For some time now, I have abstained from throwing messages in a bottle out into the ocean that is the internet. Too many heated opinions. Too many bad-tempers brandishing thorns around their words. Too many trolls.
But, recently my girlfriend started browsing Reddit, which gave me some incentive to start posting there again. This led to Jeffrey asking me to write a guest post on his blog. This was a novel opportunity, so of course I took it.
Novelty is important. Remember that.
I slept on what I should write about. I’ve concluded that, as this is an alchemy blog, why not start with the most important piece to the puzzle?
The Philosopher’s Stone.
Throughout the ages, alchemists have sought that one resource which allows the transmutation of any resource into any other resource. Many were misguided into thinking such a thing rested in a certain place. But, the Philosopher’s Stone does not exist in any one corner of space. Instead, it comes into being in the aether behind and slightly above your face.
A man like B. F. Skinner, the founder of behaviorism, sees the human mind as nothing more than a black box. And as such, he would see the Philosopher’s Stone as nothing more than a black box.
But, there is much inside of that box.
Particularly, I must draw your attention to the axiomatic system in your brain. No, it is not like the limbic system in that it is a collection of parts working together. Instead, it is a conceptual system that is the foundation of all cognitive logic. Our brains receive information about the world through our senses. Over the course of our lives, this information comes to be valued and weighed based on how true it is, how important it is, and how well it props up the ego for survival purposes. So, the axiomatic system (which for all intents and purposes might as well be considered your paradigm), is a key foundational component to how you make decisions, and thus how you behave.
You might see where this is going.
Less than a century ago, a man by the name of Kurt Gödel demonstrated that if the logic of an axiomatic system is consistent, then it can never be completed. And we are all aware of this. If the universe all came banging out of one point, then what caused that point? If it was all created from God, then whence come God? If the whole world rests on the back of a turtle, then what does that turtle rest on? And then what about that one? This turtles all the way down problem is the byproduct of constructing reality by means of axioms.
So, if your paradigm is guaranteed to be paradoxical in some fashion, why not make the paradox functional?
This is the Philosopher’s Stone:
“All truths are lies”
In understanding and valuing this axiom, you can return your mind to a more fluid state. By knowing that there is no attainable objective reality, you devalue the ego by accepting the need to keep improving and creating a more functional set of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is realizing that no one tree is the best to sit under, so you start walking through the forest to find the best shade at that time of day. It makes you more empathetic, as you come to realize that everyone else is living in their own set of subjectiveness that they have attached themselves to. It makes you take a step back and ask “What is important to me?” Which, inevitably leads to you believing whatever will make you be the best you you can be.
And I think we can all agree that is the ultimate goal of alchemy.