Suicide and The Cosmic Simulacrum

Simulacrum
1. An image or representation of someone or something.
‘a small-scale simulacrum of a skyscraper’

1.1 An unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.
‘a bland simulacrum of American soul music’

Oxford English Dictionary

Last night I learned of the 4th friend or acquaintance to commit suicide. Not to mention the list of celebrities.

This can be sad and tragic for the families and friends. I always wish that I could have said more to the friend or acquaintance, but of course the past is out of our hands.

What can be seen from this phenomenon?

I always see a pattern. It has to do with our basic outlook on life: what we think life is.

The first of them was a young woman in her 30s, a self-employed digital marketer and web developer, extremely intelligent and creative. I did some freelance work for her, and went out to lunch with and talked with her (or tried to) as a friend. She was caught up in time: time pressure, comparing herself to others, and competitiveness. She seemed to feel measured up or didn’t. She could not relax. I tried to get her interested in yoga or just doing something fun, and invited here, for example, to see a movie with me and a friend. She always had the same response: I don’t have time!! (she told me money was not a problem). It was self-created pressure, from how she was thinking about life.

Later, I heard some news about some neighbors who had become friends: a “hippie” couple in their early 60s, a freelance attorney by day and rock-and-roll drummer by night, and a housewife into gardening and her dogs. I perceived they saw one’s their lifestyle as the source of happiness: squeezing happiness from things, circumstances, or substances. The couple killed themselves together on camping trip in the mountains (a few years after I’d moved away): a suicide pact, well-planned in advance. All their friends were shocked, as they saw no warning. From our conversations, and what I gathered from friends of theirs, they had some losses from their lifestyle: a series of dogs died and they were experiencing some health problems. I also gathered from personal conversation when we were neighbors that they assumed reality was material, didn’t like religion or spirituality, and their happiness came from the health of the body, or rather was predicated on their body and the health of the body, and of their dogs they loved (their only family as it were). So they perceived losses as being related to where their happiness was coming from. When I ran into them later, after I’d moved, I noticed there was an undercurrent of fear and cynicism, a sense of drama beneath the surface friendliness and free-wheeling attitude.

Another, the latest, an acquaintance from my meditation group, a very intelligent man in his 30s, a self-employed programmer and long term yogi, widely traveled and supposedly poised to do spiritual teachings (an interesting contrast), was very serious in attitude. He appeared to be very concerned with the suffering in the world. I learned from a friend also, that sadly, he was also very preoccupied with his own psychological suffering. One’s personal misery and concern with the state of the world, as I see it, cannot be separated from what one assumes to be the cause of it’s conditions and one’s reaching for the key to freedom: if the cause is illusory and you reach within that mirage for the door, then your solution will never yield the fruit you desire.
In addition I perceived he had a sense of being somehow above it and able to know what the problem of the world was, and by and large he thought is was the capitalist political-economic-social system. Commendably, he wanted to bring balance to the world, yet could not seem to find it in himself.

Here I see a very common human practice: a habit of evaluation and judgement, of the world, of oneself and others (world & self & others) and a high regard for one’s personal opinions and beliefs. Are they really so precious such that their possible demise needs to be defended against at all costs?

But more essentially, who are these others and self and world? What is it made from? Where did it come from: are you going to believe what you were told or what someone said, that it came from a Big Bang, in time, a material process, and that is the end of the story, that science has, or even could have in theory, the final answer about ultimate question of who and what you are? Is it really believable that consciousness somehow emerged, local to brains, from what we call “matter”. Does anyone really even know what matter is? As far as we can tell it’s space with vibrations in it, a perfect dance of.. what? What we know of that dance is from math – math that came with a pre-existing harmony with a universe somehow – we can know from a mind we do not know the ultimate nature of in the first place. Mystery within mystery. Do we have to give it a name? Call it formless.

The current scientific dogma (or religion) is that consciousness arises from brains. A typical news article:

“…Consciousness is truly mysterious. It is the essence of you – the redness of red, the feeling of being in love, the sensation of pain and all the rest of your subjective experiences, conjured up somehow by your brain.” – from “Consciousness: How we’re solving a mystery bigger than our minds“, New Scientist magazine, FEATURE 20 June 2018, by Per Snaprud

Can science tell you what beauty is, what love is, and what truth is? Are you going to believe such a story, a made-up theory, so small as to be comic before the vastness of silence?

Seriousness and Control

It’s a big mistake – or should I say a basic misperception, since ultimately there are no mistakes – to take the world and oneself seriously. A mistake to feel sorry for oneself. It’s a fundamental error thinking one knows better how the universe should be according to you.

