -- then the set of All is greater than the set of Time, and one cannot halt their perceptions at the time barrier in conceiving the nature of reality.
That conclusion follows from the postulate of infinite existance, but if your context stops at the time barrier you cannot see the path. So let's stop and examine some evidence.
The top down process of function is a cycle of seven distinct steps, from Infinite to Infinite. Change cannot occur, even in concept, at the level of the Infinite. You cannot look at the set of All That Is as a whole and truly perceive it, nor grasp its meaning. You must focus attention on "Everything" before you can look at "Anything", so you can focus on a specific thing, on "Something", in order to learn about "Anything", which must be grasped before you can understand "Everything", which is required to truly understand All That Is.
|"All That Is"||Red||Do|
|"All That Is"||Violet||Ti|
This process is a pattern, a template, which fits all actions, describes all changes, and fulfills all destinies. The question is formed at the infinite level, focused down and down, growing more specific, until the answer is found at the actual level. With the answer unfolds new wisdom and meaning as it expands what is probable, what is possible, and even what is infinite.
However, what is Actual at one level can be further broken down to be perceived as Infinite in itself, and can further be focused to a tighter Actuality, a more narrow region of the graph, which can be focused yet again, and then again, and again. As with numbers, which can always be further divided no matter how far you've already divided them, so with reality. What you look at and see as infinite is so small as to not even be perceivable to a portion of God who is Himself so finite that he cannot himself be perceived by yet another consciousness who is too focused to be directly perceived by God.
When you look at a table, do you see the individual molecules? No. You cannot relate to them and they cannot even imagine you. And there COULD BE aspects of God so great that to them, our universe is but an atom in another universe that is but an atom in a table that he can perceive -- relatively speaking.
Except for one thing. IF God exists...
All That Is is not a bunch of numbers, and your relationship with the All, with God and Goddess and All That Is, is not a mathematical formula. You are not some lost cell in God's body that God can live without if it should die. You are an integral part of a set of consciousness, no more significant than the number 4, but NO LESS either. You are part of what makes God the All, and yet you are also your own being, with your own free will. As with a set of numbers, when you change a member of a set, or add or subtract members from the set, you redefine the entire set. So it is with reality: when you change, all of creation is redefined in its meaning, its scope, and its destiny. If you have a soul, then you are the creator of your own reality, and in one sense you are
God, yet you are not All That Is. This is where we start to get into paradox, into Truths which overlap and intertwine, which exist at different levels and exceed the bounds of what can be defined in linear or logical terms.
Let's hypothesize for a moment: A spirit IS God -- that is, a portion of God, but not a separate portion that is disconnected, rather... the All That Is is unlimited, and He can focus on each and every aspect of existance simultaneously. But in the focusing, the awarenesses must each be distinct, must "not be aware of" what the others are experiencing, in order to focus on their own part of the process and not be infinitely distracted by all the other parts. So in that sense, you are "doing God's will" if you are being true to your self and actively creating/pursuing your destiny, discovering your dreams, expanding your awareness, your understanding, and your wisdom, covering the "points on the graph" that fit with the equation of your identity. Things that aid your own growth, or the growth of others, are inherently rewarding to your spirit. Activities that bring harm to others inherently harm you both directly and indirectly. Since we are all ultimately the same beingness, any acts which harm others are always also self-destructive. This is painfully obvious once you have reached a certain level of self-awareness, regardless of your beliefs or how much of All That Is that you've managed to perceive, but leading someone to this realization is not as easy a task as it may seem.
That's one more thing about Set Theory: if you are a member of a set, you can only perceive within the set. You cannot see outside your own set. That is, if you are an Even Number and think of yourself and define yourself as an Even Number and believe that Even Numbers are all that is, how can you understand or even see the number three? You won't. If your graph only covers two dimensions, how can you even be aware of points on a 3-D graph that do not intersect with your 2-D graph's plane of existence? You can't. So it is with beliefs. You cannot even SEE something that lies outside your set of beliefs, the things you define as possible, even if they are right in front of your eyes, so to speak.
