Life is most interesting when we become aware of things.  When we fall into routine patterns of living, our awareness becomes dull and somewhat boring.  For example, you may walk along your front sidewalk to your car every day that you go to work in the morning, ignoring the plants next to your house.  Some may have flowers and if you took a moment to bend down and examine them, you might see the bright blue, feathery petals.  Otherwise, you will live and die without ever being aware of them.

Awareness involves not only a heightened use of your five senses, but also relying more on your consciousness.  One way to do this is to recline on a bed in a darkened room with no noises in the house.  You may focus more on the awareness in your mind, relying little on outside stimuli.  As you think more about this awareness, you may eventually shed off the routine matters of daily living and start to think more about life and what it is about.

One of the things that I noticed in my journey to an increased awareness was that I was all alone.  We are very proud of our independence, but unfortunately we have delusions of grandeur, thinking that we can handle anything that life or death gives us.  We are quite simply too weak and do not have sufficient facts to make the journey by ourselves.  The unknowns might completely destroy you.

I know this because of my knowledge of how our species reacts to sensory deprivation.  When we tackle this problem by ourselves, our imagination creates unknown horrors that devour us.  I have read accounts where even the most hardened criminals and soldiers are reduced to quivering mounds of jello after several hours of being alone with themselves without any outside distractions from their senses.

Thus, you will want to have a steadfast and trusting friend by your side on this journey.  No matter what you think of religious followers and leaders, they will not be with you during this journey, so what they think and do is irrelevant.  What is relevant is your relationship with God.  It must be a one-on-one relationship.  It must be a powerful relationship.  You must be aware of God at all times.  You must be one with God.  God will be your true friend during this journey.

So who is God?  Forget trying to find him in your senses.  You must find God in your mind.  As you lie in that bed in the dark room, try to find God in the recesses of your thoughts.  You must make him a part and parcel of you.  God will make you a better person.  God will reinforce your thought process, so that you can withstand the forces of chaos that will attempt to overwhelm you.  God will be the force of control that will make you strong.  Without God, you will not have that control and chaos will carry you away.

God is difficult to define and, in fact, may vary from individual to individual because God is within your unique mind.  You must start working on your unique relationship with God during your life because he will give you a better life, but also because if you are still aware after your death, you will really need God for a better afterlife.  Imagine what the afterlife would be like if you were still thinking and had no guide for that journey.  With God inside you, you will have a much better chance to survive an environment that will be completely foreign to anything you have encountered during your life.  Without God, you would be much better off if you just died and stopped thinking.  If you were not aware after death, you would be very fortunate.

However, you must prepare by being one with God before death just in case you are still conscious.  There are too many unknowns in our universe for us to say with certainty that we stop thinking at death.  Why would you wish to gamble?  It is much better to be prepared for the worst and then if you simply die and there is no more, then you haven’t lost anything.  But if you don’t prepare for the worst, and you are still aware during the afterlife, then your imagination may be your worst enemy.  Without God, you will be on your own.  God will be your guide through the underworld, keeping your thoughts under control.  But make no mistake:  your belief in God must be so powerful that it cannot be undone by the sabotage of your own thoughts.

What if There Is No Event Horizon?

The event horizon is that boundary of a black hole which coincides with the point where light rays cannot escape the gravitational pull of the black hole.  If light cannot penetrate the event horizon, then nothing can escape.  Scientists believe that dying stars collapse to form black holes, yet we really don’t know what goes on behind that curtain called the event horizon.

What if it simply were a part of our universe that we could not see?  What if there was entropy within the black hole that we could not detect?  Even Stephen Hawking indicated that he had found evidence that a black hole released particles as it simultaneously consumed others.  Scientists detect variations in speeds and directions of visible objects that orbit black holes.  So, if they exist, they may simply be invisible parts of the universe.  We cannot see them.

However just because we cannot see black holes, is not justification that they are different from the universe that we can see.  Black holes probably do not exist in a different dimension or follow different scientific laws and rules than the rest of our universe.  More than likely, black holes will eventually consume themselves, perhaps creating a super-massive explosion which may explain gamma ray bursts.

It is quite possible that we can only see a minor segment of the universe and therefore will never be able to put all the pieces together.  The combination of black holes and dark energy is about 96% of the universe, based on mathematical calculations.  So, we cannot see 96% of the universe.  How could we possibly understand the entire universe?

