[an excerpt from HOME, the return to what you already are]
An ape remembers a tool they need to retrieve an inaccessible reward and heads off in search of it.
A cave man sketches a hunt scene on the stone wall, allowing for the transportation of his learning to another, long after the hunt itself is over.
A scientist designs a rocket that will reach a planet no one has never visited.
Even the amoeba, a single-celled organism, stores memory in protein structures.
All of this made possible by Intelligence in form.
In this section we are looking at the infinite organising Intelligence of life.
There are trillions of cells in the human body and, within each, a nucleus is sending directions to the cell to grow, mature, divide, or die. This Intelligence in action at a microscopic cellular level becomes more complex and organised as the cells form tissue, organs, organ systems and eventually the human organism.
What is this Intelligence? It is a dynamic, coordinated, organising force. It is not be confused with the intellect which is the faculty of reasoning and understanding. The faculty of the intellect depends wholly on the Intelligence of life to exist. Without the fundamental Intelligence, seamlessly and continually integrating, responding, calibrating, balancing… nothing.
And without form, the organising power of life cannot appear. Information is Intelligence in form. The forms might appear to be separate - apes, cavemen, scientists, amoebas - but the organising Intelligence of which they are made is indivisible.
The more evolved and complex the organism, the greater the ability to take information and move conceptually, intellectually and experientially beyond immediate reality as it is right now.
As far as we know, humans are the only species able to explore and conceptualise the Intelligence that brings them into existence.
And modern humans are, of course, extremely able in this regard. (It is simultaneously our greatest advantage and our greatest disadvantage.)
Let’s look closely at what is going on.
The brain, perception, emotion and behaviour combination is a dynamic learning system, created, maintained and animated by life Intelligence.
It continually responds to stimuli and environmental changes in order to maintain the survival of the organism.
Learning is ‘packaged’ up as a concept or as a representation, applied in other situations, shared or future-cast.
This is an enormous advantage. In the child, learning is taking place that the cup, once dropped, will always fall downwards and that learning is applied to other objects, other situations, other times.
We say ‘the child is learning how cups fall’. Or ‘I am learning to drive’ or ‘I am learning French’ but that process of learning - how words, actions and phenomena are actually converted into rules, responses and expectations - is not governed by the conscious mind. The ‘I’ I believe I am has nothing to do with how learning actually happens.
This packaging of learning is efficient and practical. Depending on how complex the organism, the greater the wealth of information that can be managed.
Because mental phenomena create a limitless world of infinite potential, they allow for language and communication, planning and references to events that happened a second or millennia ago, future projections, scientific discoveries, art and literature, buildings and creations…
Where human problems begin is when these packaged up concepts become embedded as beliefs and unquestioned ways of perceiving and responding that are dysfunctional and tenacious.
Instead of (as happens in the amoeba) a construct dissolving in the face of new information, it now has a longevity to it. It becomes the lens through which reality is viewed. This distorting lens filters out anything that doesn’t support the belief and focuses in on anything that provides more evidence for it.
The distortion confirms, maintains and intensifies itself.
So the once-upon-a-time learned version of self, other and reality becomes the all-the-time version.
That same child-brain creating unconscious mental rules about gravity and objects, might also be forming the concept that the child has to cry to get food or be invisible to avoid abuse or be charming to get attention. Or anything else. And these beliefs will remain, dynamically creating experience, until they no longer look true.
The reality we experience therefore is not reality. It is the experience of the embedded and embodied mental phenomena. Our lives are the on-going continuation of what was once learned. Often to the extent of serious harm to self and other.
Mental phenomena, conscious and unconscious, when misunderstood, trap lived experience in a learned version of reality which, at best, is a waste of time, energy and resources and at worst risks the very survival of the individual itself, other people and their environment.
The amoeba does not have this problem. Its primitive protein memory structures dissolve and reform rapidly in response to environmental changes. The simplicity of its structure, its continual ‘now-ness’ mean that its reactions and behaviours are never stuck in a created version of itself and reality.
The human, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish (so to speak). We can have all sorts of behavioural tendencies, emotional patterns or prolonged mental states that originated in response to a past reality but which are to the detriment of the life we are living now.
It might be habits around food, health, money, sex, socialising, gambling, drugs. It might be feelings of depression, anxiety, insecurity, fear, shame, jealousy… It might be tendencies towards conflict, numbing, distraction, comparison, withdrawal…
We try to change these, in other words we try to un-learn an old way of being or re-learn a new way. And, more often than not, we fail. We remain stuck in these patterns, habits and addictions. Why is that? Why can we not, like the amoeba, instantly dissolve and recreate our mental, physical and behavioural phenomena?
Because there has been no change in the apparent reality.
No aspect of reality is objectively true in the way it appears to be, but the self concept, entirely made of thought and belief, is less true than anything else. Unlike the cup or the child’s body it has no apparent form. Unlike gravity it has no consistency or applicability.
The unquestioned self concept is the original distorting lens. The self’s attempt to try to change itself and the world is conditioning trying to change conditioning, a belief trying to change a belief, the unreal trying to change the unreal.
It can probably go without saying that we cannot un-learn or re-learn anything in relation to ourselves while the concept of ourself is taken as fixed reality.
Change happens from the understanding that mental phenomena – conscious or unconscious – are constructions not reality. And that the self construct is the least real of all.
The amoeba, even though it has the presence and purity of response that even the most non-dual of gurus can only hope for, is, of course, not the aim for us.
That would be regression. It makes no sense, even if it were possible, to dissolve our remarkable human mental capacities.
The pinnacle is (as pointed out by Maslow, in a later edition to his triangle): self transcendence.
The movement through and beyond the unreal, but tenaciously believable, concept of a defined, separate, objective, individual self.
The freedom of living, with all the advantages of the super-powered human mind understood for what they are.
The unlimited potential of being infinite and absolute life Intelligence in human form.