Pete can point to the square root of negative one and say, "Because you can't SHOW me that number in physical terms, I don't believe it. It does not exist." He can point and say, "I live in a reality of even numbers. PROVE TO ME, using only even numbers to SHOW me your proof, that the number three exists." And nope, you can't prove with even numbers that three exists, you can't show three, but you can use reason to see that three is a possible value.
Pointing to physical reality and saying that you will only accept physical proofs for truth, is doing just that. The ONLY truths you can find through physical proof, are PHYSICAL truths. And whether or not physical truths are the only truths that exist, or whether there is more, is a matter PURELY of faith. However, if you don't believe there is more, then your belief structure is bottom-up, and you do believe that reality is a finite thing. I'll come back to that later, because it's very important.
There is a famous story about Magellan's circumnavigation of the earth, where the ships arrived in a land populated by friendly natives, but the natives were very superstitious and were extremely shocked by the sudden appearance of alien men from the water. The explorers tried to explain their origins and to allay the natives' fears by explaining how their sailing ships had brought them from distant lands, only to have the natives reject their explanation, saying as they looked out to sea that they saw only the ocean. It took time to communicate without a common language, but eventually the explorers realized they were not misinterpreting: that the natives were actually claiming they saw an empty ocean, and rowboats vanishing into thin air and appearing from the same. The ships were right there, anchored just offshore, and finally a sailor accepted their claim at face value and wondered if he might not be able to teach them to see the ships by describing parts of a ship and relating the parts to things the natives knew about in their own lives. So he started with the sails, and described a blanket blowing in the wind, and used an actual native blanket to demonstrate. And first one, then another, then another native shouted in excitement as they spotted blankets flying in the air over the water. And the sailor described how the blankets were tied to huge, ancient trees that bore no leaves or palms, and from which many blankets hung, and though it took time, eventually one native did spot the masts, the "trees" and with great excitement chattered with his fellows, describing what he saw thusly, until he led the others to see it too. And the sailor began to describe more parts of the ship, and people on the ship, until eventually the natives could not only see the ship, but understand it for what it was.
So it is with people and beliefs. You can show a man a Truth, but if it lies outside his belief set, not only will he fail to realize what it is that lies before him, he will not even SEE it or any part of it. It's not even a question of wanting to see it; he will be literally UNABLE to see it. In order to teach him to see it, you must describe it, hint at it, relate it to other things, tell what it is similar to. You must reach him indirectly, to point the way, but only if he is willing to reach beyond his belief set, to conceive a new possibility and then to grasp enough to accept that it could probably exist, then to actually perceive it, can you teach someone a Truth.
And sometimes... sometimes they do not see what you meant to show them, they see bits of it but not the whole, and they redefine it, try to make it fit with their own existing beliefs. In your own growth, I urge you to do your best to be a native who learns to see Magellan's ships, rather than one who insists the ocean is empty, or who spots SOMEthing out there, but insists that it must be something else which fits with his existing grasp on reality.
This is the structure of the "top-down" belief system, which places its faith in a metaphysical, infinite reality as the highest truth. Compare this to "bottom-up" systems, where the foundation lies not with a belief in the truly infinite, but rather is based on finite postulates, such as religions that hold sacred texts to be the highest truth, science which holds physics laws or empirical data to be the highest truth, cults and movements who place their faith in a single leader, or philosophers who rely on logic and begin with assumptions or observations about the self, then extrapolate to God from there. Those beliefs are "bottom-up"; they are all based on building up from a finite foundation, and I dare say they all suffer from the problem that an infinite god can never be conceptualized through a finite postulate, nor understood through a finite paradigm. You cannot see beyond your belief set, and so basing your beliefs on a finite concept invariably leads to a very finite caricature of god -- even to the drastic extreme of concluding there is no god at all. Some have beliefs so limited, they do not even include as possible a god truly divine and eternal, but rather project onto god their own human frailties and misemotions, as if god might be as moody and whimisical as a drunken father who loves his children but beats them if they displease him. Such views are very transparent stuff, from my perspective -- even a little sad, because I know that so much more is possible.
