[what came before]

What Came Before

Here Be Magic, How The World is Made

When is the beginning exactly? Impossible to say with any historical accuracy. In fact, there can be only one actual perpetual beginning, and that is:


All else is, What Came Before.

Why is the beginning relevant? Because subsequently there is an after, which is where we eternally find ourselves. All the What Came Before, cumulatively, adds up to representing the present moment.

The Now.

What came before ‘sets the stage’ for what comes next. By becoming fully cognisant of motivation, action, result, we can assess our position and allow for iterative incremental optimised behaviour and improved outcomes. But only if we pay very close attention, i.e. watch our-self and others continuously, consciously.

And So, Awareness

We are in the world, and we are of the world. Which is where it all began. At some point, exactly when or how is hard to say, we differentiated ourselves from the world. We noticed self.

Imagine going back to ‘pre-history’ and being able to observe the first hominids in their environment as they started to experience self referencing, or becoming aware of being aware. In that moment, there came into existence the first instance of the present.

In the beginning, the present was ‘discovered’, and just as the future is now, the present was then, not very evenly distributed.

How did self awareness ‘spread’? In one group? In one area? Did the ‘100th monkey‘ effect take place and simultaneously spread this ‘awareness’ through the hominid populations globally? The present was not evenly distributed, and those in the know unwittingly became ancestors to us all.

Consider the unlikely process from sketchy awareness; to waking up with the realisation of, ‘I’. Whatever the ‘I’ was, thinking in my head, knowing myself to be differentiated from nature at large, individuating. Mind-boggling, fear inducing, awe-inspiring.

Separate, but part of. We understood, over time, and took advantage of this realisation. From reaction to, to cause of. With intent. We could affect the world to our advantage, to benefit our survival. So began, consequence.

Now, when you look around at the world, you observe the consequences of all the decisions and actions that every human that had ever lived had made in their lifetime, collectively and individually. Whether of greater or lesser significance.

The Free Will Illusion

The only person who ever had free will was the very first human to decide and act with intent. And even they were only acting based on the stimuli present in their direct environment, responding to, in order to create a different outcome from nature’s will.

Every other decision ever made after that primal decision has been sequentially subsequent. We now live in the resultant present. Which means the past is like a wave that ever precedes us and simultaneously overtakes us into the near and also distant future.

We will never have pure free will. Every decision and outcome of what came before affects our collective and individual possibilities. We can not avoid the consequences of our past actions, or the past actions of all our collective ancestors. Ever. We can not stand outside the result of all those previous actions.

Our personalities and life circumstance is an integral part of that river, stretching back to the beginning of time. The wave of the present is a perpetual continuation, always getting ahead of us, no matter what we do.

The will is free within the options present in totality. The physicality of reality allows for ‘self directed’ action within the presented environment. All actors act their scripts into the whole. And so nature directs the movie showing up in our experience. Nature sees what nature will get up to when nature acts with ‘free will’ in reality.

Thus we see that allowing nature to take its course through us, i.e., surfing the wave, we align with nature, play the infinite game of exploration with curiosity, the love of life and the excitement of living. What is love but positive, inclusive, supported, cooperative growth?

Our goal; will becomes realised-self, nature expressed authentically, rather than scripted ego-fear.

The Mystery of ‘I’

The evolutionary journey to ‘I’ will forever be shrouded in mystery. How it came to be is part and parcel of the miracle that is life, nature and existence. Like everything emerging it is accompanied by the pain of birthing. The pain which was unconscious became conscious.

Not knowing or being non-cognisant of being-ness, before awareness, pain and dissolution was invisible. With awareness that pain was made visible, visceral, dealing with that pain and rationalising being subjected to this cruel and arbitrary seeming fate is where we had to start.

This would have been an overwhelming occurrence and Julian Jaynes book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, postulates on how this miracle of cognition might have eventuated.

Whether he was, or is, correct and however his ideas survive the ongoing exploration of these concepts in our current time, is not consequential. Kudos to him for his magnificent contribution to our thinking. There will never be absolute answers here, just explorations in curiosity. We might never know, exactly, but that it happened some-how, some-time, is very sure.