Lao Tzu, 2600 years ago:

Twenty-nine

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.

Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.

The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu”

But who or what is this self, this “I” that wants to change things, this “I” who is supposedly, presumed or assumed to be, a persistent, self-existing (independent), bounded entity? Who has the problem, who or what created the world & self & others?

No he wasn’t attached to misery (as one fellow meditation friend claimed), he was attached to what was at the root of his misery: to who he thought he was, and therefore creating an idea of others and world.

No, it wasn’t because his family origins, or that he wasn’t “connected” with them. Psychology is not a solution nor an illuminator of cause. We must go beyond cause and effect.

If one takes seriously the possibility that there is universal consciousness, that the body is an appearance in it and not self-existent, then killing the body is not a solution. It merely perpetuates or changes the form of the currently appearing issue. In other words he was seeing it as an object problem.

But what if there are no objects (in reality)? What if this were a cosmic simulacrum?
It’s probably no accident that I watched this episode last night (nothing is random and serendipity abounds when allowed to be seen):
Existential Crisis: Black Mirror Pushes A Philosophical Hypothesis, Popularized By Elon Musk And Physicists

In this episode about a near future, a series of co-workers are placed inside a frustrated and repressed CTO’s computer game simulation, via stealing a sample of their DNA and scanning it. The simulations come alive, are sentient, inside his game world along with the creator’s character (captain of the starship they are all on). They want to escape, but cannot. They cannot even commit suicide, because they are all under the control of the revengeful techie. At the end they finally find a clever escape and get their comeuppance.

The we-are-a-simulation-in-someone-elses-computer game hypothesis veils what is more likely (and has been pointed to by sages for millennia): there isn’t a separate simulator: you are merely caught up (identifying) with your own simulation, the mind-projected self/others/world (and time and space). You are in fact the simulator and the simulated at the same time…

Therefore there is no escape from Reality.

But why would you want to escape, if what you are is causeless happiness: eternal, imperturbable, beyond space and time, absolutely free, not subject to cause and effect? We only pretend we are not happy. As hard to accept as that may be to many, I believe it is the truth.

I have glimpsed this causeless unbounded, unlimited free range happiness more than once, but am not yet living in it full time. But “I” will get there eventually, because it is who I am, already, if only the filters of thinking, the habits, the practice of self-ing, were to stop being held onto, repeated with memory and thinking. We all get there one way or another. It’s just a matter of time. Or rather, the timeless unfolding within the seeming boundaries of space and time: the infinite potential that manifests as you and I and all phenomenon, if you allow it. What are your real limits? How much love are you capable of? How much beauty can you experience? How much truth is there to be seen? Why are you here? Freedom is what we are made of. It’s a case of mistaken identity.

If you could only wake up and realize it. It’s that simple.

But this is one stubborn and incredibly detailed and compelling dream. One in which we are addicted to being a human, to being a person.
But the answer is not to try and kill one’s avatar, because it’s the nature of the game to have avatars and a world they play in. There will always be avatars in this eternal-now playing in the infinity matrix. Rather, see who is running the show.

There can be a three-part process: first you realize what you are not – the small self, the others, the world – then you realize what you are – Consciousness – then you realize they are one and the same: Self and phenomena (objects). As in the Zen parable: first the mountains are mountains…:

“Before a man studies Zen, to him mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after he gets an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, mountains to him are not mountains and waters are not waters; but after this when he really attains to the abode of rest, mountains are once more mountains and waters are waters.”

(D. T. Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, 1926, London; New York: Published for the Buddhist Society, London by Rider, p. 24.)”

In this I know I may be misunderstood, and a lot of assumptions and ideas and opinions and conclusions and knowledge will come into play for many readers, but I’m telling you it needs to be taken seriously: that there is, and what you are, is not what you think there is or what you are. It needs to be taken seriously that there is what we could call for lack of any adequate term for everyone for all time, Consciousness. Language is deceptive because it’s built to point to objects in consciousness (and processes in time, for bodies, selves, persons…), but in what do the objects appear? Could it be it’s not an object but the subject of all objects, and that the objects are made of this? Is it possible? Can you entertain that? At least for a moment in your busy days, with all it’s objects to attend to and evaluations going on? Yes, with all it’s seriousness about these objects and oneself and others? Is it possible you are taking the wrong things seriously? It may sound idealistic or “out there” but What If it were true – don’t wait until you are 70 years old and worried about dying, or near suicide, or recovering from a suicide attempt, or are a drug addict, or have lost one or more loved ones, or are in some other crisis like a financial or health one, to ponder these things. The time is now. Always now.

