Resplendence, Science and Religion

Chris King

 

I want to explain to you about resplendence, a revolutionary world-view, which complements science and transcends religion.

 

Our existential condition consists of a complement of two very different aspects. On the one hand, we are conscious sentient beings and it's through our subjective consciousness that all our experiences of the world around us are carried. Without consciousness, we wouldn't even know the universe exists.

 

On the other hand, we learn from our experiences of the physical world that we are biological organisms, that we have brains, that we are vulnerable to losing consciousness if we are knocked on the head and if we are seriously injured, we may die and our consciousness cease to exist. So we have these two very different aspects to the existential condition. It appears that those two are irreducible, we can't have one - we don't know that we can have one without the other.

 

And since the dawn of history, humanity has had two accounts, one essentially about the practical details of how to survive in the natural world of tooth and claw, so we learn to be, to make tools, learn to be good hunters, learn to make very toxic arrow poisons. On the other hand, the females who brought about eighty-five percent of the diet in the gatherer-hunter period, learned to classify hundreds of different plant species, that were both medicinal, needed for food and some were poisonous, how to make textiles, cosmetics. All of these things are the elements of science and technology, because they are the objective practical things that we need to discover and we need to get them right in an objective way simply to survive in the natural world.

 

On the other hand, all of human cultures have sought to understand what's the meaning in existence, why are we here, to make creations myths about  our origin and to explain ourselves in terms of spirits and deities that are al manifestations of consciousness that have their meaning through subjective consciousness.

 

Science has become an explosive phenomenon in the modern world, so that rather than just simple skills of tool-making, our whole understanding of the universe has exploded.

 

We have on the other hand religious creation stories, like the six day creation of Genesis, which is very endearing, very quaint, poetic, it's a beautiful allegory but we now know there are major incorrect assumptions in it for example the plants are created before the sun and moon.

 

On the other hand, science has now exploded to the point where we are confounded by a universe of extraordinary proportions, extreme age. The laws and forces of nature are confounding to naive ideas of a creation by some deity by breath or by molding clay, or by command, verbal command "let the be light".

 

We know the universe is billions of years old and there are billions of galaxies, each galaxy has billions of stars, many of the stars have planets. We've learned that there are vast gas clouds in our own galaxy that have molecules, the elementary molecules that are organic and could very well lead to life. We find on asteroids and comets proteins [or rather, amino acids] and nucleic acid bases that give us a very plausible account how life was sparked off on the early Earth.

 

And we now know one of the most beautiful aspects of nature is that life evolves and becomes more complex, that the organisms of the planet fan out to fill the available niches, so we have plants and animals and fungi and bacteria and archaea and that all these niches become filled so that we have to have predators and prey and parasites and hosts to complete the natural climax order of what nature is.

 

So we end up in the modern world, living in the scientific era, with a huge population, having a huge impact on the planet, with weapons of mass destruction that could lay waste to the biosphere. We are already doing severe damage to climate and causing a mass extinction of biodiversity, and we are an inter[de]pendent species with the other species on the planet, so we are causing impacts and we are causing deleterious impacts that threaten our own survival as a species.

 

Modern society has got itself into a schizophrenic state, because the explosion of science hasn't been paralleled by an explosion of the other story, which is the conscious story of what is the meaning in life, why are we here in the universe, does this all make sense, is there life after death, and so on. What we find we have is a conflict. Science teaches us that life evolves and our conscious description of the meaning in life is still founded on archaic religious assumptions, which are frankly incorrect in really fundamental ways and dangerous in fundamental ways.

 

As humanity moved from gatherer-hunter culture into large urban societies, the nature of the conscious story changed, so it became a moral story, with punishments and curses, because morality is essential for large societies to suppress internal strife to become stronger and more dominant over their competitors. So religion became a moral cosmology that punishes transgressors that in the monotheistic tradition ends up in a Day of Judgment, with a triage of all life potentially discarding the entire biodiversity of the planet for some other heavenly realm.

 

It's also profoundly involved in the patriarchal control of women and female reproduct[ive choice] in a way, which is deleterious for human evolution. How things actually look in terms of human evolution, particularly for mammals with XY chromosomes and humans who have massive pregnancies is that female reproductive choice was pivotal as well as mutual mate choice in the emergence of human super-intelligence.

