Consciousness Video Series: Episode 7: A Theory of Everything

This most recent effort in producing video content has been the most challenging of the series, for a number of reasons, and the software I’m using continues to provide a fair amount of aggravation as I worked at putting it all together, but I think the result is interesting enough considering the subject, in spite of the difficulties I encountered along the way in making it.

The locations included in this video provide some lovely scenes, even if the details and characteristics of the video presentation have some shortcomings. I hope my visitors and subscribers will enjoy viewing this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

The inclusion of cosmological subject matter, along with some ideas in basic modern physics was included only as a reference point for the conversation, and not offered as any sort of lesson. I tried to keep it simple and make no claim to being especially knowledgeable more than in a casual way.

The final musical offering by Bach is the Trio Sonata for Organ #2 in C Minor, BWV 526 – Largo. Several of the other musical pieces somehow didn’t come through audibly when I first posted the video for some reason, but they have now been restored to the video.


11 thoughts on “Consciousness Video Series: Episode 7: A Theory of Everything

    1. It is certainly true that I am grateful for my life and for the beauty I have been able to experience while living my life. I believe it is important to acknowledge our gratitude for the opportunity to experience life, since cultivating a grateful heart is essential in order to promote our well-being generally, but the experience of life can also be difficult and painful in ways that might not immediately inspire gratitude, and we must find a path through these difficulties in order to be aware of and appreciate the beauty which will inevitably arrive in the future.

      I think my main point in this blog posting was to suggest that there are aspects to the EXPERIENCE of life and beauty that cannot be comprehensively explained by science alone, and that as important and vital as the science of life is in gaining a greater understanding of life itself, developing a “theory of everything,” may require something more. We may have to look beyond the physical sciences of cosmology and quantum theory and include ideas that help us express the fullness of life as cognitively functional beings, which may not be quantifiable in the same way that scientific theories can be.

      1. Thank you; an insightful response. For me, the holy grail is being able to see the beauty in the difficult and painful experiences as well. Some of the most precious gifts can be wrapped in ugly paper. I don’t want to dismiss it because my first impression/experience is “bad”. That might be a case of
        “…throwing out the baby with the bath water…”

      2. Seeing the benefit of some painful experiences generally takes place in retrospect, but with a sufficient degree of life experience one might at least be able to recognize that the ultimate outcome may not necessarily be known right away and allow their suffering to be mitigated by hope. With patience earned by that experience, we also may be able to postpone judgement about particular outcomes long enough to see how it all pans out.

      3. From my perspective, hope is bound to future thought rather than reality. As long as we view pain and suffering through the lenses of time, we do not see them as they really are. The big leap occurs when we fully understand the resistance that occurs in the conditioned mind when we are told that “time is an illusion”.

      4. In 1941, Bertrand Russell wrote, “And so, to the man tempted by despair, I say: Remind yourself that the world is what we make it, and that to the making of it each one of us can contribute something. This thought makes hope possible: and in this hope, though life will still be painful, it will be no longer purposeless.”

        Certainly, if we employ hope in our lives, it suggests an anticipation of what may be possible in what we consider to be “the future,” but it seems to me that the actual application of hope takes place in this very moment now, which is technically all we ever have–just this very moment in which we live. The allusion to the “illusion of time” is itself mostly a concession to our perceptions as physical beings anyway, but the idea of time as a practical matter as we measure it here on Earth is at least useful in a number of ways, as we record and observe our subjective experience of “daily life,” and the “passing of years.”

        Most folks are unconcerned about the implications of philosophical musings regarding the true nature of what we refer to as “time.” Floating through interstellar space, if such a thing was possible, there would be no rotations of a planet, or tilting of a planetary axis, or the revolving around a star for reference points and there would be no way to measure the subjective experience of that travel without some other reference points relative to that travel. I suppose, though, that one might find oneself “hoping” to arrive safely at their destination, and “hope” to arrive alive, without necessarily resisting the idea that “time is an illusion.”

  1. You have a wonderful way of looking at life and I thank you for sharing your ponderings, as Russell did his. It reminds me of a story about a mentor of mine. I went to visit him as he was dying from cancer, and thought I might give him some cheerful wisdom from a well known historical figure.
    After I quoted this tidbit of wisdom, my mentor looked at me and said, “Well, that worked for him!” I just laughed out loud at the fact that rather than me imparting some consoling wisdom, he had just done so for me. What I have come to realize is that we each already know what we need having looked to others for the list. Now, having spent our youth long ago and having a sense of “soon, but not yet,” perhaps we question whether the world that we make ( in Russell’s sense) gets a passing grade. From my perspective, Hope cannot give us that answer.
    Perhaps then it then becomes a Question of merit or mercy, and who is it that decides? Merit leaves us helpless/hopeless.

    1. You also seem to have a wonderful way of looking at life, and I appreciate very much that you took the time to share your thoughts with me. Hope is not the sole arbiter of resolution to any of our conundrums as you so rightly suggest, It is only an avenue which may, in certain circumstances, delay despair long enough to get us through another day.

      None of us are able to compensate directly for our shortcomings in any immediate sense, but if we have hope, in the most general sense, perhaps either the circumstances might allow a change in direction eventually, or perhaps our willingness to postpone the feeling of helplessness may just be enough to arrive at a moment where we can see another path. I do not suggest that every challenge can be met, or that our suffering can always be mitigated by hope, but it seems to me, that if there IS a chance for mitigation, hope may just be the very thing that allows life to progress.

      Clearly, I am an optimist, and I make no apology for that. Life is not only about one thing. That much is certain.

      1. John,

        I sense the efficacy of your hope found in the statement,” …or perhaps our willingness to postpone the feeling of helplessness may just be enough to arrive at a moment where we can see another path.” Hopefully for you, this is that moment and you can “sense” there is another path, although it may be shrouded in a cloud of unknowing. This is how it works. Now.

  2. Absolutely lovely John and I find your thoughts echo my own most closely. “What is it all about” you ask. Indeed, that is the question. I also feel, like you, that wondrous as it is, the answers, if they come at all, will not come through the mechanism of science alone. I do not posit a deist approach and yet like you I have a strong intuition that mind may be far more important than we currently allow for. And that a purely materialist exploration or indeed explanation of “it all” will never get us answers to the vital questions you ask.

    And I love the music. Hard to believe in a materialist only universe when confronted with such sublime beauty.

    All best wishes

    1. You are very generous in your characterization of my efforts, and I appreciate very much that you took the time to review my posting so closely.

      I agree with you that our mutual thoughts about these ideas are closely related, and wish very much that more of the materialists would allow for greater leeway in their deliberations. It truly isn’t necessary to posit a deist approach in order to arrive at a comprehensive theory about consciousness, but instead, if we can at least open ourselves to what might be possible, the full realm of possibility encompasses the idea of a spiritual or nonphysical component to life, and even the most ardent physically-oriented scientist might be able to get there, if they would only entertain what is possible, instead of only what is provable.

      I also love the music and I knew that you would appreciate the sublime beauty inherent in it.

      Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement…John H.

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