Comedy Sketch – Advaitans Anonymous (AA)

[Note: this sketch was performed by the actor Vishal Patel who read the script, liked it, and volunteered – to great fanfare, at a recent Francis Lucille retreat, in Temecula, California. I did the fake “announcement” afterwards]

“So I heard there was a woman who spent a million dollars on retreats and seeking enlightenment over the years, traveling around the world to different teachers and taking retreats. We really should have interventions for these people. They become addicted to spiritual retreats, non-duality videos, spiritual teachers, that sort of thing. We need an Advaitans Anonymous! An AA…

“I’m [your name] and I’m an Advaitaholic. After my 27th nondualist retreat, I hit bottom. I’d been listening to Rupert Spira in the shower, mainlining Francis Lucille before breakfast, blasting Robert Adams in the car on the way to work, and sneaking a peak at “I Am That” in the men’s bathroom stalls when I was supposed to be on a sales call with Iowa. And at my last retreat, I was signing up for my next two retreats on my phone during morning meditation. I needed help. I was out of control, in a will-less state. Thank God for my friend John, who found me on the floor of my apartment, with an endless loop of Rupert playing on my computer, repeating ‘Aware of being aware of being aware of being aware …’
I was staring off into space with a look of emptiness… He picked me up off the floor and drove me to my first meeting.”

“Let me tell you a bit about my life as an Avaitaholic. While the sages – the good ones anyway – are always pointing to the moon, the seekers I hung out with from retreats were busy collecting pointers, like heroine addicts collecting old needles. We shared them with each other. Yeah we traded dirty pointers, like baseball cards…

“So after a satsang we’d go out together to a juice bar and get some organic freshly squeezed, Kosher, vegan, natural, ethical, environmentally-friendly, locally grown, non-GMO, non-dairy, antioxidant, low-sodium, no MSG, no nuts, no peanuts, no soy, no gluten, caffeine free, free-range, cage-free, fat-free, sugar free … juices (big breath…), that were not free.

“We’d be sitting around the juice bar, and start trading our non-duality cards. They’re just like baseball cards except they have only have one side…

[IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE:]

To demonstrate I’ve enlisted my friend…

Advaitan 1: “I’ve got this cool metaphor card. It has a picture of Santa Claus on it, with a big red “X” through him.

Advaitan 2: Oh I know that one. It says on the back, if you meet the Santa Claus on the road, kill him, right?. It’s OK.

Advaitan 1: It’s OK … I’ve also got one with a wave on the ocean. It’s really beautiful.

Advaitan 2: Those are a dime a dozen –Advaitan 1: I’ll give you one of the wave cards plus one with a photo of the Divine Mother on it. You can trade for a hug at any Ammas-R-Us stores in your area. It’s pretty cool.

Advaitan 2: Check this out though, instead of just a metaphor or hug card, I have a Laura Lucille card. It’s brand new – totally fresher man. More in the moment. See how shiny it is?

Advaitan 1: Big deal, I’ve got a *Francis* Lucille card – very elegant and poetic. Very European and cultured.

Advaitan 2: Too intellectual. But I’ve also got this original Ramana Maharshi card and it’s totally authentic; this is like the original Indian version, with loincloth and everything – very like, mysterious, deep and enigmatic.

Advaitan 1: Sure that’s cool, but check this out, I’ve got an original sayings of Jesus oral traditions.

Advaitan 2: Oral traditions?

Advaitan 1: Yeah, you can’t even read it!

Advaitan 2: Oh that’s no biggie man, I’ve got a Super Buddha Taoist Card. On one side it exists and on the other it doesn’t.

Advaitan 1: Big deal, your Buddha card, that’s nothing, Nothing man! I’ve got the God card.

Advaitan 2: No Way! What do you want for it? (to audience: “you ready for this?”)

Advaitan 1: Way. But you have to surrender all your cards if you want it.

Advaitan 2: Throws his cards in the air.

(Writer’s or MC’s Announcement, after main act is done – uses fake press release from comedy site The Onion)

I just wanted to make a special little announcement that I have it on good authority from a highly reputable source on the Internet that the CERN laboratory for physics in Geneva Switzerland reports that the universe will be ending, uh… (looks through papers, find news release – see fake press release below)…. next Friday.
So anyway, if I were you (and I am you, right?) I strongly advise that you invest as soon as possible in a good Cosmic Insurance Policy. And you know while you’re at it I would stay open to the possibility that the Noumena are going to go along with the Phenomena, and invest in some Consciousness Insurance as well. I mean come on, don’t believe everything Francis tells you – he said it himself: there’s a 50/50 chance, according to reason that consciousness is not universal. So I suggest hedging your bets, in case consciousness turns out to be local, limited and personal, and is going to be going the way of the dinosaur. I’ll be putting some special policies up on Amazon.com just for my Truth Lover friends.