How can it possibly not be so? Because here we are.

All our myth, spirituality, philosophy, religion and eventually science is the culmination of the agony of that journey, the sense-making process we will continue along for as long as we exist. Birth is painful once you know, suddenly a rationalisation for the pain has to be made to exist.

The journey from victim to participant. An unimaginably painful process, costing millions of lives over hundreds of thousands of years. Starting before history began. As Churchill once quipped on another subject; …a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…

Self realisation is the node of awareness shifting back into nature, from dualistic ego and other to singular consciousness exploring itself. ‘I am’ nature naturing, a wave part of the greater ocean. The miracle of ‘I’. When we ‘I’, or express as nature, we inhabit the principle of nature for promotion and continuation of life, living, and the exploration that is ‘being’.

Life is not a curiosity. It IS curiosity. We are life being curious.

Scientist philosopher Bernardo Kastrup postulates in his Analytic Idealism that we, individual humans, are disassociated parts of global consciousness or, mind at large, experiencing itself within itself. This assumes that consciousness is the basis of reality. I believe he is on the right track.

In thinking about our thinking we humans have for millennia come up with models of understanding the ‘how’ of it all. This is all very well, because we further our knowing incrementally. When we consider the infinite nature of reality, a concept our limited cognition can hardly comprehend, we realise that there will never exist an absolute definitive answer. How can there be? Infinity remember.

Because of the competitive, personally vested, ego driven, rewards based structure of the commercial scientific endeavour all parties compete for status, funds and relevance and so will defend to the death their view point. Absolutist postulants.

At every point in scientific and philosophic history they were absolutely convinced of the validity of their model.

Open your mind. It’s a wave, not a particle. We are climbing a mountain with no summit. We either help each other up, or kick each other down into the abyss.

The mystery of ‘I’ is asking of us to journey into infinity, it’s not about scoring ego points! Zooming back out to the perspective of nature naturing, all that came before become stepping stones to be carefully navigated, building on the past to serve the curiosity of life exploring through us.

What Came Before

The concept of: What Came Before, is a lens through which we ‘look’ when contemplating ‘the world’. Which is to say, this is how we humans create our world in a causal way, surfing the wave of past experience, through present action, into the ever uncertain future.

So, what we call the past is the way of thinking about how we felt we were to act, on that present, at the time, with the knowledge we had, in order to achieve, in the then present, the best or most optimal outcome for the benefit of our survival, for self, for familial group, for tribe, etc.

In other words, it is how we acted based on what we learned from observing the actions of others and our own actions in response, to best affect an optimal outcome through action or inaction, that would make our survival more likely, or increase our standing in the group or tribe, or whatever motivation consciously or unconsciously inspired us.

We can consider this the beginnings of knowledge, the memory of past actions, seen as consequential to present circumstance. Trial and error. Learn and repeat. This is speculative, vastly simplified, and a heuristic only, purposeful simplicity.

What we see and experience around us now is consequential and of consequence.

Of Consequence

consequence (n.)

  • Meaning “that which follows from or grows out of any act or course” is from c. 1400. Sense of “importance, significance” (1590s) is from notion of being “full of consequences.”

As Newton postulated in his third law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Being in and of nature is always a re-action, or said differently, the homeostatic balance in nature is constantly, autonomically maintained by its equivalent parts.

This is the eco-system of nature. When we were a part of nature, we were not self aware and acting to our own purpose. We were nature, naturing. The only aim is the maintenance of the equilibrium. Total system management, for optimal functioning towards the sustenance of all life.

In this way, nature is totally arbitrary, sacrificing any part for the maintenance of the whole. Animals acting through nature’s will are unaware of their own beings as individual in any meaningful way. They act in nature as part of nature and there is no awareness of outcomes per se.

Purely instinctual behaviour is the pattern of action within nature, where every part of nature fits in with every other part without question. The squid is squidding, the lion is lioning, and the river is rivering, etc. All existence, living and dying, happens as part of the whole, for the whole.

