Friday, November 5, 2010

The Human Totality and Multiple Dimensions of Existence

When we seek to expand the horizons of our thought, a recurring problem lies in the fact that a great many people have a hard time following us, simply because we're navigating way out there. After all, everyone has an innate need to contextualize new concepts against a familiar grid of thoughts. What are these esoteric dimensions then, and what do they have to do with anything? This is an attempt to build a basic bridge between the conventional single-dimensional outlook and the multi-dimensional systemic perspectives of reality we seek.

Kathleen Farago MaySeeking Balance in the Paradise Matrix
A vivid depiction of the human conflict with contradicting dimensions.

Dimensions of the Human Totality

The human being is a psycho-physical totality with the two basic dimensions of the body and the mind. The physical body is easy enough to understand as a one-dimensional object. When the primary imperatives of the mind revolve around the active needs of the body, whether in acquiring pleasures or averting pains, in immersing the mind in material realities, or in collectively organizing others around parallel agendas, the mind and the body exist primarily in the same flat and familiar material dimension. Then, human existence revolving around the body is inherently one-dimensional and exoteric.

When we move beyond the physical dimension and explore our inner potentials, it's all esoteric by definition — esōterikós: inner. The concept of multi-dimensional existence is esoteric indeed, as it involves the rich world of human psyche, rather than the mere external realities of life. Despite its more ephemeral nature, it's not a domain of existence to be shunned or evaded. If one were to shy away from the depths of the human mind, one would forsake an incredible radiant pool of potentials. These inner potentials are the undercurrent of the progressive evolution of human species.

To gain a sense of the multi-dimensionality of the mind, try picturing the entirety of your own mind — your basic drives, attachments, priorities, curiosities, memories, traumas, realizations and ignorance — as a single object with a particular mass, dimension and structure. You'll find that it's extremely challenging to pin the mind down to a single and contained one-dimensional object — assuming you observe your thoughts carefully enough to to notice them as separate from your base consciousness to begin with.

Having reached for the form of your own mind, now try picturing the minds of people you know in similar terms, and you'll get a good insight into the social layer of multi-dimensionality. The world you see is formed of countless subjective mental bubbles, each with their distinct characteristics, dimensionality and trajectories, colliding with each other in blissful ignorance of the underlying operative principles.

The human totality and its potentials are much greater than the simple day-to-day needs we face and tackle. The dimensions of the mind are essentially infinite, only restricted by self-imposed cognitive restrictions that keep your consciousness oriented and focused on the everyday world alone. If you learn to probe into the depths of your mind, first exploring the active patterns of your mind and conquering them, and then exploring, unraveling and coming to terms with your subconscious mind and its latent traits, you will discover an emergent potential of countless possibilities yet undiscovered and unexplored.

Kathleen Farago MayMatrix Mandala
There are infinite potentials in the interwoven dimensions of our reality.

The Benefits of a Multi-Dimensional Mind

The benefits of mastery over the one-dimensional drive of the mind, or in other words a skill for real time mental management and optimization, are too many and obvious to enumerate here in detail. Learning to map and project your own inner patterns and potentials, you will approach a platform where you can shift  your cognition from a limited individual perspective to collective perspectives — without the constant interference and distractions of the individual mind with its countless idiosyncratic imperatives. Moreover, it's hardly possible to live in a spirit of equality and do unto others as you would have them do unto you without grasping the constant and variant dynamics and dimensions of the many minds we meet.

Increased focus in introspective capacity and pattern recognition are central human assets beyond the "mere" comprehension of your own unrealized potentials. The better you learn to understand the abstract patterns guiding your mind and the minds of others, the clearer your perception of patterns in the environment becomes. The better you understand the diverse dimensions in which the minds of others move, the better you are able to understand their subjective imperatives and capacities.

With full recognition and abstraction of your mental contents and dynamics, the entirety of your know-how can be converted into general-purpose formulae. You then become the ultimate observer and CEO of your mind, able to switch in and out from the pull of your psychological currents at will, and able to adapt your abstracted know-how across diverse fields of life. For the simple fact that it helps you intercept the emergence of negative patterns within you before they turn into action, it's well worth it.

The more holistic your understanding becomes, the better you will be able to intuit the future. In this, we are no longer working with magic or visions — we are working with scalable causality and probabilities. Then, whether we're talking about commerce, politics, society or sports, impartially observing and understanding the extant and emergent patterns gives you undeniable leverage beyond those unable to perceive, model or project the course of events beyond the scope of immediate and evident causes and effects. Nostradamus of visionary fame would gaze at the patterns of the skies and ponder on the patterns of the known world, reconciling them into probabilistic predictions of the future of mankind.

Kasmin nu vijñāte sarvam idaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavatīti? — "By realizing what does all of this become cognizable?" — asked the budding sage from the ancient seers of India. That, by which everything else becomes cognized, is the ultimate dimension that synthesizes and reconciles all other dimensions into a symmetric and immanent whole. While the ultimate "source code" of existence is nondual and incomprehensible to the dimensionally challenged human psyche, as we journey through the layers of the mind and approach greater depths, the world reveals itself repeatedly in renewed and broader terms, providing an infinite fund of knowledge for anyone with the eyes to see.

