Reality and Observation

Deepak Chopra posted something on Twitter than I have to respond to, but can't nearly do it in the 140-character confines of Twitter.

His Tweet:

"Empirical measurement is a description of a mode of observation not of fundamental reality."

This is a tricky one.  Dr. Chopra implies that what we perceive empirically is not real.  Such a stance makes the world impossibly opaque, and leaves us in a state of perpetual not-knowingness, and not the good kind.

What is amiss here is not the underlying sentiment, however, but the notion of reality.  Consider this alternate idea --

"Everything empirically perceived is real but not all encompassing."

This idea liberates us from the blind pawing at an unknowable fundamental reality . . . it acknowledges the realness of our perceptions, the accuracy (and the limits) of our science and measuring capabilities, and gives us a basis from which to explore further, building upon what we know to have already established as real.

However, the further implications are, well, staggering.  

1.  Everything empirically perceived . . . meaning, there is no such thing as a hallucination.  How this can be true is embodied in the idea that --

2.  .  . . not all encompassing.  Meaning that reality in its totality contains many unknown aspects, and possibly some unknowable aspects.

Taken together these two concepts at the same give us a basis and shake that basis to its foundations, but without simply denying the (very real) existence of that basis.

This idea does not make things easier.  It makes things much harder, because it prevents us from dismissing aspects of reality that we don't want to deal with, or can't account for ("things that go bump in the night" for example).  But at the same time our state of not-knowingness is at least informed by the small percentage of fundamental reality that we have been able to work out thus far.

Everything You Know Is Wrong, Part I

[It seems like a good time to examine some utterly wrong statements that many people take for granted.  Number 1 in a series.]

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."  --Friedrich Nietzsche

Everyone's heard this one, or something very close.  And from what I can tell the vast majority of us take it as gospel.  

And admittedly it makes a lot of surface sense.  It expresses some ideal of human nature . . . the idea that a human (and by extension, humanity) is made better and stronger by struggle and misfortune and pain, emerging stronger on the other side (or dead, in which case presumably it doesn't matter).

Reality, however, simply does not bear this out.  We're surrounded by examples of cases where people were not killed, but did not emerge stronger.  They are broken, or bitter, or loon-ass crazy.  They end up mean, or criminal, or narcissistic, or fearful to the point of paralysis.  Some of these people are hidden away in our jails and mental institutions; most are not.  They are in our lives, often, and all around us.  Sometimes we're acutely aware of their damage, sometimes not.  Sometimes our own damage prevents us from seeing the extent of the damage around us.

The really insidious inaccuracy of "that which does not kill us makes us stronger" lies not in the failures, however, but rather in the apparent successes.  We can all see and understand, to varying degrees, the sad or neurotic or fearful broken person, trampled down by the harsh randomness of life and the unique hell that other people can be.  But the other end of the spectrum, the ones made so much stronger, apparently, are harder to see for what they represent, and create so much more misery in the world.  The most annoying and depressing "Debbie Downer" among us creates a tiny fraction of the negativity and damage that the sadistic boss, the bully, the unapologetic corporate scumbag, the Type A crazy person, create.  And yet we celebrate those people and ridicule those who are too timid to step over others to get what they want.

We have confused survival with strength.  The "strength" we admire is not heroic; it is the sad residue of a spirit that takes to the crushing other spirits in order to preserve itself.  A few, a very few people, rise above the randomness and pain of life and emerge truly stronger and better.  Real strength lies in seeing what has happened, processing it, and letting it go.  Emerging at the conclusion of that process is a truly strong person -- tough without being brittle, powerful without being a bully, focused without being blind to the world outside.

That which does not kill us . . . does not kill us.  It can make us stronger, if we were strong enough to see the possibility of emerging stronger to begin with.  It's not much of an exaggeration to say that recognizing the truth of that is crucial to humanity's future.

Reconciling Dominance with Humility

When I am praised I tend to deflect the compliment.  I have come to realize that some people find this vaguely insulting (as in I'm somehow devaluing their praise, and thus the praiser), but nothing could be further from the truth.  I am highly appreciative of the praise.  I simply can't allow Myself to unreservedly buy into it.