That’s it. Anyway, hopefully your deep sense of lack and wanting is fulfilled at least temporarily by this little skit … if not there’s always sex and drugs.

Report: Universe To End Next Friday
6/04/18 9:46am

GENEVA—A coalition of scientists at CERN announced this morning that the Universe, the accumulation of matter and energy that makes up everything that is, will end abruptly next Friday. “The totality of existence as we know it, including time, space, all distributed matter throughout our reality, and all 11 vibrational dimensional membranes will cease to exist promptly at 11:08 p.m. GMT on June 15,” CERN officials said in a press release signed by every leading expert in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and all related fields. “At the end of next week, the universe will simultaneously dissolve and collapse upon itself, effectively obliterating all that exists across the entire 93 billion light year diameter of our cosmos and all concurrent nesting realities, so please plan accordingly. Wrap up any loose ends you still consider important, say goodbye to your loved ones, and make peace with the cessation of the very nature of your consciousness.” Top theologists and clergy across the world also confirmed that, should higher planes such as Heaven, Elysium, or Nirvana actually exist, then they, too, will be destroyed.

The Paradoxes Along the Path

(Click here to jump down to the list of paradoxes)

There are many paradoxes one encounters, or should I say can “glimpse”, along the path towards knowing one’s true nature. As you notice how your experience is formed and get clues it’s not just given by outside events, you start to detect that there’s something rather subtle and and amazing going on behind it all: like getting a glimpse behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Or the physicist trying to pin down a particle with his instruments, and the particle not behaving as a particle or a wave, but both, depending on how he looks at it.

Unlike the Wizard of Oz situation however — instead of finding out it’s all just a show run by a particular showman — it’s a show run by… something rather hard to define: Some show-making source we could call “Consciousness” or the formless. That reality, whatever it is, that is reading these words right now. The perceiver of perceptions. The Perceiver-in-Chief as it were.

In these intimations of reality behind and beyond perceptions, to the source and ultimate substance that is not a substance but the formless, we start to see many paradoxes: seeming contradictions that belie an underlying unity.

The word “paradox” comes from the roots “para” meaning “around”, “outside”, “along”, or “outside of”, and “dox” meaning “belief” or “opinion”.

A paradox is understood to be two things that are seemingly contradictory yet at another level actually being both true at the same time.

Why are there so many seeming paradoxes in spiritual truths?

The short answer is, Reality is One, but the mind deals in duality.

The longer answer is, Reality, in order to see itself, creates a not-self. Sort of like an invisible magician of infinite power existing in a universe of pure potential of it’s own making, gets bored and decides to see if he can see what he looks like. So beings come into existence, but for something to appear as if it’s separate, there has to be distance, thus space, and that implies time to traverse space if you are a aprt of it and not the whole thing.

Reality, that absolute one-ness, in order play the game of life, that is, have an apparent universe, time and space, an apparent separate self, and therefore a non-self, and endless objects of consciousness, must have duality for there to appear to be anything. So a point of view arises we call ourselves. It seems to have some kind of linear existence, and makes language to help put thoughts in forms for seeming others. So of course language is linear, but nonetheless can evoke the nonlinear. (That’s why we have poets and artists: the perfume of the absolute, if you will: truth love and beauty are qualities of what Is).

Remember the very first stanza of the Tao Te Ching (one of the greatest, most timeless wisdom teachings in existence):

One

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

(Source: The Complete Tao Te Ching
Translated by Gia-Fu Feng (馮家福 Feng Jia-fu, 1919–1985) and Jane English (1942–)
Vintage Books, 1989)

Like subatomic particles springing forth as opposites from nothing (which has been observed by physicists: it’s called Quantum Vacuum Energy), the play of opposites is what at every moment is creating an apparent world. To go from nonlinear, unchanging reality to linear appearances, you need differences, measurements, change, up and down, light and dark, negative and positive, near and far. Movement.

Love has no opposite, but in world there appears love and hate. In the world there is flux and the rising and falling of all things.

A sage knows there are no-things and that he or she is no-thing.

At moments an ordinary mortal can get a glimpse that unifies the opposite: a sense of something insensible and invisible, that shows truths that transcend opposites. But since these glimpses are timeless, and the mind deals in time, it cannot hold on to them, except as images, sounds, or feelings in consciousness.