The best we can do is to extrapolate.  We might say that there is a chance that black holes act like the visible universe that we can observe.  There is nothing that tells us otherwise.  We can argue that the matter and energy in the black hole is not trapped inside, but will be released somewhere else in the universe.  The constant transitioning from mass to energy and vice versa will continue in our universe, including within the black holes.

The more difficult transition is from the theory of relativity in the macroworld to the quantum theory in the microworld.  We can peer into a high-powered microscope and see tiny particles, but we cannot see quarks.  There is a microworld that does have an event horizon that blocks us from entering.  Otherwise, we would fall through the porous atoms that make up the floor we are standing on.  This may be the true event horizon that can create a Big Bang when the microworld enters into the macroworld.  We probably will never have enough information to know with certainty, but it is possible.

It is interesting that Stephen Hawking confessed recently that he was an atheist and believed that the universe could be explained by science without a creator.  That is true for the visible universe.  However, the part of the universe that is invisible, which may be primarily a quantum world, cannot be explained by science.  Scientists cannot even merge the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics.  And that does not even touch the possibilities of invisible multi-universes or zones which I will call incubators for universes.  The fact that there may be a creator is not only possible, but is quite probable.  There is no scientific evidence that there has ever been something created from nothing.  So, even if you believe in a universe that is constantly being recycled, logically there must be something that created that universe, more than likely outside the universe.  For example, even if you argue that the Big Bang was our macro-universe exploding out of a quantum microworld, this process within our universe had to originate from something else, probably outside our complex gravitational and quantum universe.

Many people are confused by the word God.  They associate that name with Zeus or a large figure with a white cloak draped over his shoulder.  God is merely the creator, which may have little to do with our anthropocentric imagination.  By definition, God is the creator somewhere outside our universe.  My guess is that God will not be like anything we can possibly imagine because more than likely, very little will be like what we know and see in our universe.

One of the more interesting laws of science is the Law of Conservation, indicating that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe.  In other words, matter and energy can be transformed back and forth in a perpetual dance, but the total of matter and energy will always remain the same.  In theory, there may be a boundary for our universe I will call the Universe Horizon.  Creation, by definition and perhaps also by reality, can only occur on the other side of the Universe Horizon.  God, the creator, is logically on that other side.

The big question after you die, is how do you cross over to that other side?  If you do not cross over, you will remain forever in a recycling universe, which could be hell.

Perception of Reality

Reality is only what you perceive it to be.  In other words, your senses detect information and you translate that into your perception of reality.  It may not even be close to another person’s reality, but it is your reality.

If you were deprived of all your senses, you would still be thinking and would be conscious, but you would have no sight or sound or smell or taste or touch to provide you information on your reality.  So reality might become something altogether different with sensory deprivation.  Reality might become a surrealistic landscape with giant insects crawling toward you.  Or it might be a hellish environment with molten rock pulling you down into a volcanic lava flow.  It could be anything your imagination creates or anything you cannot stop from creating.

Reality then is fleeting and determined by our perceptions.  If our brains are dysfunctional, then reality will suffer because our perceptions will be distorted.  If you are schizophrenic, you may hear voices telling you to do things, so your reality will be very different from those who don’t hear those voices.  Even if these voices cannot be heard by others, the voices are very real to those who hear them.  One person’s reality may be another person’s perception of somebody who is out of touch with reality.  My reality may not be your reality and vice versa.

So if reality can vary from individual to individual and depends on a variety of sensory data, how can society judge which reality is correct?  Is it based on what the majority of people think reality is or is it based on what the government dictates what reality is?  And if your perception of reality differs from what the society or government dictates, are you wrong?  Should you conform to the reality that others describe and proscribe?

One argument is that an individual’s reality should not be allowed to interfere with the reality provided to a society by a government.  The common good for the masses would outweigh the good for the individuals.  But is that really true?  If reality is superimposed on a society by a totalitarian government, is it always good for the masses?  Let’s take the Nazis effort to exterminate the Jewish race as an example.  The reality of a superior race, eliminating the Jews as a form of ethnic cleansing was not good either for individuals or the masses.  It was only good for a short period of time for the leaders of the Nazi party.

True, there are some who have mental conditions that make them dangerous.  Their perceptions of reality are distorted by those conditions.  However, it may be difficult diagnosing and categorizing these conditions, since there are world leaders like Hitler and Stalin who probably had mental conditions that changed the reality for the German and Russian citizens for many years.  If you live in a totalitarian regime, your reality becomes that of the mentally challenged leaders.  If you don’t conform to that reality, you will be tortured and murdered.  This is a reality that I hope you don’t encounter during your life.