I have a saying I use . . . I no longer remember if it's original or not;  if it's not, My apologies to the original author of it.  My goal is to "not believe My own press clippings."  Even if (especially if, actually) they are true.

This approach keeps Me balanced, sweet, and hungry.  I don't lapse into arrogance or complacency because I keep telling Myself I still have light-years to go.  I stay (mostly) nice because I know I don't know it all.

OK, so I sound pretty wonderful, right?

I'm no saint . . . I have My crappy moods, My insecurities, My petty concerns.  But by trying to stay humble, and, this is the most important part, by really meaning it, I avoid a lot of the pitfalls that any kind of Dominant or leader can fall into.  All leaders have a mask (a topic I wrote about a long time ago), but humility is not My mask -- it's real, and feels real.  And necessary.

Which brings up the logical question:  A humble Domme?  Isn't that an oxymoron?

No.  For the the following reasons.

1.  One has to be what one is.  Dominance comes naturally;  learning humility doesn't diminish one's natural Dominant nature.

2.  Humility enhances Dominance.  This is fairly obvious -- power without control is one definition of evil.  Humility provides the necessary restraint that enlightens Dominance and transforms it into real Leadership.

3.  The Humble Domme has better submissives.   We as Dominants end up with the subs/slaves We deserve.  The Domme who knows what She doesn't know ends up with submissives who understand and appreciate the nuances of their role, and who respect Her for her Humanity as well as for Her power.  To be served by that kind of submissive is an unparalleled joy.

Social media is too damn . . .

 . . . social!

I recently joined Twitter . . . to promote this blog a little, mainly.  I also figured out that by following the sports teams I like I can get scores and news items without having to dig around for them.

I also followed some posters on other topics I'm interested in, namely BDSM and Spirituality.  And therein lies the trouble.

There is a process, of course . . . one follows a bunch of people, then gradually figures out which feeds to stop following and which ones to stay with.

So far, most of the BDSM feeds I follow are those of ProDommes . . . they seem to be mostly what's out there to follow, but I'm new at this so perhaps My feed-searching skills are not what they should be yet.  As for content most of these feeds are not that interesting to Me, but sometimes they are humorous or an interesting picture is posted.  Most of the ProDommes on Twitter that I follow really should avoid political/social pronouncements if they want to be thought of as intelligent, but I could say that about most people, regardless of what they do for a living.

The Spirituality feeds, thus far, are more troubling.  I get that the idea of social media, at least to some extent, is that anyone can say anything about anything.  And I get that in the realm of spirituality, almost anything goes, since most see it as an area where there is no presumed "truth."  In other words, most people won't venture uninformed statements about . . . molecular biology, or auto repair, let's say, but feel very comfortable saying anything and everything in the realm of spirituality.

And the problem is not necessarily that this multitude of spiritual tweets is "wrong."  The problem lies in the fact that in most cases they are too generically correct.  Here's a recent example of the kind of tweet I'm talking about:

Don't be afraid. You are already everything.

Now, this is certainly true, or arguably so, on several different levels.  But it's so non-specific as to be . . . valueless, to Me, anyway.  It's the spiritual equivalent of saying that "the entire universe is composed of energy," which in a sense is true, but is so broad as to not shed any light on the nature of anything in the universe.

For Me, spiritual analysis (and it can be analyzed) must be specific, focused.  I like Mom and Apple Pie as much as the next Girl but they don't get Me very far in terms of being enlightening.

A big part of the problem lies in a medium itself.  It's hard to say much profound in 140 characters, especially if one can't shake the grammar bug.

Is spirituality on Twitter a lost cause, then?  I don't know . . . way too early to tell.  

My girl lissa suggested, and I imagine she is 100% correct, that it takes time to find the right feeds to follow, and in turn to attract the right followers.  So there's that to look forward to.

In the meantime, however . . . have to whore it up!  Follow Me ( @Enchanted_Palms ) and I'll follow you!  Promise!