Kathleen Farago May: Offering
Mastering the patterns, you'd be in a real position to make a positive offering.

Dimensional Conclusions

This quest for mental expansion is the basic foundation and motivation for many of us who choose to journey into cosmic mansions in between and during our everyday routines. It's not about an idle intellectual curiosity or a misguided metaphysical quest devoid of real life relevance. Quite to the contrary: It's about seeking to comprehend the totality of our human situation, taking control of and optimizing our own existence, and transcending the inner and subsequently outer limitations imposed by our mental and social environments.

There is an abundance of existential and functional dimensions the mind can reach for and learn operate in — beyond the above essential strata for gaining basic control over our lives and recurring situations — but they are too numerous and too far outside a general frame of reference to be featured in this article. To name some Indic and Oriental schools of thought for historical reference, the extended potentials and dimensions of the mind have been systematically discussed for example in Theravadan teachings on mental focus and absorption or Jhana / Dhyana, the rapid psychological transcendence and enlightenment of Zen, the truly esoteric and symbolist Vajrayana, and the mental remodeling methods of Advaita Vedanta and Raja Yoga.

Understanding the dimensions of the mind is undeniably a quest worth embarking on, should the world you experience through your senses ever begin to look stale and restrictive. This discovery of additional dimensions overlapping and interacting with the gross every-day reality is critical in forming a working synthesis between the matter and spirit in your being. In the process — as long as you remain vigilantly true to your internal integrity — the world will also become that much more a better place for all of us to share and evolve in.


Mr. Ananda said...

Featured art: Kathleen Farago May is a highly insightful digital artist and a versatile designer. See ChromaZones for more.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

And thanks to Deon for asking the question, to which this was originally (some two odd hours ago) a budding blurb of an answer! =)

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

You can also view the full selection of Kathleen's dimensional art here, and connect with her if you enjoy her works and would like to get in touch.

GliderGuider said...

For a subatomic transsubjectivist, you write very clearly!

this is a very good explication of this thing that we do and whey we do it. Although I still don't think I'll be able to give a convincing answer to a materialist who asks, "What on Earth is the point?" - except to say that the point isn't exactly "on Earth".

In the short time I've been following it, this path has become my preferred response to everything from waking up in the morning to global ecological collapse. A handful of Advaita pills and Zen lozenges is better for waking up than a double espresso, and easier on the nerves as well!

I'm glad you used Kathleen's art for illustrations. Even though she and I have been living inside each other's heads for a while now, I'm still blown away by her creativity.

Warm regards,
Paul Chefurka (Bodhisantra)

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

Thank you Paul. Agreed in full on the above, including the benefits of Advaita and Zen over caffeine!

Kathleen's work is simply amazing. I don't know what dimension she gets her inspirations from, but they definitely portray a great deal of universal patterns and constructs very vividly. All the better if the two of you can keep extending each others' domains!

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

Below are the beginnings of a follow-up article, written in response to if/how our extra dimensions correlate with the better known three plus material dimensions of human existence, and what the underlying methodologies in studying such dimensions may feature.


One dimension: The whole of the world of physical matter is essentially a single existential dimension, howsoever many spatial dimensional it may have.

Expanded perspectives on the totality of our human situation are frequently referred to as "dimensions" of the mind, or "alternative dimensions" if you will. The term isn't exclusive to measured scientific application — a concept and term such dimension calls for disambiguation:

As perceptions on a broader band culminate from a simple "point of view" to a more expansive and holistic view and experience of reality in renewed and extended terms, it's only natural to relate and refer to them as "dimensions", because they are in fact dimensions of your human experience, over and above the material sphere of experience. Alternatively, it's also common to call them "levels of existence".

Dreams are a good pointer to these dimensions. Whatever the underlying neurobiology may be, dreams are clearly a separate dimension of existence, where our consciousness of our "everyday identity" invariably blurs and is relegated to the background, giving room for new realities and experiences of being. Dreams, like diverse mental/spiritual methodologies, are a gateway to alternative realms and dimensions of existence. I'm sure we have all experienced this — and if you reach a level of mental mastery where you can take control of your dreams, and via that your own subconscious mind, it gets all the more interesting.

To give another example, when we deal with complex data with vertical and horizontal associations, it's natural to refer to associated subsets of information as a "dimension of knowledge". This doesn't imply that we should seek to contextualize it against length, width and height. Similarly, whenever the human mind reaches states of experience that transcend its dependency on the physical senses, it's natural to refer to such domains as dimensions. On this dimensional scale, the material reality and corresponding mental functions are but "one dimension" of existence.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...


While the basic scientific method in hard material sciences is in principle applicable and to be respected, we can't reasonably expect to apply the exact same devices and measurements in the domain of soft sciences like psychology, sociology, or systemized spirituality. We are simply not within the domain of pure objective empiric research, as the very "substance" we seek to deal with, namely the human mind and its extensive potentials, refuses to stay still and be seized as the subject of consistent and verifiable study.