A Side Note on the Paradoxes of Liberation, Self-Realization, Freedom, the Direct Path:

Yes, it’s all very paradoxical. To the mind. Because what we are dealing with is doing something that can’t be done, with a person that is not a person, wanting a state that isn’t a state, wanting something for a being that has it all because they are it all, loving when there is not a lover and a loved but only one love, desiring a thing when there are no things, seeking when you are the sought… shall I go on? How about:
Feeling a failure at something that takes one beyond success and failure, making so many mistakes when there are no mistakes, feeling flawed and wrong for feeling flawed and wrong, wanting to use the head to get out of the head.
Does the universe have self-esteem problem? The artist wants beauty and perfection, but physical life comes up short.
Going beyond the body, realizing one is not a body, (seemingly) via the body.

Yet we are all, at the same time, unique expressions of what is ultimately just One, appearing as infinite variety and diversity. Difference in unity.

In any case, I thought it would be interesting to start listing (I like lists) some of the paradoxes my mind spit out along the “pathless path” (the direct path).

From the perspective of a self, or a person, a seeming psychological entity, one may notice these paradoxes of unfoldment into truth:

A Growing List of Paradoxes


Trying to Relax; Trying to be Yourself; The Seeker is the Sought

• You’ve probably laughed at this paradox: “trying” to relax.
• And the mental state of meditation offers another seeming paradox: Don’t focus or make an effort – just relax the attention to allow a de-focused state. This state is natural and pre-existing.
• And the likewise funny paradox of the time it takes, or rather think it takes, assume it takes, believes it takes, to realize one’s true nature: if you go to enough retreats, meditate long enough, spend enough time and effort in practice and seeking, through time you will realize the timelessness of yourself (what is). It was all a charade. You can throw away the scaffolding you needed to get where you already are.
• Causeless happiness will be caused by doing stuff (such as meditation, loving your guru…).
• Seeking is what is keeping you from finding what you are seeking. Your best, truest, highest self is when you stop stop seeking your best, truest, highest self (so don’t hold on to anything, and surrender what didn’t exist in the first place to God).
• By losing yourself you find yourself.
• All the effort it takes to realize effortlessness – effortless awareness, effortless doing, effortless manifesting and effortless enjoying… how exhausting!

Change & The Timeless
Your evolution and change are grounded in the timeless and unchanging.

In Realizing Your Subjectivity You Become More Objective
It points to the most subjective thing – the self-created nature of our experience – yet allows you to be more objective.

Effortless Learning and Creativity
It’s easier to grasp or learn if you don’t try too hard. When you relax, you can get an “Aha!” moment, and see a self-evident truth in an instant.

Change & Acceptance
To change something about yourself, you have to stop trying to change it. This is called acceptance.
The only way to change anyone around you is to realize it doesn’t matter if they change or not. This is called acceptance of others.

Results from Detachment
The less results matter to us, the more likely we are to live in the present and create them. This is called detachment.

The Unknown is Pointed to With The Known
Talking about the Unknown can only happen via the known. At the highest level, this is called mysticism.

To Give is to Receive
The more we give up the more we get. The more we give the more we receive. You are giving to your Self (there are no others).

The Vehicle is not the Journey
You are ultimately responsible for your thinking but not Thought itself. This is called the personal and the Impersonal.

Your self is and is not the Self
You find yourself when you no longer know who you are. This is called the True Self.

Suffering is Voluntary (if you only Knew It) – We Don’t Want What We Want
To try and end your suffering, don’t try and end suffering. Don’t give it a Second thought. This is called Letting Go.

Real Illusion
Thought is not Reality. Yet it is the only reality most of us know. This is called the Great Illusion: everything is made of Conscisouness (or Mind if you like), so even illusion has reality. Our experience is a real illusion.

Free Will is Fate
An act of free will is fated. It is fate for you to have free will. Get over it.

Perfect Imperfection
Even in the seeming imperfection of life and ourselves, there is the grand play of the whole, which is perfect, infinite, and complete. This experience is called being human.

An enlightened person knows there are no enlightened persons
(That is enlightenment! Even though there is no such thing, HAHAHAHAHA…).

Paradoxes are not until they are
The paradox about paradoxes is that they aren’t paradoxes until they are: unless one is seeing from a perspective that shows how a particular paradox is a paradox, it doesn’t appear to be a paradox, it just sounds like a contradiction. So a paradox is both paradoxical and not paradoxical at the same time.

There are many, many more… these were just what I thought of when I wrote this.

The great Western philosopher Immanual Kant presented what be termed “Antinomies”: timeless opposites that can’t be avoided when trying to understand the absolute in terms of the relative, time in terms of the timeless, etc.
“Immanuel Kant’s Antinomies, from the Critique of Pure Reason, are contradictions which he believed follow necessarily from our attempts to conceive the nature of transcendent reality.” (Wikipedia)