When humans became self aware, for the first time, there came into existence a part of nature that could act in opposition to the prime directive of nature, which is the maintenance and optimisation of all life. Unrealised by us, we are still nature naturing. Us, in thinking we are not nature, means nothing to nature. All it means is we are unconscious of it.

Considering the totality of existence and the resultant us, meaning, that we are here and self aware at all, would indicate that we represent the way nature devised for it to explore itself. The current step of the continuing exploration of the whole. We are a part of nature, unique in our abilities, compared to what is, but always still part of nature, however much we are not fully conscious of it. Yet.

The Construct, Commenced

The greatest fear of humans, once we became self aware, has been, and still is, the fear of death. No other part of nature fears death in the way we do.

Becoming aware of our mortality, we needed to find ways to lessen or eliminate it. This is constantly iterative reasoning by the mind through philosophical, spiritual, and religious inventions to somehow make sense of our existence. The meaning and purpose of us being here on earth, suffering towards our eventual and definite individual cessation.

The construct is the concept of the commencement of human action in and on the world. The start of the modification of the natural processes of nature by human interference for an outcome independent of nature’s will. How can we live longer, safer, away from the arbitrary violence of the processes of nature maintaining itself around us?

The construct is the resultant outcome, or manifestation of our demand for security that is visible directly or indirectly, within or without our immediate awareness. For instance, for a long time we were ignorant of the effect our made structures and products had on the natural world. Only once the toxins of the industrial manufacturing processes disturbed our health and environment via pollution and overexploitation did we consider the cause and effect of our actions.

The construct has to be constantly created, re-created and optimised to maintain a distance between humans and nature. However primitively it started; by creating the first tools, building shelter, when we ‘tamed’ fire, invented language, domesticated animals, started agriculture, built cities, etc. Step by step, trial and error, we iterated until eventually, lo-and-behold, we had Facebook! Fakeness personified.

From the interconnected symbiotic interaction of village life, to isolated nodes in a virtualized displaced society. Safe but lonely, entertained to depressive boredom, fake impersonal connections. All that is The Construct. Within it is contained, culture, religion, civilization, technology, all that enables and facilitates human domination of nature. That which is human made.

Analogies of the artificial machine like aspect of the construct is evident in the sensemaking explorations of fictional works such as Metropolis (1927), Moloch (1955), and more recently The Matrix (1999). The artifice and manifestation or metaphor that is the construct made clear. It is how we are attempting to understand what we have brought into being, realising how we are imprisoned within that which protects us, and how that places us artificially outside of nature.

Finally, we are viscerally and agonisingly, becoming aware of how our actions have outsized implications for the natural world and, by definition, us. We can never exist independently of nature. Despite the fact that we imagine ourselves to be away from nature in our techno-bubble existence, we are still, and will always be subject to and part of nature.

The Beginning of History

What came before, is by definition history. The commencement of the construct precipitates the beginning of history. When we started acting on the world as opposed to through the will of nature, we had partaken of the fruit of awareness, becoming cognisant of our penchant for both creation and destruction, the ability to do good and evil.

History should be an honest teacher. But history is only as honest as we are. If we knowingly considered history objectively, we would and should over time work out the biases in our thinking and constantly course correct our actions to lead us to optimal outcomes for all society and nature.

By and large, this happens. One could almost wish for the science of ‘psychohistory‘ to be, in fact, real and able to assist us in avoiding the pitfalls of the invariable mistakes that creep into our decision making through inadequate information and human error, or the malicious self interest of some few power hungry despots.

If we consider seriously what came before in the face of gaining wisdom and knowledge, then iteratively we can proceed ‘kaizen‘ style to improve every step in our decision-making process until we have set up an optimal process for using history as a teacher and improving all aspects of living for all humans, animals and nature at large.

Consider the latent talent and collective drive that will be unlocked to form a truly cohesive collective humanity working enthusiastically towards fantastical goals like the exploration and colonisation of space. Our present paradigm is so fractured that one can hardly imagine a sustainable future eventuating from our current starting point.