Let's leave off metaphysical theorizing and grand-scale belief structures for a bit, and talk mechanics. Pure physics in the metaphysical realm, brought to practical application.
Regardless of your beliefs, part of life has to do with the pursuit of personal power. Everyone wants success of SOME kind, and the ability to reach or create that success involves the accumulation and exercise of personal power.
So what is power? How does power function? Is it a matter of power over others, to manipulate them? Is it a matter of intimidating people, so they don't oppose you? Is it a matter of being a stronger competitor? A more effective whiner? A bully? A person who can tear down, damage, or destroy others? Do these things make you a powerful person? Or does power come from within you?
Power is the ability to act. If you CAN do a thing, you have the power to do it. If you CAN accomplish a goal, you have the power to reach it. If you have the ability to make something happen, you have power at least to that extent.
The exercise of power includes also the willingness to act. If you have the ability to a do thing but not the will to follow through and do it, you don't have *power*, you have potential
. So accruing power is about more than just ability; it is also about will and imagination, to put that ability to use.
To generate personal power, you need honesty -- at least to the degree of brutal honesty within yourself, to examine your limits and assess the extent of your ability. You also need responsibility. You cannot exercise power in areas in which you accept no responsibility. You also need freedom. Freedom means you have the ability to choose, and without choice, how can you act? Even if you have the will to act, in the absence of freedom you will not have the ability to act. Then you need commitment, and even courage. The more ambitious and large-scale the act, the more commitment you will need to maintain the will to follow through to the conclusion, and the more courage you will need to face down the adversities involved. There are more elements, but these are good for a start.
Everyone has potential: that is, everyone has SOME abilities, including the ability to learn, to train, to expand the very range of those abilities. No matter who you are, you have abilities, and almost surely have some very high potential in how far those abilities could carry you if you had the will to use them. Not all abilities and potentials are identical, equal, or even comparable, but a person of even low ability can become more powerful than a person with high ability but no will to act. Power arises not from ability nor from will, but the synnergy of these two forces in combination, which generates a whole result that is greater than the sum of the components when assembled.
Does this mean that everyone is powerful? Yes. To whatever extent they are willing and able to act. Does this mean everyone could become more powerful? Yes. Any person can expand their ability, focus or sharpen their will, and explore the possibilities for action that lie within the range of their imagination.
Now as you go about accruing power, you must and will eventually come to a platform where you decide what to DO with your power. What meaning are you going to assign to it? How will you apply it? And what will your life look and feel like when you ARE powerful?
There are two paths.
One is the path of the bottom-up belief structure, the other the path of the top-down structure. In the bottom-up structure, your power is seen to have evolved, to have risen out of finite, smaller bits, and to be a result of your rise in the heirarchy of competition. In the top-down structure, your power is viewed as innate, and your ability to wield it not as something you've accumulated per se, but as something you've grown aware of, remembered, or finally understood and realized, but was there all along.
The bottom-up path is that of the Dominator.
The Dominator is all about competition. He manipulates, so that he will not be the manipulated. He controls, so that he will not be the controlled. He wins, so he will not be the loser. He kills, so he will not be the slain. The Dominator struggles to rise to alpha status in a hostile, competitive world, and sees it only as nature in action.
The top-down path is that of spiritual Dominion.
The powerful soul is the one who can creatively generate his life at will, with harm to none. He wins not by making someone else lose, but merely through his own display of excellence.
The Dominator exerts power over others, forcing them, compelling them, to do his bidding.
The powerful soul exerts his ability and willingness to act, and consciously creates his own success.
The Dominator seeks a position of elevated superiority. He seeks to be better than others, to lord over them, by force of strength or through manipulation from weakness. The Dominator seeks even to be better than God, either directly or by trying to manipulate even god through endless whining and self-pity, seeking special treatment because, of course, he is secretly better than everyone else after all.
The powerful soul willingly co-creates: with partners, peers, equals. The powerful soul seeks equality and co-creation even with God, whose loving ambition includes a desire for each soul to realize its maximum potential.