The biggest issue with reality occurs after you die.  If you die and you are no longer aware of anything, then you are “dead” dead.  There is nothing more and there is no reality after death.  But the problem occurs if you are conscious after you die.  What does your reality become at that point?  Is it like the totalitarian rule where a power dictates your new reality?  Or is it your individual spirit that will create your new reality?

The dilemma is how you will respond to this new environment.  Some people need guidance and prefer being told what to do, so that a totalitarian ruler would be able to control their after-death reality.  But others may think that they are independent enough to handle the after-death experience by themselves.  This would be like traveling past the event horizon into a black hole, attempting to dictate what happens next.

Your reality in this new universe is an unknown.  You may or may not have your senses to assist you.  Without your senses, your imagination may be your worst enemy.  You may think about being buried alive in a very confining coffin.  Your mind may create a most hellish environment that becomes your new reality.  In that case, having a guide, perhaps even a totalitarian guide, might create a better reality.

Our perception of reality that is most comfortable to us is found in a moderate, comfortable, balanced, and controlled environment.  A chaotic quantum world would be a nightmare for us.  We are comfortable in a controlled solar system around us, yet we have a quantum universe inside us.  In other words, our reality is steeped in what we see outside us, but if we die, it is possible that we may collapse and fall into the chaos of quantum mechanics.

What would our perception be if we were in several different locations at the same time?  What if we were riding on a quark without any clocks or calendars?  What would we think if we had nothing to hold onto?  How devastating would it be to our thoughts if we had no distractions of sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch?  My best guess is that most people would lapse into a psychotic state, hallucinating most of the time without any end in sight.

So what is our perception of God?  Is God reality?  Many have faith that there is a God, but I suppose we will not really know until we die.  After death if we are still thinking, then four main realities may be perceived:  (1) you may have no belief in God, thus God will not be in your reality, leaving you to your own devise without anything to hold onto; (2) you may consider yourself as being godlike, being in charge of everything that happens in the afterlife; (3) you may perceive God as a totalitarian authority who controls everything, leaving you to God’s providence; or (4) you may perceive God as being inside you, uniting you and God as one in the afterlife.

Of these four, I prefer number four.  Why?  I have heard stories about tough prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement and captured soldiers who were tortured with sensory deprivation and how they broke down after a short period of time.  Many hallucinated and suffered greatly.  Without anything to hold onto, these hardened prisoners and soldiers went through complete meltdowns.  They were reduced to being emotional wrecks, out of control.  That is why I have no confidence in our species dealing with the afterlife by itself.  If we are still thinking upon death, we must have a powerful belief that we can latch onto like a life preserver in the storm.

Many religions emphasize number three.  Why isn’t that a good option?  Well, it is certainly better than the first two, but it fails to deal with entity that is thinking.  If you surrender yourself to a God who is not within you, then that God is outside of you.  You give up all control to a God that may become something created by your imagination or something that morphs into just the opposite of what you expected.  If you are thinking after death, then you must deal with that entity that is still thinking.

It really does not matter what religion you carry into the afterlife.  But you must have a solid faith in God.  However, it must be a God that is inside you at death.  You must be fully united with God.  You must be one with God.  I selected Christianity as my personal religion because it is the only religion I know that eliminates all your sins before death.  This is important because you must not carry any guilt into the afterlife.  If you are thinking about bad things that you did during your life, you will punish yourself more than any Devil ever could.  If you are claustrophobic, you will stuff yourself deep inside a shrinking shaft for eternity.  You get the picture?

But no one knows exactly what will happen until we reach the point of departure.  I do have faith in God during this life because I believe that you cannot just select one of these realities at the last second.  If you want to have God inside you, you need to prepare in advance and let Him inside you long before you die.  After you die, it may be too late to be one with God.  Living with yourself for an eternity would be hell.

Bonobos vs. Common Chimpanzees

There are two species of the genus Pan of chimpanzees:  one is bonobo, Pan paniscus, and the other is the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes.  The bonobo and common chimpanzee were separated by the Congo River in Africa, and they actually evolved into two distinct species.  These monkeys were not very good swimmers, so the bonobos lived on the southern side of the river, while the common chimpanzees lived on the northern side.