However unlikely, this is where we are heading collectively. Or rather, that is what the will of nature intends. All that we have created on earth thus far points in this direction. It is not a given that this will occur, we can still destroy our civilization, or set it back so far as to wipe out all that we have achieved.

Even history always starts now. We are making the history of the future now. Just like we sit in judgment of those that came before, pointing fingers, blaming the past, so are we adding to that history. We are blind to it, but never the less it is occurring.

Knowingly. We can do better.

Making The World Anew

Looking at the state of the world, we would lament and say it is in a precarious state. Wars, inequality, corruption in both government and private sectors. Domination of adverse technologies by powerful corporations answerable only to themselves, exploiting global tax and labour laws through creative legal and financial wrangling.

On the face of it, it is true, things can be better. They can also be worse. They have been worse at times, spectacularly worse. They have also been better. If each individual person on earth could be approached and asked from their own perspective, whether they wanted more life or less life? What would their answer be? I think in the affirmative.

In society at large, there has always been a small minority so traumatised by their existence that they want only cessation or total destruction of the whole. Had their lives been blessed with psychological and material support when they needed it, their story could have been very different.

It is the arbitrary nature of reality that blessings are not evenly spread. We know this. We live this. Life is still life. We are still at the mercy of the will of nature and our own shortcomings. We are blessed with what we’ve managed to build, our still inadequate but always evolving system, when compared to violent past civilizations and dark eras of human misery.

If ever we will change the world, we need only change ourselves, and the world will change with us. For it is we who make the world as it presents to us. We are more interconnected and reliant on the smooth functioning of the construct than ever in our existence. It is not that the system is bad; it is that we can be better humans within that system, making it human and life focussed. The consumerist exploitative zero sum game was the start of it. The continuation needs an upgrade. Being better humans.

We are all in the same boat. Want to or not. So it is up to us. Those who think they can, and know they should. Those who are called to be the meek that will inherit the earth. We are attuning with each other and the technology that distracts the distracted are also enabling those with the beginnings of wisdom, to reach out and connect.

We are the ones who will create a new system that will make the old obsolete. We will not do it through revolution or opposition. We will subvert the obsolete through right action, commitment to nature, life and our humanity.

We are not calling to become Luddites or preppers or prophesying the end of times. This is the beginning, it is not the end. What came before is a blessing and a lesson. It is our foundation from which we make the world anew.

The Waking Up

We are born a question. The first comprehension at life is; WHAT? This life, this living. How did (I?) get here? What is this place? Who are you (people?)?

First, survival. Then, attempting to answer the questions of existence as best you can. We take shortcuts, falling into the same ruts, information patterns, of those who preceded us, parents, family, culture. We land in the same groove, instinctively groping at handholds that move us along the same line of reasoning and justification of actions, copying, fitting in.

Then (something?) wakes us up. The questions come back.

We find we never really knew ourselves. The fitting in, left us with a satiated, while disaffected, externality. A life of constant strife and maintenance. Keeping (them?) happy and yourself safe.

You have compromised yourself into a standstill. Your disaffection is poisoning you and your environment. The relationships of dependency suffocates you. The pain inside spills out onto every aspect of your lived reality.

The inadequacy of unconscious sensemaking locks you inside yourself. This realisation causes a deep unsettling of identity. A terrifying thing, not knowing what wants to come forth. A lifetime of avoidance, then the piercing of the barrier of suppression, exposing the pretense. Lies, fear, cowardice, conformity, avarice.

The things we will do to survive are legion. Our unconscious ego creates a mode of conformity that can have no conscience, only survival. We track the groove, life solidifies around us. A disaffected core remains. A self denied. Subliminally, synchronistically, touching our lives with desperation, depression, and destruction. Wake Up, it whispers. Until it SHOUTS.

The questions come back.

It’s Up to You

Until you see yourself, through your own eyes, you will not know yourself. That which you became is not who you only are. The parts of you, left out, are waiting to be known, in the first instance, by you, yourself. Know Thyself.