The Dominator lives for and out of the past, always seeking vindication, adhering to the counsel of and giving over his power to the voice of his shadow self, his negative ego... his inner demons. He supports his past, props it up and points to it as the cause of all he is or can be. He will not even dare to risk unless he feels that success is guaranteed, and he hides, only pretending to be brave.
The powerful soul is at peace with his past, and looks instead to the future, to his dreams of possibility, as the cause and the source of all that he is and all that he is becoming. He nourishes his spiritual self, and builds his power not only by building his own ability and willingness, but that of others as well. He trusts in himself, in his abilities, and ventures bravely forth into any domain that interests him.
The Dominator lives in a world of fear. His reality is scary, filled with adversity, threat, and struggle.
The powerful soul generates a world of abundance, filled with gifts, yes, but also challenges, for which he always has abundant resources with which to respond, to act, to generate success.
The Dominator takes. And takes. And takes. And despite the taking, finds ever greater scarcity.
The powerful soul gives, and through the giving finds ever greater abundance from which to give more.
The Dominator blames. He owns NO responsibility. Someone or something else is always at fault.
The powerful soul is loving, and holds no desire, need, or at the highest level even temptation, to blame. He is powerful, successful, happy and at peace -- not perfect, but content, and widely generous with ALL his resources in all the forms of wealth he has accumulated.
These seven points outline the two paths, and you have ALREADY CHOSEN to follow one of them. You have chosen with your belief system, with your exercise of power, and with whether or not your life reflects one side of this chart or the other:
|Infinite||Control or Be Controlled||Creatively Generate||1|
|Possible||Power Over Others||Ability to Act||2|
|Actual||Support your Base Instincts||Support your Spiritual Self||4|
|Probable ||World is Scary||World is Abundant||5|
In the world of the Dominator, you must compete, compete, compete. You are like an animal moving through a world of finite possibilities, and your success can come only from wresting control of more and more of those finite possibilities from someone else. Predators at the very top of the food chain must control a hunting area large enough to feed them, thus live a lonely existence at best, coming together ONLY long enough to mate, to continue the species, and otherwise competing in all things. Survival? Yes, for the strongest dominators. Quality of life? Security? Abundance? Happiness? Not hardly.
In the world of spiritual Dominion, there are infinite possibilities, and thus no scarcity of them. You can create your own, as you will it and are able to make it so, and thus need not compete at all. There can be enough for everyone.
In the world of the Dominator, there are a finite number of positions of power, which lie at the top of the heirarchy. By hook or by crook, you rise to the top, and if you deliberately step on people on your way up, all the better, since they are more likely to fear you or be intimidated, and to pose less of a threat.
In the world of spiritual Dominion, power is an individual matter, measured from within, on the scale of your own potential. You compete only with yourself, in that sense, as your power is solely determined by you, by how much you are able to realize out of your infinite potential.
I could go on drawing comparisons, but these will do for now. When you do manage to reach a position of power, what are you going to do with it? Give it to your ego, so you can feel superior? Use it to take what you want, because you can? Use it to help your family, or even strangers? It's not an all or nothing thing. You choose again, and again and again, each time you act. So which of these two pictures best describes YOUR life and your world view? You can deceive others if you wish, but if you are to grow your power, you cannot afford to deceive yourself.
Being blunt here, I sometimes choose the Domination. When I do, I invariably encounter more than mere adversity, and it never works out well for me in the overall view. But just the realization that I could
choose, which I happened upon when I was 17 and lazing around playing RPGs full time, having been out of high school for two years... was a transformation moment for me. It changed my entire life. And at that point I chose to reach for the ideal of Dominion. I have grown into a great deal of ability, as well as willingness, over the years, but none of it at the cost of taking from others. My lapses, when they come, are generally short in scope, involving small scale or transitory issues. I do a pretty thorough job of examining my own situation and embracing responsibility for fixing the things I'm unsatisfied with. My weakness lies more in the area of commitment than will. The things I have failed at, or not yet succeeded to the degree I desire, are mainly areas where my will, rather than my ability, faltered.
