Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Self (Un) awareness, mediation and becoming gods

You know something is working properly when you don't even notice its function.
In the old saying, when you do something right, people wont know you've done anything at all.

This is one of the underpinning features of the universe and consciousness. 
What of the human body and its organs? If they all work properly and fully, you cant feel them busy at work. You cant feel your eyes seeing, you cant feel the rods and cones organising your sight in the retina. You cant feel your kidneys filtering waste from the blood, or the intestinal wall deriving the chemical nutrients from your food. Indeed, when all is in harmony and perfect, attention is absent.

When systems malfunction however, that's when we notice they are there. After a loud music concert, you can hear your ears, the ringing. You damage an organ and you can feel it, you can feel its place in your body, you notice its presence.

The same is true for we humans and consciousness. When all is in harmony, there is no sensation of I. The human forgets its individual self when it is in perfect harmony with the environment.
Like a raindrop of consciousness falling back into the  ocean.  Or to put it another way, the consciousness can be likened to  flood light rather than spot light. This forgetting of the 'self' as an individual and separate being is meditation. It doesn't have to be achieved by any effort, though it can be, via the traditional Buddhist and Hindu ways. Where you sit comfortably and perhaps adopt the lotus position and practice one of hundreds of techniques designed to calm the mind. Ultimately trying to forget yourself.

However it is also happening when you are completely and fully absorbed in a task. You become one with the universe, you are on a sort of auto pilot but you are still thinking rationally, clearly; perhaps the clearest you ever think. Your attention is not divided, it is fully on the task in hand. You are no longer self aware.

So where has the 'I' gone in situations like these? Is it merely forgotten? If so by whom? Perhaps it was never there in the first place and the universe is playing the Dean Pattinson game through my physical body, and the Joe Bloggs through yours. Perhaps, conciseness is external and received rather than generated internally by our biochemistry. Here we can use the analogy of the relationship between a radio and the songs coming out of the speaker being the same as that of the human body and consciousness.

Is all well and good to daydream about personal identity being a total illusion.
However conscious attention is what has brought us to our current point. Although it was arguably a mistake, (becoming self aware may be likened to forbidden fruit/knowledge in the garden of Eden perhaps) it has helped us learn a lot.

The scientific information we have become conscious of in our evolution was still true when we didn't even have fire. The advantage of being conscious of universal physical phenomena is that we can use it. For what? Well whatever we want really, pointless stuff, utilitarian stuff like being able to travel great distances, or share information with millions of other people.

We are currently in the age of manipulating our environment to suit our taste. If we want to be hotter, we make it hotter. Colder? Ditto. We find a place with too many trees and a few weeks later its flat open land, another week later, there's crop covering the horizon or a factory, or a farm, or a factory farm!

Manipulating the dna of other organisms has been common practice for decades now, how long before a procedure whereby we can alter our own genes to suit taste is made safe and accessible to the public?

I guess the point Im trying to make here in my long winded way is that we are kind of playing god by learning and knowing how to manipulate the fabric of our environment.

Are we trying to become gods?
Would it be better had we never evolved such a high level of awareness? If so why? Is our species wide, subconscious goal of achieving god like control over our environment dangerous?
Food for thought, fellows

A case against weight cuts in combat sport

Were all familiar with the various weight categories in combat sports. Their purpose is to avoid mismatches and David vs goliath-esque situations. Simple enough and quite logically sound. This post is not against weight classes at all, I fully agree with their necessity in combat sports.
In this day and age though, with our knowledge of how to manipulate the body and its hormones we find that David vs goliath-esque situations are far from uncommon. 

This occurs when two opponents are matched at an agreed weight but one uses water manipulation to give an illusory low body weight. If these professional athletes were to fight immediately after getting weighed my comparably minute skills would be enough for me to run rings round them.

The acute dehydration is very taxing to the body, even small levels of water loss that happen naturally impair performance a surprising amount. So massive water loss by manipulation of body heat would leave the athlete no more able to perform  than a small toddler.

However, almost all professional fighters have to go through this unhealthy weight loss. Because its just what everyone else is doing. Which is to say that if I look for an opponent classed as my natural weight of 80kg the only dudes id find were 95kg powerhouses who have learned to cut down to 80 for a brief time.

If everyone just agreed to compete at their natural weight, there would be no problems with weigh ins but todays top guys are cutting 20 lbs of water weight so they can technically tip the scales for a brief amount of time at that lower weight and consider themselves part of that class. This is cheating, im my eyes but because everyone's doing it, cutting weight has become as much a part of competing in combat sports as the training itself!

I have competed numerous times and experimented with numerous techniques, from the long term hardcore diet to last minute sweating procedures. Both of which depleted my 'chi' if you will, and left me no energy to train. I was more concerned with with the weigh in for the weeks leading up to the fight, stopping me from getting my head im the game and basically sapped all the enjoyment out of the sport because i needed enough calories to train hard but few enough to remain in deficit.  As for the last minute water cutting favoured by todays top guys, the goal is to spend as little time as possible at the target weight. This did allow me to train harder and not constantly worry about food but the dehydration (nothing like the pros, a mere 4kilos) was poorly timed because of my inexperience and i spent longer than necessary in a dehydrated state, and probably didn't refuel properly. So god only knows if I was performing at maximum out put that night.  

The moral of the storey is that if you feel strong, and youre blasting through gym sessions and destroying the sparring, you are at full fitness. Your body is loving what you're putting in and your fight game is flourishing from the out put.


My logic from now on is that yes, I may well have to fight a bigger opponent, but i will feel strong and weight related stress free right up to fight night and he has had to expend some of his valuable chi, dehydrating or starving himself or both, which will make him uncomfortable and unable to perform to his physical best.
If I had my way, weigh ins would be an hour before the fight, forcing people to be honest.

Rant over! Thankyou for coming. X