The bonobos are a very peaceful species, while the common chimpanzees are very aggressive.  Humans are related to the common chimpanzees, so some scientists believe that Homo sapiens inherited our aggression from the Pan troglodytes.

During scientific experiments, the bonobos who have been provided food will open doors for other bonobos to ensure that they all share the same meals, while common chimpanzees are genetically predisposed to protecting their own interests and will aggressively fight others who attempt to take their food.

It is interesting that the bonobos are down to a population of somewhere between 29,500 to about 50,000 and are on the Endangered species list.  Even though some of this reduction in species is because of habitat destruction and hunting by our species, it may also be because of the timidity in its genes.

The bonobo and common chimpanzee species separated about a million years ago, and Homo sapiens branched out from the common chimpanzee side.  Recent genome analysis shows that the common chimpanzee is our closest living relative.

The bonobos are recognized as being capable of “altruism, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, and sensitivity” by primatologist Frans de Waal, who studied them in captivity for many years.  Most studies indicate that bonobos have matriarchal behaviors.  The females seem to have a higher social status, and the males derive their status from their mothers.  The males are less aggressive in their roles.  In short, bonobos are similar to the hippies of the 1960’s and 1970’s in that they have communal sexual activity that seems to decrease tension.  They also are known to share their food in communal style living.  Their sexual activity is not monogamous and is not limited to one gender.  They have no self-imposed restrictions on having same gender sex.

De Waal describes the bonobos as extraordinarily peaceful, and he documented how the species resolves conflicts with sexual contact which has given the monkey a famous hippie saying, “make love, not war.”  Scientists noticed social mingling occurs, in which members of different communities have sex and groom each other, behavior which is unheard of among common chimpanzees.

It is interesting to note that recent studies appear to show that there are significant brain differences between bonobos and common chimps.  The brains of bonobos are more developed with larger regions that may be developed for the feelings of empathy and in sensing distress in others, which may make them less aggressive and more empathic than the common chimpanzees.

The aggressive gene, appear to be a dominant force in survival for not only the common chimpanzees, but also for most of the other primates, including Homo sapiens.  However, it will be interesting to see if this holds true as our species becomes more dominant and overpopulates our world.  Currently, the population of humans is about 7.24 billion, and scientists predict that we will be at about 8 billion by 2024.

Some believe that this is like packing more gunpowder into a powder keg.  Eventually, it will explode in a very self-destructive manner.  It is quite likely that man’s aggressive heredity was important in survival when our numbers were down to perhaps a thousand after Mount Toba, a super-volcano, exploded about 74,000 years ago, creating an ice age that nearly wiped out our species.  This is probably why Homo sapiens have little diversity in its genetics.

It would be quite anthropocentric of us to claim that we are a superior species and are God’s chosen one since we have only been around a short period of time on a geologic scale.  We might boast that we have done a remarkable job in overpopulating the earth, but that is a specious species claim.  We could legitimately argue that our propensity for aggression was helpful when we were on the ropes with only about a thousand of us in the world, but that aggression may be our downfall as we reach the 8 billion mark.  It does not take a genetic scientist to predict the outcome of having too many aggressive animals in one cage.

You may think that I am arguing that we would have been a better species if we had come from the bonobos rather than the common chimpanzees, but that is not even close to the truth.  Quite frankly if we had come from the bonobo family, we probably would not have made it much past the Mt. Toba eruption.  It was probably our fierce aggressive spirit that kept us going and saved our species.  In other words, if we all joined the ranks of the drug-induced passive world of the hippies, we would eventually be wiped out, either by a more aggressive species or those Homo sapiens who did not become hippies.

All I am saying is that this aggression could also be our undoing as we overpopulate the world.  It is only a matter of time before a highly aggressive group like a terrorist organization obtains nuclear capability and is not afraid to use it, even if it is self destructive.  Humans have now reached the pinnacle of aggression, so that we are ready to die as long as we can kill others in the process.  Suicide nuclear or biological bombers could be the next step.  If we can set off enough nuclear weapons, we could create a nuclear winter, much like Mt. Toba did 74,000 years ago.

But I believe our species is aggressive enough that if a thousand of us survive the nuclear holocaust or biological weapon release, whichever occurs first, that a hearty group will fight back in an effort to repopulate the earth again.  But don’t ask me if we deserve to rule the world again.