The Biblical tale about the Fallen Angel, who sought to be the Dominator, to manipulate and control, to hold power over others, to be better even than God, to take and blame and compete in all things, speaks directly to and about this issue. There are some undeniable truths in there, as there are throughout all the organized religions, as there is in science and virtually every other field of human knowledge. It's the truths that hold these systems together. But spotting a few truths, no matter how inspirational, can lead you to embracing entire belief systems without any rigorous exploration or examination. That's dangerous, frankly. It's rather like counting a stack of money like this: "One, two, three, four, five, six... well, that much is here, so I don't have to count the rest." If you stop there, you don't really know how much you have or what you are dealing with. There could be some counterfeit in there, but you haven't checked. You could be short, or you could have MORE than you think... but you wouldn't know. Some of those one dollar bills might actually be fives or tens, but you didn't look. You don't actually know how much you have unless you count it all. If you believe something just because an authority told you it was safe to do so... is it really a belief you own and can hold conviction in? Or is it glib, untested, and quite possibly not what you expected it to be?
When organizations themselves behave as Dominators, it's time to get suspicious, particularly in the case of authorities who claim to represent a belief in the infinite, when their so-called infinite is not even PRETENDING to hold dominion, but instead demands your subjugation on pain of some dire consequence.
If the bottom-up folks are right, and reality IS finite, there can be no infinite spirit force. There would be nothing or no one in charge. At most, there might be an extremely successful dominator who has managed to conquer some bit of real estate, large or small, relatively speaking. No matter how much power over others a Dominator might bring to bear, he can dominate the will of others only with their allowance, with their agreement. Whether it be on pain of death, of punishment, of exclusion from paradise or threat of harm to loved ones or innocents, the Dominator tries to compel, in one way or another, but he can succeed only if his victims capitulate. So who has the real power in this arrangement? Whose success relies on the willingness of others? Compare to who has the ability to act, and perhaps also the willingness to act -- to choose NOT to submit? There's your real power. And there will always be resistance to domination. The Dominator can never rest, never trust... as soon as he shows any weakness, his competitors will tear him down and take his place.
Dominion would not be possible in a finite reality. There really would be scarcity, limited resources, limited authority, no responsibility, and no real power anywhere to be found. As the taking plays out and the blame game rages, as people vie for any advantage or power over others, as competition to see who can be the most ruthless manipulator or the most intimidating figure unfolds... is there anyone creating anything new? Anyone realizing their innate potential? Is there any VALUE to a life as a Dominator?
EVEN IF YOU WIN, YOU LOSE! You end up alone, sitting up on top, envied, resented or hated by all, with those who would try to manipulate you from weakness sucking up to you; but you can never really trust any of them, never let down your guard, never know the company of a true friend or even a mate. Like the predators at the top of the food chain in the wild, you'd have to constantly patrol your territory, reassert your dominance over those who would challenge you, struggle constantly against an unfriendly, uncaring world, and forever do unto others before they could manage to do unto you. Where is the meaning in that?
Yet if the top-down folks are right, and reality is infinite, spanning many more sets and structures, many more levels of awareness and action than are perceived with the physical senses, many more actualities, probabilities, possibilities and infinities than we can perceive in these limited, finite lifetimes we live as human... there is nothing to fear. Your body would be nothing more than a vehicle through which you operate in a temporary game played out in a physical set and setting. Your body would no more be YOU in that game, than your Amazon is YOU when you play Diablo II. That's not you, that character, and you know it. That's just your game piece, through which you interact in an illusionary environment. The "brain" would be the computer and the controls through which your consciousness directs the actions of the body, the character. Yet without YOU there to direct the character, it holds no semblance of life, since it is only a symbol representing the real YOU. When the Character dies, YOU still exist... and in an infinite reality, when your time in this particular game ends, YOU would still exist, and you would move on to your next game or exploration, whatever that turned out to be.
Actually, you wouldn't really "move on". Your other games (lives?) would be happening simultaneously. But that's getting a bit deep even for this much of a post.
