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Who We Are What We Are

Meaning and Measurement


Just over three hundred and fifty years ago René Descartes looked around at his world and realized there was a lot that did not make sense, especially when he applied his method of experience, reason, and logic to the prevailing view of the day. Contrary to that view, which called for blind and unquestioning faith in the dictums of those in authority… truth to him was what his own experiential reasoning and logic told him was true, whether it agreed with what others said or not.

Even today, in the midst of an era of scientific dominance and supposed reliance on “facts”, we are not taught to think for ourselves and experience our own reality. We lose track of what we are sure we know because we have discovered it for ourselves, and what we think we know because someone else told us it is so. While there certainly is no need for each of us to reinvent the wheel, an awful lot gets accepted as truth only because it was said by someone in power, be it a teacher, preacher, politician, or parent. This also goes, of course, for the words of authors challenging the prevailing paradigm.

It is particularly important that the source of what we accept as real be remembered in dealing with non-material subjects such as consciousness. However, this does not make such experiences unverifiable or unreproducable.  The mystic genius Rudolf Steiner noted that the genuine spiritual investigator, (which we can read as “consciousness investigator”), could never expect to have his words met with blind credulity, but could only share his experiences and let others experience them for themselves. Steiner considered his teachings scientific because he believed anyone could cultivate the spiritual knowledge he had by practicing his method, in the same way that Descartes believed anyone could discern truth by applying his method. Using the same tools, in other words, produces the same result. Yet, both Descartes and Steiner knew full well that the truth of which they spoke, was theirs alone until verified individually by their readers.

The prevailing scientific paradigm has trained us to believe that our individual internal experiences are subjective and cannot be relied on, merely the result of individual misinterpretation of what is outside and objective. The external, we have been told, is absolute, real, and most importantly true for everyone if we would only get ourselves out of the way.

Why has science placed so high a value on the outer reality rather than the inner one? The answer is simple, the outside reality can be measured, and that is what science does. Without an ability to measure and quantify, science could not even exist. As a result, it is only that the inner reality cannot be measured that makes it “unscientific”. If it could be, it would be.

Measurement in the outer world is easy. Take sounds, for example, where microphones can pick up the vibrations caused by speech. We can register the shape and amplitude of the waves being transmitted, and apply electrodes and sensors to ears and brains to measure the extent to which those waves have made it safely across the space between speaker and listener to the other side. All that can be measured scientifically.

There is, unfortunately, no way to measure precisely what meaning that sound is given by the person sending it nor what meaning it is given by the person receiving it… that is, how that sound is interpreted by any particular individual on the screen of inner reality. We just do not know, although we can guess, and often try to, by putting numbers on those guesses and calling them scientific.

We can say, for example, that statistically speaking “most people” interpret particular words in one way or another. Or we can say “most American men” or “most Black women”, or “most teenage children in dysfunctional families living in urban settings who have not graduated from elementary school and for whom English is a second language.” We can devise any number of qualifiers to try to limit the variety of parameters affecting how the external measurable transmission is going to be interpreted by any given individual. Political spin doctors do it all the time when they are working with aggregates. The fact of the matter is, however, when it comes down to any specific individual… we just do not know.

This concentration of science in the outer world is not a problem, except for a built-in assumption on the part of many practitioners of science that the inner reality does not even exist. Denying non-physical reality is no smarter than the ascetic who swears that only unchanging God is real and the material world is illusion. Each is only looking at half the picture.

The feeling of ‘I’, the unifying human conscious experience capable of accessing both inner and outer reality exists somewhere in-between the two. We combine the measurable and the meaningful. Therefore. a more comprehensive way of viewing total reality, emerging with the new paradigm, is to say that…

1/…the physical outer world is provable and non-intuitive;

2/…the spiritual inner world is intuitive and non-provable.

We, as humans, experience both and both are real.  But, don’t take my word for it. What is said here will be meaningful to you only as you experience and feel it resonate with everything else you accept as real. And when <GamesofConsciousness.com>gets up and running, you will be able to access unique games and exercises that should let you experience both realities for yourself.


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