Which Infinity?

From Concepts of Modern Mathematics by Ian Stewart:

Gödel proved two things:

(i) If axiomatic set theory is consistent, there exists theorems which can neither be proved nor disproved.
(ii) There is no constructive procedure which will prove axiomatic set theory to be consistent.

The first result shows that problems are not always soluble, even in principle; the second wrecks Hilbert’s programme for proving consistency. It is said that when Hilbert heard of Gödel’s work he was ‘very angry’.

We begin with a simple question: how many arithmetical formulae are there?

Obviously, there are infinitely many. But bearing in mind Chapter 9, we ask: which infinity? Countable or uncountable?

The idea of Infinity has always been interesting to me? Are we living in an infinite multi-verse? Does each thought, action, and decision we make traverse us across a different dimension where a different reality exists?

Fascinating concept. I’ve also thought a lot lately about the nature of reality. The crazy thing about humans is how crazy we can be. We can believe in all sorts of stuff. I spent the past weekend with some old friends, Richie Samchon and the Alaskan Ninja. We used to work together and it had been years since the three of us had spent any quality time together. We just had a chill weekend on Catalina Island, where we caught up on our experiences over the past few years, life in general, philosophy…. and… The Flat Earth Theory. ?!? Richie actually believes that the Earth is flat. He wasn’t trolling us. Along with Shaq, Kyrie Irving, B.o.B., and Tila Tequila, our dear friend is a Flat Earther.

“Just look at the UN Map. That’s it.”

Once we were sure he wasn’t just goofing around and was dead serious, the Ninja and I were shocked. Richie believed that the entire space program – NASA, Space X, the Chinese, the Europeans, the International Space Station – is all a hoax, and that the stars and planets are discs, floating up above the Earth, which is also a disc, surrounded by a wall of ice called Antarctica… and that the South Pole is actually an invisible boundary, that the government is lying to us about. How could our college educated, highly successful corporate executive believe this … craziness?

Last night, I heard the term “crushing certainty” in the HBO documentary Going Clear. That’s how they described their religion, and that’s how I would describe Richie’s conviction in his world view.

“What I take away from it is that we lock up a portion of our own mind. We willingly put cuffs on. We willingly avoid things that would… could… cause us pain if we looked. If we can just believe something, then we don’t really have to think for ourselves, do we?”

-Paul Haggis in Going Clear (Active member of the Church of Scientology 1974-2009)

According to their own website,

The word Scientology, conceived by L. Ron Hubbard, comes from the Latin scio which means “knowing, in the fullest meaning of the word” and the Greek word logos which means “study of.” It means knowing how to know. Scientology is further defined as “the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes and other life.”

Further,

Scientology comprises a body of knowledge which extends from certain fundamental truths. Prime among these are:

Man is an immortal spiritual being.

His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.

His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.

Scientology further holds Man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.

Those “fundamental truths” are fairly universal among most spiritual belief systems. This spirit energy is universal, infinite, and permeates all living beings and reality. God, The Universe, Qi, Prana, Grandfather Sky,… the Force all exist as the mystical energy field that flows through all of us and makes reality happen. Of course, the HBO documentary paints a terrifying image of the abuse that can come with the power of harnessing the collective energy of people through a belief system. That is human nature, after all. It is our superpower, and it is our kryptonite. The ability to believe in fiction.

This is the core of Yuval Harari’s book Sapiens. From this Guardian article:

At the centre of the book is the contention that what made Homo sapiens the most successful human being, supplanting rivals such as Neanderthals, was our ability to believe in shared fictions. Religions, nations and money, Harari argues, are all human fictions that have enabled collaboration and organisation on a massive scale.

Humans crave meaning and purpose… and we all want to believe that we are the good guys. In Richie (and perhaps some of the other Flat Earthers), it seems to come from an inherent distrust of government. He sees the government as evil and that only truth warriors like himself see it for how it is. In other words, lying to us, covering up Fukushima, orchestrating 9/11, faking the moon landing. They’re all in on it, and only heroes such as Richie who can see through the lies can see the truth and defend justice. On some level, there is a thread in each of our consciousness that is running the Hero’s Journey.

As far as Richie is concerned, on his conscious level, he is just living his Hero’s Journey, seeing truth and fighting evil. Subconsciously, there is clearly some trust issue where he is fearful of the government, and this fear and distrust is distorting his view of reality. Sound familiar?

Distorted reality. The Donald reflects our world and our society. It feels as though the standard defense mechanism for ridicule is to take whatever shame that others throw and wear it as a badge of honor. Instead the comeback “I know you are, but what am I?” from my childhood, it has become, “I know I am, and so what.” We now have Nasty Woman as a feminist viral meme, and the rise of clown consciousness.

King Donald is a reflection of this consciousness. The more people make fun of him, the more he embraces it, and just makes shit up to defend his clownish persona. He has a giant shield of clown armor to defend his ego from the truth, which is that he inherited his wealth, and has a track record of bad behavior and unscrupulous business practices. The clown armor allows him to just continue to behave poorly, sneer at his naysayers, and become the fucking POTUS.

We have a Juggalo movement that is defending the feeling of being marginalized with this clown consciousness. Cracked writes about Trump Juggalos, the “uneducated, poor, or working-class white voters who swept Trump into office in blatant defiance of God’s will and their own economic self-interest.”

As I write this blog post, even I begin to question reality. We have a Clown President, the Kardashians are the most famous people on the planet, Tila Tequila is a Nazi, and the Internet exists. I imagine going back to the 1980s and attempting to explain 2017 to my teenage self. No wonder people can believe the Earth is flat. Reality itself doesn’t seem real.

My call to action is to purge shame, not embrace it. There is no excuse not to educate ourselves, find courage in fear, and do our part in raising the collective consciousness of humanity.

Jason Silva is discussing another book I read recently – Stealing Fire.

These states of Ecstasis, transcendence, connection with the Universe are the fire that fuels humanity. Tapping into these states is how we manifest our reality. I’ve personally experienced Ecstasis from various entheogens, yoga, meditation, and personal growth work. Tapping into these states, we can achieve what we put our minds and souls to, and by believing in the right fictions… in our own Hero’s Journeys, we can accomplish purpose and meaning, and find joy.

Ecstasis is a state of mind that we are in such a state of flow that there is nothing else. The fear doesn’t get suppressed, rather it gets channeled into the fire of life energy. This is the space that we do get to bend reality. Mike Tyson’s coach Cus has the best quote on this topic that I know:

My personal experiences of growth include multiple trips to Peru to partake in shamanic entheogenic journeys, yoga, breathwork, meditation, Vedic chanting, retreats with PSI Seminars, and my most powerful journey, an experience with the God Molecule, 5MEO-DMT.

Many of the states of consciousness feel like a state of pure Love – beyond pleasure, beyond bliss, beyond existence. These transcendent states have guided me to believe in my own fiction, that I am on the right path, and that I can change the world. Isn’t that what our lives are supposed to be about?

At the end of the weekend, I told Richie,

“You’re crazy. Maybe in your reality the world is flat, but it isn’t in mine. That’s ok. I still love you brother.”

Maybe Richie has traversed so many dimensions to a different reality that in his existence, the world is undeniably flat. Maybe when we meet, it is just a convergence of consciousness and we are experiencing a fractal reality through our own lens of perception and through the mysteries of quantum physics, we are both observing a form of truth in our own infinite realities…

Which Infinity? Love.