Gibb’s Gut

A popular television program called “NCIC” has Leroy Jethro Gibbs as its lead protagonist.  He makes many of his decisions based on the famous “Gibb’s Gut.”  He may not know who committed the crime based on the hard evidence, but his gut instinct will point him in the right direction.

Homo sapiens will make many decisions based on instinct rather than reason.  This carries back to prehistoric times when our ancestors had to make choices within seconds.  We notice many of these instincts even today.

I will mention a half dozen things that appear to be programmed into humans:  (1) a startled reflex that awakens us probably dating back to when our ancestors lived in trees, preventing falling to the ground where a predator would snatch us up if we survived the fall, (2) a running instinct when we perceive danger, (3) sweating when we are afraid, perhaps allowing our ancestors to slip out of the clutches of predators, (4) getting “goose bumps” when we are afraid, which also stimulates our hair and makes it stand up, probably allowing our ancestors to appear larger and more muscular, (5) aggressive behavior, perhaps allowing our ancestors to compete more successfully for food and shelter, and (6) disgust with things that might carry disease, which would have been imprinted in our brains to protect us from contagions.

But there are two others that deserve additional study:  (1) a conservative approach that allowed our species to have a greater chance of survival in a predatory world and (2) a quest for security that also led to the same end goal.

First, man was programmed with an instinct to take conservative approaches to life.  By being hard-wired to avoid dangerous conditions, man had a better chance of surviving the predators that were lurking in the shadows.  Early hominids might survey the area for minutes before climbing down from the tree.  Early hominids might not wander too far from water supplies.  Early hominids might form social groups for additional protection.

The other subconscious adaptation was to seek security or control in a chaotic and unpredictable environment.  There have been about 30 billion species of animals over the life of the earth, and only about 99.9% of them still remain.  Homo sapiens almost went extinct about 74,000 years ago when Mt. Toba erupted in Indonesia, creating an ice-age, destroying both plant and animal life.  Humans were reduced to about 1,000, thus creating a bottle-neck for our species.  This is why all DNA in all humans is 99.9% the same.

Perhaps because of all the mass extinctions and the potential for chaos in the universe to extinguish our lives in a heartbeat, man needed to have a God to protect us from asteroids, super- volcanoes, polar reversals, ice ages, draughts, floods, and all the other potential cataclysmic events.

God may also exist because we are conservative and do not wish to gamble on what may happen after death.  There is no downside to believing in God, but there is a big problem if we do not believe in God and there is an afterlife.  This ties in to the second instinct to seek security.  God would be our security blanket, providing control in a potential world of chaos in the afterlife.  God is the conservative bet.  Even if the odds are a million-to-one against there being a God, it still is the best bet because if there is a God and you don’t believe in him, there are significant consequences.

Gib’s gut should tell you that you should believe in God since it matches your instincts.  We know that man has honored and worshiped God or gods for millennia.  This probably is part of our instinct to satisfy our craving for a conservative approach and security.

More than likely, there will never be any hard, concrete evidence proving that God exists.  The evidence will only be circumstantial.  The only proof will be what we find in our Gib’s gut.  One of our instincts, as we discussed earlier, is disgust.  We feel sick when we view a mutilated body.  We are disgusted primarily because we fear that it could happen to us.  We may be disgusted when we see dead bodies in morgues.  Again, part of this disgust is because it brings home our temporary position on earth.  We are disgusted if we have to face the fact that there is nothing after we die.  As existentialists would say, “We are disgusted because life is absurd.”  However, let’s take it a step further.  A Christian existentialist like Soren Kierkegaard would say, “Life is absurd without God.”  So we will not be disgusted if there is a God.

Thus, God appears to be a gut reaction to our living on earth.  We instinctively know that God exists.  Therefore, we are comforted in a chaotic universe.  Even if there is no God, the fact that God is imprinted in our minds is sufficient evidence of his existence.  He certainly exists in our minds, which may be the most important location for his existence if we are still thinking after we die.

Of course, we make many decisions during our lifetimes, and not all of them are based on reason.  Many choices are made based on instinct.  So, it is not unreasonable for us to believe in God based on a priori reasoning.  We can infer that God exists from his fingerprints of the Big Bang, DNA, and the controls within our universe.  If these fingerprints did not exist, then we would not exist.  Controlled existence is some evidence of a creator or God.

However, the bottom line is that Gibb’s gut tells us that God exists.