Then, the methods we have at our disposal are subjective empiric research (individual and comparative experiences, observation of applied methods and results), general causal reasoning and projection, and other logical models that seek to explain the dynamics of an internal or "spiritual" process. There's also the less concrete faculty of intuition, which really should be but the pioneer of our exploration, followed by an actual model of practice that makes the subjective experiences replicable.

I for one am extremely sceptical over the greater part of the new-age culture with its diverse upstart spiritualists and pseudo-sciences. Not because I would object to their actual aims, but simply because I often perceive related methodologies and systematism lacking in thoroughness and comprehensibility — and because of an alarming degree of showbottle upstarts who simply make it up as they move along, venturing into unknown territories in the capacity of guides.

Intuition and inspiration are valuable assets, yet the predictability aspect of spirituality emerges from an understanding of the underlying inner patterns and dynamics. This is for example why I dig Theravadan Buddhism a lot — they are extremely systematic in explaining their methodology and the underlying premises. Where I see both a result and a sound presentation of the underlying dynamics, I consider the approach credible. If someone can't make heads or tails of how and why something works, I consider it suspect and an ill-fit reference for spiritual systemization.

While I've discussed the bulk of this dimensionality on from the vantage point of "inner dimensions", I also wish to be clear in saying that I conceive a clear connection between inner dimensions and the greater totality of existence. To borrow a classic phrase from the occult / magical genre: "As above, so below". In other words, our mental microcosm in its entirety is inherently tied with the universal macrocosm, the sum-total of all matter and shared dimensions of consciousness. These assumptions feature widely across diverse proto-sciences, and with the progress of hard material sciences, the underlying question hasn't really been answered as much as it's been shelved.

Now, I don't have a master scheme on how the two correlate on every level. When I come up with one and have it tested rigorously enough, I'll be sure to let you know. Consider all of this pioneer groundwork — we are all building our Voyagers to boldly go where no man has gone before. Does that help make these extra dimensions tangible enough? While it may look at face value like we're free-floating in outer space, I believe I speak for most of us in saying that we're working hard to contextualize, systemize, and make practically relevant the diverse domains of the mind we explore.


That's the shorter version of elaborations in trying to pin down these extra dimensions for everyone.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...


Another angle on reaching for greater spheres of reality is quite pragmatic and down-to-earth. Each plane of existence and experience comes with its associated virtues, emerging from a fundamental perspective shift — and virtue is by all measures a practical and real good. This is in fact a central concern for most religions — invoking an extra dimension into our existence, relating to which we would be able to better live and relate to this world. It's not like Christianity became the state religion of Rome for the perceived validity of its metaphysical theorems!

When you look at dimensions from the vantage point of derived virtue, it's immaterial whether they exist anywhere else aside individual and collective consciousness. If alternative dimensions work for you and yield tangible ethical and other benefits in the here and now, they're worth delving into. A good example of matter/spirit separation and derived virtue is found in the 13th chapter Bhagavad-gita, an ancient Hindu classic:

Similarly, if you pray to a god of your choice, gain a sense of security and fulfillment in life, and an increased consideration for others as a part of a metaphysically unified collective, it's hardly central to objectively validate your god's existence. His existence is already legitimized by the beneficial effect seen in you. "Judge a tree by its fruits", we hear — and it makes good practical sense.


Dealing with dimensions is simply a more refined and generic means of approaching the beyond, as it focuses on abstract principles and potentials, rather than antropomorphizing a more familiar entity as the human-like helmsman of the universe. While religion and its gods are perceived as aloof from the human world, they are inherently bound to the material realm and the basic human perspective invoking them. We can think of religious systems as readers' digest editions of more abstract principles.

On the ultimate reality of both mental and material dimensions, it's merely a question of perspective. If your axis mundi is implanted in the world of matter and material exchanges, the mental dimensions will look ethereal and irrelevant to you. If your consciousness is rooted in inner worlds and non-material aims, the material dimensions will look insufficient and constricting to you. In either case, your reality is entirely dependent on your conscious experience of reality.

As personal experience is the only ultimate personal and direct means of affirming the existence of any level of reality — whether the reality we experience with our senses, the reality of the dream world, or other available domains of consciousness — matter is clearly subordinate to consciousness in the existential hierarchy. As such, consciousness is the final defining factor in estimating the reality of the dimensions we inhabit. The many dimensions will each verify themselves internally, whether material or otherwise; however self-referencing circular proof is no proof at all.

While some experience the world in terms of material realities with the occasional curious peek at the beyond, others may experience their world in terms of primarily dwelling in internal realities, while interfacing with the material dimension as necessary. For them, our familiar hard and measurable concrete dimension may in fact be the "alternative" dimension! If we neglect to seek these additional dimensions, we are negating a great part of our collective human heritage, blinding ourselves to the inner potentials people have harnessed throughout the ages.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

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