 

So traditional religions are and traditional religions have been founded on either a desert atmosphere, in which nature is subservient, or in the eastern tradition, mind has become so dominant over nature that we end up describing all of natural  phenomena as somehow just a reincarnated manifestation of a moral cosmology, in which humans who have erred become animals and end up in degenerate realms through their selfishness.

 

So, resplendence seeks to look at this situation and to say there is a [valid] description of reality involving the conscious condition. This is who we are and what the universe really is, but human society has become severely imbalanced in such a way that it's got the archaic story for the subjective aspect and its got the sophisticated modern accurate objective description of reality that science has given us for our understanding of the physical universe. We end up schizophrenic. Even in a country like the United States, a good half of the people still believe in the Biblical creation. So the question is what sort of universe are we living in, what is consciousness really about and what is the answer to the question of the meaning in life and so on and so forth.

 

So resplendence is a description of reality which poses the answer to that ultimate question, and what resplendence tells us is that the prime objectives of conscious existence are firstly so that consciousness can evolve further and become a deeper experience of the universe understanding itself, and [secondly] that sexuality can go on to provide the increasing unfolding of the increasing life in is splendour that it already has done, and [thirdly] that we as guardians of the planet and of life on the planet and in the universe at large can act to guard the future of life on the planet, protect the future generations of humanity and humanity as a species, and the diversity of life of the living species, rather than causing a mass extinction.

 

Now it's not just about protecting biodiversity, it's about us fulfilling ourselves, fulfilling our subjective quest to understand the meaning of life. So it also comes down to some fundamental knowledge about how consciousness fits into the physical universe.

 

We understand - very few of us would consider that we arenŐt conscious. Just about everybody to get up and get a cup of coffee and do anything as fundamental as going to the toilet has a fundamental belief in their own personal autonomy in some sense and their ability to make decisions which affect the physical world. So somehow we have an innate belief that our subjective conscious existence can influence the objective natural world.

 

We need to understand how this comes about and it has to come about through free-will being able to affect physical reality. And this means that resplendence is in a sense a complement to the new understanding we have of the quantum universe and quantum physics and what it works on the basis fo is that consciousness is a [complement of a] physical phenomenon that is generated in all brains through the way the brain works and that this is to do with how history is made and how our consciousness reduces the quantum possibilities of all the multiverse outcomes into the line of history that we see today that we see Napoleon didnŐt win the Battle of Waterloo - that Hitler didn't win the Second World War, and so on, that our conscious  existence is transforming the universe, as we speak, that we are not helpless and that we are agents of the unfolding understanding of the universe.

 

And that the laws of nature are not just about terrifying forces. They're not just about a meaningless existence of tooth and claw, in which we will all disintegrate and that the universe will eventually blow itself apart .

 

ThereŐs more to it going on, which is that evolution is if you like a kind of sacred phenomenon. It's sacred in a practical sense that the forces of nature donŐt just generate fundamental particles - they generate - the quarks turn into protons and neutrons, which are composite particles , the nuclear forces then combine those into atomic nuclei. Finally the electromagnetic force makes molecules and those molecules are like fractal structures that can become exceedingly complicated because, although chemistry is a very accessible and understandable force,  the nature of it is to form cooperative bonds that can form multi-molecular structures, organelles such as membranes, and the ribosome, cells and tissues and finally the conscious brain.

 

The brain itself works on principles that are at the edge of chaos and appear to use forms of processing that are similar to the way quantum uncertainty works so that the brain, when its in a critically poised of uncertainty where we aren't sure of how we are going to make a decision, doesnŐt correspond to a deterministic process but corresponds to a chaotically unstable process, which because all molecular phenomena are essentially quantum in nature, goes to the roots of the quantum physics of the universe.

 

Hence, by putting consciousness back into the description of reality, we regain our cosmic sense of meaning and purpose. And this is a story that isn't at the end. We are not at the Day of Judgment. We are on an evolutionary trajectory and this will involve new life forms and this will also involve an ever-deepening understanding of consciousness.

 

Now in the description of reality of resplendence, this is a cosmological process in which the universe, as a conscious entity comes to understand itself. And if you look at the Eastern traditions, you find something moderately similar, but still not accurate in a scrupulous sense that the Vedantic tradition has looked in the inner meditative journey to the idea that consciousness has a cosmic self that is somehow beyond the confines of our egotistical concerns to try to survive is a manifestation of cosmology in the subjective.