Understanding viscerally, What Came Before, is the first inroad into unravelling the patterns that shaped you. Extracting yourself from the default conditioning, the invisible web of assumptions about who you are, is the crucial lever to destabilising the simulacra that is the facade enclosing your identity.

Who are you without your conditioning?

Your conditioning created you. Was that a benign conditioning? How is your psychology? Questions will lead to more questions. There are many realisations that have to be met, before you will be on the other-side of the facade. The mask will cling like mad as it senses its imminent dissolution. The terrifying unknown.

Time for solitude. The seclusion of self while exploring the depths of your psychology. There is a need to walk this path alone, away from familiar environments and distractions. You must sacrifice everything. Everything. Life and sanity. Friends, lovers, family, job, security, status, opportunity.

There can be none of this until you realise yourself. Failure to arrive at the actuality of you, strong in your reconstituted realised self, prematurely reentering the world, you will again fall into the numbing comfort of the familiar. Madness.

Time, patience, persistence, self forgiveness, self acceptance, self love, letting go of the ‘stuckness’, getting out of the groove of conditioned assumption and response, climbing up and up, reaching the end of the guide-rope, arriving at the last peg in the cliff-face, knowing from now you make your own way.

Regress To Self

From weak to meek. Who you become, being self realised. When your default operating mode is set to the way of creation, not opposition, you facilitate your own life, the actualisation of a way of being in accordance with the abundant curiosity for exploration inherent in the fabric of the universe.

What is life but an exploration?

The edifice of the construct is our attempt to demand sense and security from a seemingly arbitrary universe. We demand dominance and stability before agreeing to take part. We demand security before we agree to living.

Our way is not The Way.

The web of life sustains you. Arbitrarily. Without judgment or consideration. You can not find meaning in the construct’s world. You must create the meaning for which you search, by becoming who life intended you to be. Not a slave to convention, but an autonomous part of the will of nature, exploring itself.

Life only asks to live through you.

The world reveals self as you become self. The interrelated web of cooperative intent to explore nature as emissaries of life makes possible a world of wonder and awe in which all aspects of life are honored for the collective good.

No Path Untaken

What came before is the price we all pay for participating in the living of life. Aware or not, the price is paid. Expanding our capacity to comprehend our experience by systematic de-personalised self regression and introspection in solitude, we allow the unconscious conditioning of the ego to unravel.

The understanding of our place and role in the tapestry of life’s unfolding, our task of making conscious the unconscious patterns, awareness of the limitations of our caregivers, their tribulations. They did the best they could, however loving or depraved.

We deeply recognise that at the time everyone did the best they could, for the reasons they most believed to be optimal, even when they created absolute misery. How were they broken? How was their psychology? Under what circumstance did they become who they ended up being? At the time is locked in, unchangeable past.

Do not change the past. The past is a sacred occurrence. Only in deep knowing and exploration of past mistakes can we reorientate to a better present. If the past is a lie, a fiction, we are lost. The present becomes smoke and mirrors. Beware those who would modify or cancel the past to suit their present lie.

Considering the infinite randomness acting on individuals and circumstance, how can we possibly judge critically the results eventuating from unconscious actions? When we take responsibility for our initially unconscious role in the life we created, we can finally course correct for our past mistakes.

We act and are acted upon. We all start unconscious. Focusing on revenge, in making the other wrong, we perpetuate the evils and eventually we become that which we despised in others. Know thyself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule. The long game.

Ever The Beginning

The task life sets us is to come to realisation. We are not an ego; we are the self. The ego is but a part of the whole. By itself, the ego is unable to get out of crisis mode. Creating the space and opportunity for the ego to let go of the stress of uncertainty and allow the deep self to emerge is the start of the path to self realisation.

Peace with the past. Forgiving the abuses. Releasing the anger. The ego is still; debilitating anxiety unclenches, addictions abate, healing initiates. Past, present and future collapses into the now, finally in harmony with What Came Before.

The journey continues.

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