If you DO have a soul, though... IF you do... if YOU do... and you are a piece of an infinite god, a member of the set of All That Is... then there was a time when you once knew and held dominion. Think about it. Dominion would be part of you, it would be your natural state, and like the story of the Fallen Angel Lucifer who sought to be better even than God, who chose to depart from the heavens, taking one third of the angels with him, your path down the road of the finite, into a realm and a game in which competition and domination are even POSSIBLE, would be only a choice. A choice you have the ability to change, if you also had the will. You could go home again, if you reach down deep inside and rediscover the spark, the essence of you that carries always the memory of who you really are. You might even find a path to discovering WHY you are here, and what it is you want from this game -- what you will need, in fact, if you are going to quit playing after this turn. If you don't figure out why you're here and what you wanted to experience, then when the game is over, aren't you likely to just play again, and again and again if need be, until you do find what you're looking for?
I have (many times, actually) heard the argument that there could be meaning only in having ONE life, in which you must "get it right" or be forever condemned (or forever dead). What meaning could there be in getting unlimited do-overs and second chances? To that I can only reply: What love is there in granting just one chance, which must be seized on pain of damnation? That's not love, it's manipulation. That's no way to teach, nor to learn, nor to live. Domination is the realm of the finite, and finite concepts are born of Dominators, not from god. In the story of Lucifer, god takes no action to stop him, makes no effort to dominate the dominator, but rather lets him go, and lets him do entirely as he pleases. Why?
That's the part of the story that I find the most compelling: god's response. Is it god's will that this angel should do these things? In a sense, yes, it has to be: but not a will of causation, rather a will of allowing. He does not stop them, does not demand of them, does not threaten them. The only way the angels can return home is to choose, once again, the path of dominion. And god will not compel them to do so. So he waits, waits for them to figure out the inevitable truth: when you undertake to become a Dominator, you are destined to end up being dominated... dominated by your own self. You give up all your power, all your grace, in pursuit of what? An elevated superiority from which you can gain... nothing at all of value!
If you really were a finite being... it wouldn't matter, would it? But you AREN'T! You're an integral part of an infinite One. The "others" you are trying to dominate... are YOU! At least that is my belief.
If you believe that physical reality is all there is, then your belief structure is bottom-up. If you start anywhere else BUT from the postulate that existence is infinite, your belief is founded on a finite point. You cannot extrapolate to infinity from zero. Your grasp will extend only as far as you reach, so you must reach for infinity if you are to make contact.
Why is time important? Only because it is the DEFINING value of your set and setting. Time is what lies between you and infinity. If you cannot learn to conceive of and to understand a timeless existance, then you will remain cut off from any perception of the true nature of reality. You will be unable to grasp the meaning, and you will not come to know Why.
Those whose gods walk within the time stream may as well be worshipping the sun. Their concept of god is bottom-up, and what they have imagined is not a being of love, not an infinite creator, but rather a finite being, a dominator, a devil in disguise.
Pete said we cannot know the truth. He's mistaken. We cannot prove the truth to one another, but a person can come to know. The proof lies in the conflict of good vs evil, the contrast between spiritual Dominion and unholy Domination. There IS evidence to be had that can support belief. It can be interpreted the other way, it can be explained away, since you are here in a physical set and setting with only physical signs to draw on. You must come in the end to matters of belief, but NOT necessarily to blind faith. For if the top-down belief structure is at all valid, there is and must be a link back to the source. Souls are not created apart from the greater infinity, but exist within it, in the image of it but on a smaller scale so as to focus on some region in close observation. If the top-down reality is real, you can prove it to yourself. You can find the spark of divinity within you, tap into the infinity. You can expand your range of possibilities, probabilities, actualities. You can draw on consciousness from beyond your own limited self, and through this tapping, you can know. You can know.
Domination is a game with no winners, only losers. The only way to win is not to play.
Reject domination and ALL dominators, no matter what claims they profess to make to you. Surrender not to their fearful admonishments, but open instead to the direct link you must have to divinity if there IS a divinity. Set dominion as your ideal and reach for infinity. Search yourself. If you look and find nothing in yourself that is not finite, then reject the top-down and go and seek to dominate. It's your choice. But consider that you do have a choice, or at least maybe you do. Maybe there is something more there you might choose to pursue. Choose dominion.
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