 

And we don't need to retreat from natural reality. Once we understand the enlightened position of what life is and what it's about, it's not a matter of disengagement that Buddhism and major parts of Upanishadic and Vedantic traditions would suggest, but engagement to protect the ongoing generations of the diversity of life is our incarnate duty as guardians.

 

And in that guardianship, beyond our egotistical concerns, cosmic consciousness becomes able to realize itself. And in a sense, it's a little like reincarnation. It's not that we, because we are grasping egos are reborn as mosquitos, or lower life forms, but consciousness is a complementary manifestation of the uncertainty of quantum physics and the entanglement that quantum physics involves hat enables uncertain physical processes to allow consciousness to intervene in the fate of the universe.

 

So rather than a simplistic story of God punishing us in the Day of Judgment, and either sending us to heaven or to hell. And what is heaven in that condition, because its an eternal situation. What do we do? We find that Christianity has a fantasy because Jesus said "Neither will they marry or... "  that we will have sexless angels with wings that fly up in the sky. This is a conscious story, it may be appealing, but it's fantasy. Likewise the Muslim point of view is that it will be a very sexy heaven with seventy-two black eyed virgins, or houris.

 

These are stories and we find this moral cosmology extends to the Vedantic tradition as well where we have hell realms and the reality is that morality is not a cosmic universal. Evolutions fills all the niches. Predators - we do not want to get bad diseases, we know  that it's frightening - even a cat playing with a mouse - its a frightening experience but this is the way nature works. Morality is a feature of animal societies. It's not a cosmological destiny.

 

So many of these things need to be corrected to make a subjective world view where our life has genuine meaning. It's not a story about what we believe in so much as a story of how things are.

 

On the other hand we can see that, just as consciousness is not just computation. We are not just computers. We may live in cyborg fantasies but consciousness is something very different from a digital computer. And what it is, is a way that organisms in real time can anticipate computationally intractable environmental problems about how to avoid being jumped on and getting eaten by a tiger, or just the sound of a snake about to strike, that we in real time can anticipate and survive.

 

Now in that context, belief is also an important part of how we survive because we need to have a working proposition about what we are confident in. Science is a skeptical process of very carefully checking the objective features of the world around us. But we need working hypotheses, so the human brain has a theory of reality that invests in belief so that we can approach the world wit confidence. Now that is the root of the affirmative nature of religious belief.

 

But resplendence is a subjective path and just as the scientific method depended on objective skepticism, so resplendence as a path has to depend on first person subjective integrity, so we canŐt do what religions have done, which is to transfer power to priesthoods and stories told about religious leaders and religious doctrines and imperatives that we must obey, casting off our own subjective experience into a secondary status.

 

So the methods of resplendence are first person investigation by each of us and comparing notes of our dreams, of our visionary experiences, and validating them in the first person.

 

Now this means a whole lot of things about how society and how Western society positioned itself in the last century and a half which is that we were content to allow the objective investigation of reality to proceed unhindered [not unheeded] but when agents came about, even if they had been treated as sacred and revered by every culture that came upon them, as magic mushrooms and peyote and the various psychedelic species that were spread across the planet, all f these were revered by cultures that came upon them as sacred,

 

Western society turned around and because the visions that people initially had [on psychedelics], although they didnŐt necessarily pose social risks which were inflated beyond reason, were tabooed, so we have a situation that's like the middle ages in modern technological society that the very means to discover the nature of conscious existence, just as the prophets and visionaries of the past and the shamans of all ethnic cultures, were trampled upon and every single agent, including ecstasy which is relatively beneficent socially, are banned and given a status, which is, in terms of penalties almost equivalent to murder.

 

We need to undo all of this. We need to open the flood gates of subjective discovery. We need to have standards that don't accept other people giving us send and third-hand accounts but make this journey ourselves into the unfolding nature of human consciousness.

 

Well that's roughly what resplendence is about and it need to be a catalytic process that involves people positively because restoring the diversity of life is the most fulfilling quest that any of us could undertake. And it is second to nothing. If you had  three things that we need to revere as sacred, they are consciousness, sexuality and biodiversity. That's the core pillars of resplendence.